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how switching out lights can make a big difference

    Like most homes built in the last 10 years, every single ceiling light fixture in our house looked like this when we moved in:


    Admittedly, it’s not the worst light fixture in the history of light fixtures, but it’s pretty boring.

    One simple way to update a space and add style and interest is by switching out the ceiling light.  Over the past six years, we’ve slowly accumulated new fixtures for each room {only a few more to go} and it does make a difference. We have kept all of the original lights because when we sell, we will most likely take many of these with us.  Here are a few of our lights:

    I installed this entry light all by myself. Nearly shocked myself in the process, but all worked out fine in the end.


    The beaded fixture was a recent find at home depot. {right here}

    In my office, I recovered a hanging drum shade in IKEA fabric, added bias tape to finish the edges and it definitely adds more personality to the space.


    For a similar fixture, try searching for drum shade pendant {or choose this one}

    We recently stole the crystal chandelier from the dining room and put it in our bedroom.


    The scale is better in here and it makes the space a bit more glamorous.  I adore this chandelier – mostly because it came from our first home in Seattle – a teensy, run-down 1920’s craftsman. This light fixture was maybe the only thing worth keeping in that house.

    In it’s place, we hung this giant rectangular fixture over our dining table.


    It is from Restoration Hardware {we found ours at the outlet store for a steal!}.

    This little light in our kitchen is a favorite due to its great industrial style and its low price tag.


    The Ottava pendant lamp from IKEA.  I sort of want to wire in two more for a set of three over the kitchen table. A clear Edison bulb looks great in it.

    My mom found this vintage chandelier at an estate sale and I sprayed it glossy black for Audrey’s nursery.


    And put a bird on it.

    If you are looking to update the lighting in your home, some great resources are:

    Ballard Designs {I’m smitten with this and this}

    Barn Light Electric {this one is next on my list for the boys’ room}

    IKEA {this is cute}

    PotteryBarn Teen {this one is fun. So is this}

    and if your budget allows, Circa lighting always has great options.

    25 thoughts on “how switching out lights can make a big difference”

    1. How do you like the rectangular pendant from RH? I am contemplating getting it for our formal dining room as well, but my husband thinks it is too modern for our taste. We have a Pottery Barn/Ballard Designs kind of look in our home and I feel like the shade would fit right in. Having it in your home, do you feel like it looks modern?? Thanks!!

      1. We really like it. It is definitely more modern and sort of hotel lobby looking, but it works with the juxtaposition of the rest of our house.

    2. Did you spray paint your new foyer light before installing? It looks more ORB, but on the HD site the fixture is a champagne finish. I like this light and was considering hanging it above my tub. I’d like a chandelier feel, but something not so ornate. Do you think it could work in a bathroom? Love all of your lights by the way. :) Thanks!

    3. Did you paint the Home Depot fixture? Maybe it’s the lighting but it looks darker then the gold it comes in. If so what did you use to paint it? Thanks

    4. I do so love light fixtures! What a fun post! Just an idea: we have barn lights in our kitchen that are similar to the ones you linked. I love the look. We spent $20-40 on each (10 years ago–can’t remember) by buying them from a hardware/farm store that sells lighting for barns. People with barns think we are silly, but everyone else thinks it’s stylish ;)

    5. I also hung the ikea pendant lamp over my small dining table and I love it. Also used an Edison bulb (went to downtown Atlanta to get one at cb2, and found out a week later that they are now carried by Lowes…Murphy’s law). I couldn’t get the glass in the lamp to not look like cheap glass (kind of lint prone and a bit plastic looking) so I just took it off and the bulb hangs bare and is shown off a bit more. Hopefully yours didn’t have that drawback, but if it does, that’s a great solution. I live the Edison bulbs.

      LOVE the recovered lampshade! May I ask what adhesive you used aside from the tape, if any? I have one I’d like to recover (bell shaped), but I have no idea where to begin. Would love to have any pointers you can think of.

      Many thanks for sharing your lovely taste with us! :) Congrats on the puppy, too! He will keep you hopping for a bit, but they’re worth every minute of effort they require, times 100.


    6. I’m one of those weird people who wants to know about some minor thing in the background. :) I love the pennant in the photo with the striped walls. Tutorial?? Thanks!

    7. Oh, I love all your lights! I’ve been wanting to change out ALL our lights but my hubs says we need to keep the ceiling fans in the L/R, D/R & bedrooms….grrrrr! We live in Utah and the summers get hot (that’s really the only time we use them). I even have a chandelier for the dining room in my pile of home decor. boohoo!

      I think I’ll have to work on my hubs so my house can have pretty lights like yours. ;)

    8. I’ve had a very similar post in mind, but still have a few light fixtures in boxes that are awaiting my husband’s help! Lighting makes such a difference and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We moved into a house without much lighting, and what was here wasn’t great looking, so it’s been fun to fill the void. You made some great choices!

    9. The lights are lovely. I also appreciate the tiny peek into your kitchen and wonder if you might do a post on it one day? Every space you have shown us is just beautiful…

    10. Thanks for sharing, I really love that Ikea fixture. Very neat.

      We switched out most of the light fixtures in our older home and it really *does* make a difference and add a little more character to a space. My favorite was the light in our dining room, that we found at home depot to replace the ceiling fan (yes, ceiling fan) that was originally there. You can see some of them in our house tour here (

    11. Such a perfect day to read this post. We’re adding on a bedroom to our house that will be for my husband and I. We have a big vaulted ceiling and he wanted a ceiling fan. I just convinced him we need a chandelier but I’m stuck and can’t find one that is affordable. We have a little beach bungalow with lots of flea market finds. The room is 15×15 with a white painted vaulted ceiling and light blue walls. Any ideas?????? I found a Serena and Lily turqoiuse one that I love but it’s too $$.

      As fun as this remodel has been it’s been so hard to make decisions on things like paint colors…and stay in our budget :)

    12. We are getting ready to do a whole cottage reno. They want to put in can lights but I am leaning towards light fixtures. On my facebook (we are friends), you can see two of the lights I have chosen. My question is, what about those can lights? Do they accent the overhead fixtures you have shown us at your house or would you not use them if you didn’t have to?

    13. Great ideas – I am starting the process of remodeling my home which is about 20 years old and these are some great ideas. I have some great light fixtures but could use help in places like the closets, etc.

    14. I am so eager to move from our rental to be able to do this! We replaced some fixtures with our own (storing the originals) but it just isn’t the same. We’re looking at a Historic House right now and hope it goes through!

    15. You’re right- switching out light fixtures is a game changer! I love your striped drum shade.
      Also, just wanted to let you know how much I love your home and style. Every time I see pics of your home, I think YES! That! :) I love all the neutrals and white and texture. Thanks for inspiring me!

    16. I think the beaded fixture that you installed in your entryway will look wonderful in my walk in pantry with it’s french country fabric lined wall and red screen door! Thanks for sharing.

    17. Wow! Love all the looks. You’re right, they are transforming! I would love to see more of your home! It looks like you’ve made some changes in some of the rooms since I last say them on the blog! Love me a good home tour!

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