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Out of the Darkness and Into the Light // Easy Lighting Update

01.30.15 By //

From dim witted recessed can lighting to bright shining modern pendant light fixture in two easy steps… true story…. This is by far one of the easiest and fastest updates I have done to date, but what a huge impact it has had. It’s funny how you can let something that is completely functional go entirely overlooked (because duh, it’s working just fine). When you decide to take things up a notch and give these bland but functional pieces a new look to suit a new space, it rocks your world and gets you thinking about all of the other easy updates you might do to bring your other spaces out of the darkness and into the light.

For me, recessed can lighting falls in the category of ‘works just fine’ (assuming the bulb hasn’t burned out of course, because prior to LED bulb invention this would be a major pain in the you know what for a gal of not so epic proportions) so if it ain’t broke… why should I bother thinking about it at all, forever and ever, amen. Am I right?

Now boob lights on the other hand are an entirely different story and it is my goal to eradicate this atrocity from the world, or at least my world… you can keep your boob lights if you want to.

But lighting is such a crucial element in a space, especially if that space were to revolve around helping you figure out how you look, which in this case is definitely how the story goes. So I have been slowly trying to go through each room to replace all of my bulbs with LED bulbs (so I can never ever worry about changing them again… have I mentioned my procrastinating tendencies?) and adjust the color of the light for the particular space and how it is used. Just look at how pleasant the difference is above, it is almost night and day… literally… since the former bulb took 15 minutes to warm up and get going before it would actually light the space – the Cree LED Bulbs do not and are fully lit instantly. Another big (no, huge actually) yahoo on that front.

This space will be used as a dressing room and will be retrofitted somewhat so I can put on makeup more easily than I can at my bathroom counter. Where makeup is concerned, overhead fluorescent-like (read… weird sickly shade of blue) lighting is your enemy which means that the two bulbs for the recessed can lights in this space would need to be something more in the daylight spectrum and very likely joined by additional lighting at face level anyhow. Once that occurred to me, it seemed to mentally give me the push I needed to make these functional fixtures a bit more beautiful and, well, functional… and so I did. A light bulb moment, if you will. These fabulous finds can be found at the Home Depot and are incredibly affordable. I think they were around $5 each and since they last for somewhere around 20 years, I think even my penny pinching self can manage that.

Replacing the bulb was a snap and since the Cree LED bulbs are well, duh, LED, they run cool which is fabulous especially when you are trying to add a decorative shade to the fixture and must sit in close range of this thing for more than a minute. And ya, I needed to do the second portion of this project with the lights on since otherwise this room is essentially pitch black (ok slight exaggeration there, but it is really really dark). Just changing the bulbs made such a big impact on it’s own, but of course this story is all about adding those less than obvious little details to give a boring fixture some style so…. you will need a few additional items for this fast update to transpire.

Now for the easiest thing you ever did see. Buy a drum shade you adore that has the 3 arm lamp ring like you see above, mine is from Ikea and has a copper lining on the inside with a cutaway pattern throughout. This will help with the darkening affect that adding a lamp shade to a light fixture can have. You will also need hooks that swivel so they can be used to hang things from the ceiling. The hooks I used are command hooks from 3M and so they simply stick on and remove easily so no holes to fill if you switch back to basic can lights later.

I prepped my hooks by putting the sticky thing on, but I did not uncover the side that will stick to the ceiling for fear I would stick it to something accidentally in the process of getting up the ladder. If you notice the hook placement in the image below, you will see that they ultimately came to rest about 1 1/2 inches in from the outside edge of the lamp shade ring. This was the ideal spot for the hooks to rest since my lamp shade ring arms sit at a slight angle and slope downward from the edge of the ring toward the middle. If your ring is flat, you can place the hooks wherever you like, but somewhere inside of the edge is best so you can’t see them!

I found that everything seems to hold nicely if each hook is holding the arm at the edge of it’s reach, rather than with the hook straight up and down. This just makes sure everything is secure and keeps it from sliding in any one direction causing it to be slightly off center. To do this you would secure one hook and then rotate your shade just a tiny bit so your hook swivels and is holding the shade at the edge of that cute little hook’s reach. But, not going to be a deal breaker my friends, just a nifty little thing. Now here is the one single solitary tricky part of this (and I am joking clearly because you will see how not tricky it is)… you will want to have 2 out of the 3 hooks face toward each other (or away from each other, either way). This just keeps the hooks from swiveling in tandem if they were all facing the same direction, and letting your shade fall off. So 2 hooks inward toward each other (or away from each other and back to back) and the 3rd hook can do whatever you please. That is it. Donzo…

To view all projects in this closet case series, in order, check out the articles below to see how far we have come!

Out of the Darkness and Into the Light // Easy Lighting Update

DIY // From Wiry Slobs to Sleek Hanging Rods

Just Add Shelves // Easy DIY Shelving for Stylish Shoe Storage

Closet Case // Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Closet Case // Measuring Up and A Bit of Reflection

IMAGES // Rayan Turner for The Design Confidential

This project was brought to you in partnership with Cree. Thank you for supporting the awesome-sauce brands and companies that help The Design Confidential create fresh new content like this! I heart you guys.

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