Our house was built in the early 1960’s, and it has a serious identity crisis. In some ways it looks very traditional and could date back much further than when it was built. But then there are more modern “features” that throw off the whole look and drive me crazy. My husband and I thought we could tackle each room of the house and make it how we wanted it in short order, but we soon learned that most projects would take more time and money than we had…not to mention the work involved! Once Mr. Boy came along we had no extra money to spend on projects, so I resigned myself to living with the various quirks that annoyed me.
But I can only live so long in a space that isn’t “me”. The home improvement bug has bitten me again, and inspired by other bloggers who find ways to make their homes beautiful without spending much, I decided to see what I could do.
I have a few light fixtures in my home that I actively hate, and the vintage recessed light fixtures in our hallways top the list. They are rectangular with chrome frames and glass diffusers with a geometrical design. They are just too stark and institutional for my taste, but replacing them with something I like better is too much of a job right now.
However, a recent trip to our local “Parade of Homes” gave me an idea: lampshades!
I was absolutely taken with these chandeliers. A saleslady who saw me snapping the photo said “Please tell me you’re looking at those light fixtures!” Apparently they were panned by most visitors, but I loved the look. I realized that if I could figure out a way to attach lampshades to the ceiling, I could hide my ugly recessed fixtures too.
It took a while to find lampshades that would work without breaking my budget. Finally, while out on a shopping trip, I remembered that Target usually has a good selection of lampshades. I was so glad I decided to stop in–their shades were on sale and they had sizes that would work! I purchased two rectangular shades for the upstairs hallway and a drum shade for the entryway. On sale they were all a little more than $12.00 each.
When I got the shades home I realized that the tops were not quite large enough to totally enclose my fixtures like I had hoped, and they looked kind of goofy hung upside down. I was a little bit discouraged, but I decided that even if some of the chrome was exposed, the lights would look better than before. I just had to figure out a way to rig the shades to the ceiling. A few attempts failed. I tried using wire to hang the shades from the existing light cover. I tried gluing string to the shades and hanging them from hooks in the ceiling. Both ideas worked, but there was a gap between the shade and the ceiling. It just wasn’t doing it for me.
Finally, a lightbulb went off (sorry), and I thought that perhaps the fixtures were magnetic. They were! And so was the wire in the lampshades! If I could find strong enough magnets, I could just stick the shades to the existing fixtures! At Lowes I found some super strong ceramic magnets that came in packs of six (they are in the fastener aisle, in case that store’s layout perplexes you as much as it does me). I bought three packs for a little less than $6.00 and placed one magnet at each corner of each light fixture.
Then, all I had to do was stick my lampshades to the magnets! They don’t budge!
I am so pleased with my “new” light fixtures! It really softens the light and instantly improves the look of my ceilings. I may add some decorative touches to the lampshades, or I may just leave them plain.
For about $15 per fixture and virtually no effort (once I figured out what I was doing) I was able to easily makeover my ceiling lights! Definitely a perfect solution if you have these ugly things in a rental.
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