Three Lighting Projects, One Weekend

This weekend I attempted three different lighting projects. Each task came with it’s own set of challenges. Each when completed was well worth the effort. Hopefully, as you read through my experiences you will be motivated to try something new to light up your own home.

Project One — Swap out light fixture in basement bedroom.

Problem: Glaring Bulbs and Dark Shadows

Track lighting fixture similar to what used to be in our son’s bedroom.

Once upon a time I thought a track lighting system would be a great idea in our son’s basement bedroom. The notion that I could direct light to several areas of his room from one single fixture was very appealing. However, I found the bright halogen bulbs either caught you square in the eye or cast dramatic shadows—great for campfire ghost stories, not so great when you want to choose an outfit from your closet or do some homework at a desk. The bulbs were also expensive and seemed to need replacing with great regularity. Perhaps, if I had installed a longer track and come up with a better overall lighting plan I would have been more satisfied. As it stood I was ready to take down this source of lighting frustration.

Solution: Quick, Slick, LED fix

Versatile and easy to install LED fixture.

I concluded that directional lighting was not what I was seeking for this space. Rather, the room begged for simple, overall illumination.  After some deliberation in the lighting section at Lowe’s, I decided to give the HALO LED a try. I left the store somewhat skeptical, but once I installed the product I quickly changed my tune. The installation process was very consumer friendly. Within minutes I had the wires connected and the light snapped into the junction box. The bulb-less fixture delivers a warm glow throughout the room just as the packaging it came in promises.

Simple, clean lines and highly functional.

The fixture has an upfront cost of $49, but with no bulbs to replace, reduced energy costs, and a 22 year estimated life span I am quite pleased with my investment. One is enough to light this small space (10×12), however; I have a feeling I will be picking up a few more kits to use in other areas of our home.

Project Two —Garage Sale Glamification

Problem: Ho Hum Table Lamp

Tired old table lamp.

Now that our Grapevine table is painted and looking fine, it needed table scape update—funny how that happens. Not to worry, this summer I spotted this gem of a lamp at a garage sale and snatched it up for three bucks. Some of you might think I spent too much 😉

Garage sale lamp trying out its newly painted base.

There is no nice way to say it. The lamp was U-G-L-Y.  But if you look past the swirly brown flowers and focus its size and shape you might be able see some potential in it. I did. Excited to make my diamond in the rough shine, I took some paint stripper to the floral design the moment I got it home. Sadly, the flower would not budge.

Solution: Spray, spray, the ugly floral away!

Globe makeover in “Ivy Leaf” …or should we say “Green Smoothie”. I couldn’t help but notice a striking resemblance to my lunch 😉

It’s basically the first rule of DIY—never admit defeat!

Originally, I had planned to do a translucent finish on the glass globe. But when the flower wouldn’t come off I switched gears and to opaque. With a can of spray paint in hand I started building up a fun accent colour. It worked like a charm. The brown swirls are gone and in its place I have a fresh Ivy Leaf green. The lamp now acts as a bold anchor to the other subtle pops of green I have scattered throughout our living room.

A little Metallic Lustre goes a long way.

With the globe problem solved I moved on to the base and other metal parts. Here I started with a base coat in Hammered Black. The result was too flat for my liking so I played around with creme wax in deep brown and metallic lustre in champagne ice. The great thing about up-cycling dollar finds—you can experiment without fear and paint over it if you don’t like the results.

Wiring a lamp is super easy.

Once satisfied with the finishes, I rewired the lamp and set out to find a new shade. After trying two other options I settled on this tall drum shade.

… and the winner is!

I absolutely love that I was able to transform something ready for the dump into a beautiful one-of-a-kind item for my home. The table scape has gone from ho hum, to fun and dramatic. It makes me smile each time I walk in the room.

Project Three — Run cable for new switch and light fixture

Problem: Dark zone in the the basement

Today our basement remains mostly unfinished. I guess its kind of a dungeon. But I believe with the right lighting even a dungeon can feel cozy. And that what is needed here because we pack a lot of activity into this area of our home. Our basement houses a workroom, art studio, playroom, foosball area and a bedroom. Sounds massive, right? I wish! Even when square footage is limited the functionality of a space can increase when each task has it’s own light source. Up to this point the foosball competitions have played the dark … but not for long.

Solution: Run new electrical cable (phone a friend)

Whenever possible I run cable through existing holes in the floor joists, otherwise I have to drill new holes.

This weekend I thought, “What the heck, I am changing a lightbulb, I may as well run some new electrical cable too!” To be honest you don’t want to mess around with home wiring if you don’t have a clue what you are doing. If you are confident to proceed on your own then make sure to follow code and have your work inspected by a professional along the way. I have had a moderate amount of experience with basic electrical, but I still have questions every time I open up the wall. So I always phone an expert friend to help me through the process. My friend happens to be my Dad. He’s amazing!

Here the unfinished ceiling works to my advantage. I have easy access into the wall making the instillation of the switch much easier.

After successfully running new cable through a switch and to a new junction box I was good to install this pendant lamp that I also picked up at a garage sale —this one several years ago. It is such a great feeling to have one less “stored” item taking up room in my basement and one more area of the house that lights up on command. Double bonus round complete!

Let the games begin!

You hear it over and over again in the world of home decor—two elements that have the greatest impact on a room are lighting and flooring. It really is true. Change a light fixture and change a room. I changed three this weekend. I am feeling pretty good right now.

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