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November 24, 2019

2 min


Small Changes That Make a Big Difference

A kitchen with two glass pendant lights turned on above a kitchen island during the day

Perhaps you're not ready to redecorate the entire room. Maybe you don't want to change all the lighting in a space because you're selling the house and only need to spruce up the look here and there. Or maybe you like the lighting, and you want to keep it around a bit longer. What can you do? Here are a few tips to help get you started...

Swap Out the Old With the New  

You might not want to change all the lighting in the kitchen, but the cobalt blue mini pendants that looked "cool" fifteen years ago now fit the room about as well as your high school jeans. Mini pendants are usually reasonably priced and as long as you keep the electrical in the same spot, it can be easy to swap out. Consider buying new fixtures in an updated finish with on-trend glass or fabric shades, like these mini pendants with seeded glass shades. Remember too, that mini pendants are not so "mini" any longer. The move is toward larger and, taller pendants in a kitchen. Think about all these options as you select new fixtures.

Close up shot of a mirror with a Dalwood vanity light turned on during the day
Modern bathroom with a black painted brick wall with Amity vanity light over a white bathroom sink with the glass of the lights pointing down
Change the Direction

Almost every bathroom light made can be installed with the glass facing up or down, like the Dalwood vanity light shown above. Will your fixture fit upside-down and not block the view in the mirror of the tallest person in the household or be hit by a medicine cabinet door? If not, consider flipping it around for a whole new look. To do this is simple. As always, first, disconnect the power. Then remove the screws and wires and remove the fixture from the wall. Check the backplate. Is there is a manufacturer's label indicating a proper hanging direction? If not, you CAN reverse the fixture. No label? You're good to go! If the label reads that the fixture can only be installed in a specific direction, no worry there may be other options to change the look. While the fixture is off the wall, take time to clean it, then reinstall it in the new or appropriate direction. With a half-hour of labor, you can have a whole new look.

Lighting products often include the opportunity for customers to adjust or personalize the fixture to a degree. Most people install the fixtures in one configuration and forget about the option to change them. So, re-adjust those arms, turn the glass or shift the center column trim. With a quick adjustment, you'll remember why you bought the fixture in the first place.

Dinning room lit with a Dancar chandelier over a dinning room table with Zeo flush mounts on the ceiling all turned on during the evening
Remove Shades for a New Look

Many chandeliers or sconces can function and will look good without the shades. To figure out if you have a piece that could work without the shades, turn the power off, remove the bulbs, then remove the shades, put the bulbs back in and restore the power.   Stand back and check out the look. Exposed clips or thumbscrews will be telltale signs that something is missing and may not be an attractive look. If you think the fixture looks good without the shades, clean and place them in storage and put them back on later. This way, you get the look of a new fixture every so often.

If removing the glass does not work, you still have options. Most lighting has standard fitter sizes. Visit a lighting showroom or local home improvement store and check out their replacement shade options. Be sure to take the old piece with you to help you or the staff locate new options. Take a picture of your fixture with all the shades with you to help coordinate finishes or styles.

Detailed image of a Devin pendant with an exposed retro light bulb
A breakfast nook lit during the night with two Beckenham pendant lights with exposed round bulbs
Get Creative

With LED being a popular choice for lighting, several designer-created light bulbs are now available. Different bulb shapes, unusual filaments, and varying kelvin color bulbs are all readily available. Will one of them work in your statement pendant with transparent glass or a wire cage, like the Devin mini pendant (shown above)?  A differently shaped bulb can also change the look of that chandelier you just removed the shades from.  A bulb switch can help set your fixture apart from your neighbor's.

Finding a change you can live with depends on either the amount of effort you want to put into it or the number of dollars you're willing to spend. You can attain a refreshed look with either.