There’s no denying that a great light fixture can have a huge impact on the overall pleasant aesthetic of a room. Light fixtures draw the eye and tie a room together, and functionally, they provide ambience by providing light.
Unfortunately, an ugly light fixture likewise has these same qualities, but in a negative sense. The simplest solution can also be unfortunate-purchasing brand new light fixtures can be very expensive. If you are doing it yourself without experience, it can be intimidating as well.
One inexpensive alternative is to scout around for vintage fixtures in thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales. However, it is always a gamble-there’s usually no way to test the fixtures in the store to see if the wiring is good. Even if you are lucky enough to find a thrift store with a liberal return policy, it means having to go to the trouble of installation before finding out if the used fixture works.
If your fixture is a simple glass cover, then you’re in luck-there are many really great ones available second hand. But, if you’re looking to replace a structured fixture or ceiling fan (which are usually the type people are not so happy with) then it’s more problematic.
Another inexpensive alternative to buying new is to transform your existing fixtures. There are a lot of reasons other than financial this may even prove to be the perfect solution, too.
By altering your fixture, you can choose the exact color and otherwise tailor it to your liking and the style of your room, as well as eliminate the hassle of installation. Below are some ideas for transforming your light fixtures.
Painting your fixture is easy, and goes a very long way in completely changing the look of the fixture. Spray paint or traditional paint can be used.
Spray painting anything indoors is not a fabulous idea, but by taking the proper precautions, it can work. The best way to spray paint a light fixture is to remove it, taking it outside, spraying it, letting it dry, and reinstalling.
But, it can also be done by completely covering the perimeter of the area above the light by taping newspaper on the ceiling, and removing furniture and rugs (or covering with a drop cloth or old sheet) directly underneath and nearby. Obviously, doors and windows should be open, and a fan used for ventilation.
Remove any glass covers and bulbs, and apply several thin coats, to avoid dripping marks. Let the fixture dry and replace the covers and bulbs.
One issue to consider with spray paint is that the selection of colors is limited. Using regular paint allows you to choose from a great array of colors. Almost any type of paint can be used. Craft paint, wall paint, acrylic and possibly other types will work.
The material of your fixture will determine how many coats are needed. Wood usually takes most types of paint quite well, whereas plastic and metal may require more coats. Test a small area before setting up (taping off and preparing in the same manner you would painting walls) so you know the type of paint you’ve chosen is going to be suitable.
As far as color, if you’d like the fixture to be as unobtrusive and negligible as possible, consider painting it the same color as the ceiling. Conversely, if the fixture has a striking shape, it can be accentuated by painting it a bright color, not usually associated with fixtures. Even the weirdest, most dated, and ugly fixture can be transformed into an object d’art with a coat of shocking fuchsia, or day-glo orange.
Also consider the “effect” paints offered in the indoor paint section of stores like Lowe’s, and craft stores. There are metallics, crackle paints, neons, and textured paints. All of these can look great on light fixtures. Picking out paint can be as involved as choosing a brand new fixture, but the plus side is it is exponentially less expensive.
Finally, there’s another inexpensive and easy thing you can do to transform your existing fixture. Whether or not you’re painting your light fixture, simply purchasing new accessories for it can make a huge difference.
Lowe’s, Home Depot, and lighting stores offer large arrays of decorative bulbs, bulb covers in various colors, ceiling fan pulls and chains, and even chandelier teardrops that can be affixed, for a faux chandelier look.
You’d be surprised at how just removing those style-less “country look” bulb covers and replacing them with simple, or colored ones will transform the fixture.
With one of a few of these above ideas, you’ll find that your fixture can be transformed for a fraction of the cost and hassle of purchasing a new one.