Chevron lamp shade on thrift store lamp

Creative Lighting on a Thrift Store Budget

If an entire home lighting renovation isn’t feasible right now, a simple and affordable way to update your style is by getting creative with what you already have and combining it with what others have left behind.

Thrift Shops

There is nothing quite as rewarding to me as a good ol’ thrift shop gem. When my family moved into a new home last year, the builder-grade light fixtures didn’t do much for the decor, but upgrading them just wasn’t in the budget. I was faced with the challenge of incorporating my style into the house without spending a fortune — a perfect excuse to pay a visit to my favorite local resale shops. Check out what I came home with…

Chevron lamp shade on thrift store lamp
I spray painted the wooden base on this old $1.00 lamp navy blue and topped it with a lime green chevron shade – perfect for a kid’s playroom. Total cost ~$10
Blue Ball jar lamp
I always had big plans to DIY a Ball Jar lamp but when I came across one for $5 at the consignment shop, I jumped on it.

QUICK TIP: Don’t forget about Ebay, consignment stores, flea markets, Craigslist, Freecycle, local yard sales, or non-profit donation centers like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or Habitat for Humanity ReStores.   

Work with What You’ve Got

I always loved the height and elegant shape of this lamp. When the shade was damaged in our move, it was a perfect opportunity for me to get creative. A new lamp shade ($9.95 on consignment), a decorative finial (taken from another old lamp), and some leftover twine gave this light new life!

Burlap lamp shade on a table lamp.
A $10 lamp shade, decorative finial and some twine gave this old lamp new life.

Maybe you already have a gorgeous lamp or family heirloom that you just can’t part with but haven’t found a way to make it work in your home. Consider updating the base with a new lamp shade, get out the spray paint, or switch out a dated bulb with the warm light from a trendy vintage-style antique light bulb. Even small changes can have a dramatic effect and completely change the look of the light.

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The healing powers of chromotherapy feature image

Chromotherapy: The Healing Powers of Color & Light

Chromotherapy, the Healing Powers of Color and Light

“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.” – Oscar Wilde

Oscar wasn’t the first person to appreciate the power of color. Holistic healers have long heralded the combination of color and light as an effective method of treatment for a variety of mental and physical ailments. Chromotherapy (or Chromatherapy) is the marriage of these two methodologies. Simply put, it’s mood lighting.

You may be familiar with phototherapy or light therapy, a popular method of treatment for seasonal depression, insomnia, fatigue and a host of other maladies. Supporters of light therapy believe that deficiencies in daylight (say during winter months) can muck up our bodies’ natural clock, or circadian rhythm. Artificial light, when presented in measured ‘doses’ targets the deficiencies, leaving you with increased energy, wakefulness, and positive mood.

In addition to light, the psychology of color is thought to play a vital role in mental and physical health. Specific colors on the spectrum target different areas on the mind/body spectrum… (more…)

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Pathway lighting techniques that break the rules - small

3 Path Lighting Techniques that Break all the Rules

Path Lighting Techniques that Break all the RulesIf you are a perfectionist when it comes to your yard, then what I’m about to say might make you a bit uncomfortable. For an alluring pathway that adds character and charm while gently guiding the way, you might have to break a few rules of symmetry and design.

Less is More

Pathway lighting is most successful when it’s soft and subtle. Just because your lighting kit included 12 path lights, doesn’t mean you need to use them all on your front sidewalk. Unless you plan on performing surgery in your front yard or garden – which we really hope isn’t the case – you don’t need tons of glaringly bright lights. DIY Network recommends that you think of your path lights as “gentle hints for where to go next, not outlining tools or runway lights for an airplane landing.” Try this test: On a clear night, with your outdoor path lights on, can you see the stars? If not, they may be too bright. (more…)

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Love with sparklers wedding photo

11 Stunning Photos of Romantic Lighting

February 14th, one day among 364 others that demands a little romance. In preparation for this amorous holiday, I present to you 11 tantalizing, captivating and love-inducing photos of delightfully lit spaces that virtually radiate with romantic appeal.

1. A Wedding at Dusk – Exposed antique light bulbs are a graceful touch above this wedding reception table. Vintage bulbs cast a beautiful, soft light without a harsh glare.

Hanging antique bulbs at a wedding.
via Style Me Pretty

2. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland  – It’s the romantic lighting double whammy. Lie in bed inside these softly lit glass igloos in Kakslauttanen, Finland while you gaze upon the most fascinating light exhibit on earth: the Aurora Borealis. Bam. (more…)

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Three layers of light

Apply the Rule of 3’s for Perfect Lighting Design

The rule of 3’s. They’re the triple threat of lighting design. Three types of lighting: ambient, task and accent. Three levels of design: top, middle & bottom. For today’s blog post I’ve put together a quick reference guide on what the different layers are, along with a few tips on how to use them to pull your space together.

Three Layers of Light: Ambient, Task & Accent

Three layers of light1. Ambient lighting is used primarily for general vision. It is not directed at one particular item or area of the room, but instead uniformly brightens the space. An example would be an overhead dome light. (more…)

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5 Media Rooms every football fan will drool over

5 Media Rooms Every Football Fan will Drool Over

5 Media Rooms every football fan will drool over It’s Superbowl season, which means we’re thinking about football. Whether you are a fan or not, it’s almost impossible to ignore the heated sports radio debates and proudly waving window flags of die-hard fans. To celebrate this (almost) National holiday, I gathered some truly awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, drool-inducing images of how 5 Houzz’ers creatively & effectively used light in some of the most elaborate media rooms we’ve ever seen.

1. I can’t decide… should I melt into the supple leather of these seats, play a quick game of pool, or belly up at the bar to watch the game? Decisions, decisions…

What I love about the lighting design: Colorful cove lighting is perfect for movie & game watching and can be matched to your favorite team. Using a color-changing LED tape light, you can keep it on one color, or program it to automatically change throughout the game. (more…)

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how to use light to make a small space look big

How to Use Light to Make a Small Space Look Big

how to use light to make a small space look big
An increasing number of people are moving towards smaller living. Smaller ecological footprint, smaller spending … smaller home. Whether your reasons for living small are by choice or by necessity, strategically placed lighting can create the illusion of a larger space.

If your room looks more like a closet than a family room, here are a few ways to make the space seem larger without the hassle and expense of a major construction overhaul…

Recessed Lights — In a small room where floor space can be a precious commodity, floor lamps probably won’t make the cut. Large light fixtures hanging from the ceiling can break up the room and make it seem smaller – an advantage in open living areas, but quite the opposite in an already tight space. Low-profile recessed lights solve this problem by creating a clean line of sight that can shine bright for tasks or be dimmed for a family movie night.

Track Lights — Track lights take up much less visual space than traditional fixtures, but can still make a decorative statement in the home. Each individual light on the track can be adjusted to bounce off of walls and ceilings, or lighten up a shadowed corner. When you combine the flexibility of track lighting with the low profile of recessed lighting, every corner of a room is brightly lit without compromising space or style.

Natural Light Sources — Capitalize on every bit of natural light by keeping windows as exposed as possible. Heavy drapes and dark curtains can take away from this valuable light source. Skylights are a wonderful solution to a poorly lit space, but are substantially more expensive when you start involving structural work. A more cost-effective alternative are solar light tubes, sometimes called sun tunnels. The metal tubes capture light at the roof and reflect it into the home. Look at the difference they make in this entryway:

Colors & Accessories — After you’ve put your perfect lighting strategy into place, expand on it with bright colors and artfully placed accessories. A large, strategically positioned mirror makes the space seem wider and longer, and reflects light back into the room. When considering paint choices, Freshome recommends using light blues, greens, light grays and neutrals to create a bright and airy feel.

Putting it all together — Whether your layout is cozy or expansive, having a strategic lighting plan is a crucial part of home design, and coming up with the right one can be daunting. Here are 5 super-helpful resources that can guide you through your lighting project:

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dowager countess quote

A Modern Look at Antique Lighting

dowager countess quoteSunday’s season première of Downton Abbey showcases the splendor of early 20th century lighting. From the brass candelabras that line the entrance hall to the ornate crystal chandelier that hangs in the drawing room, we’re greeted by elegance and luxury at every turn. A century later, we continue to see the echoes of this noble lifestyle in lighting decor.

In the early 1900’s electricity was still a relatively new concept and limited primarily to the very wealthy. For more than a century gas and oil had been the primary sources of artificial lighting fixtures. Intense heat, risk of combustion & carbon monoxide poisoning were all factors that pushed the modern world to pursue electric lights. (more…)

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holiday mantles that shine

Holiday Mantles that Shine

holiday mantles that shine

Whether shimmering, sparkling or softly glowing, incorporating light into your holiday mantle design is an instant way to add glitz. We have collected some gorgeous examples from Houzz designers where light played a role in creative holiday mantle decor, as well as simple ideas to make your mantle shine.

Quick tips for designing your holiday mantle:

  • Think outside the box (er, mantle) — If you don’t have a fireplace or mantle in your home, recreate the look easily and with just as much glamour using a large shelf or entry table.
  • Go outside! — A quick trip to the back yard can reap huge rewards for your holiday decor. Branches, twigs, holly and pinecones add to a rustic look.
  • Borrow baubles from the tree —  Extend your current theme by taking a handful of ornaments from the tree and scattering them throughout your design.
  • Get crafty – You’d be amazed at what a can of silver or gold spray paint and some glitter will do to make the mantle sparkle.
  • Add light! — Candles, string lights or just the simple glow from the fireplace are the finishing touches that can take your design from “Meh” to “Marvelous.”


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6 Incredible Thanksgiving Centerpieces

6 Incredible Thanksgiving Centerpieces

The Thanksgiving table has a very important job. For one special day, it hosts treasured recipes while families gather around and marvel at it’s bounty. Share your thanks this year with a beautiful centerpiece inspired by nature.

Rustic Thanksgiving Centerpiece
Rustic Thanksgiving Centerpiece via Blooming Homestead

White painted pumpkins, shining silver & frost-tipped pine cones adorn a wooden table runner in this Rustic Fall centerpiece.

Gold Thanksgiving Centerpiece
Gold Thanksgiving Centerpiece via Pinterest


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