Exceptional Interior Lighting on a Budget : The Ultimate DIY Guide
This post may contain affiliate links. See our Policy Here.
Exceptional Interior Lighting on a Budget
The Ultimate Guide to Budget Interior Lighting for the Do-It-Yourselfer
Most of us are trying to create exceptional living spaces in a builder grade home on a limited budget. It’s not an easy feat. Although builders offer tons of optional upgrades, most home buyers limited upgrade budget will be spent on appliances, cabinet and flooring upgrades. This is a problem because the average builder home needs $4,000 in electrical upgrades above the basic package, and a lot of homes never got the needed upgrades. This is why we’re living in homes with a single light fixture in the middle of each bedroom, poorly placed kitchen fixtures and generally uninspired fixtures. The first night I spent in my new home, I had to use my cell phone flashlight to walk safely down the hallway. My huge family room didn’t have a single light fixture–not one! I needed interior lighting in a big way–on a budget. I’m not talking about plugging in a couple of lamps or installing extra-bright light bulbs, but inspired interior lighting that creates ambiance and warmth.
Interior lighting–especially on a budget is a tall order for any do-it-yourselfer. Most of us don’t want to deal with “shocking” electrical projects ourselves, and it can be difficult to find an electrician willing to take on small jobs. Never fear! There are tons of great solutions to give you exceptional interior lighting depending on your DIY skills.
Starting with the easiest DIY upgrade, installing dimmer switches on your lights allows you to adjust the lighting according to need and mood. You can install bright daylight bulbs into your current fixtures without having to commit to having noonday light in your room at all times. When you’re ready to unwind, you simply turn down the mood on your lights and let the relaxation begin. Check out our other ideas for turning any bedroom into a suite.Check out our DIY Guide to Exceptional Interior Lighting Click To Tweet
I’m also a huge fan of the dimmer in unexpected places like the entry ways and hallways because it allows you to highlight seasonal and accent lighting. Lit garlands and trees at Christmas are allowed to shine when bathed in the quiet light of a dimmer set on low. Add battery powered gallery lighting above your art and gallery walls so you can highlight your beautiful pictures for parties by turning the gallery lighting on and dimming the overhead hall lights. Dimmers also allow hallways to be left barely lit at night when you have house guests that might have difficulty navigating dark halls.
Check out Home Depot’s tutorial on how to install a dimmer switch.
Get the Right Glow
The light bulbs you choose have a big impact on the overall glow of your home. When I moved into my home with limited light fixtures, I ran out and bought bright bulbs for every light fixture only to discover that my home doesn’t look good lit up like billboard. Now I don’t use the same light bulbs in every room, and neither should you. Halogen, compact fluorescent, and LED bulbs come in a variety of hues. Cool toned walls look best with a warm hued bulb, and warm toned walls brighten against a cool hued bulb. Good lighting plays a big part in turning a bathroom into a spa retreat.
Specialty bulbs is a growing market. If you don’t believe me, you should plan to spend your next date night checking out Home Depot’s light bulb display (isn’t that what you do for date night too?) You can check out all the different options using their lighting demonstrations. You’re bound to find new colors and fun specialty bulbs like the Edison Vintage Filament Bulb.
Another option is to install smart bulbs. I love the Wifi Smart Bulb Sunrise Sunset bulb. It simulates the color hues of the sunrise and sunset to “sync your body’s natural clock with nature.” Essentially, it turns your bedside lamp into a natural alarm clock by slowly dimming the light when you go to bed, and slowly lighting your room in the morning. Screw the bulb into your lamp and sync it with an app on your phone.
Upgrade your Light Fixtures
Sorry, I know that this suggestion is ridiculously obvious but ugly light fixtures have to go. If you’re completely against wiring in a new light fixture, you can upgrade lighting by replacing the glass on kitchen pendants and bathroom lights. Replacement glass is available in all shapes, styles and colors so you should be able to find something that looks better than the builder grade fixtures you’ve inherited. This is a picture of our kitchen where we replaced several can lights with pendants and glass shades, and it added instant visual interest.
Replacing an existing light fixture can instantly change the entire look of a room. Builder grade light fixtures are generally uninspired, and have fewer light bulbs than needed. I’ve seen above dining table light fixtures with a single bulb! How can you tell what’s for dinner with that kind of lighting? If your budget is tight, concentrate on the rooms and areas with the most need and the most traffic. Choose light fixtures that you love AND provide ample lighting. Metallic light fixtures are big for 2018. Check out all the other trends in our Ultimate DIY Guide to the 2018 Interior Design Trends. Remember, you can always use a dimmer to reduce light but you can’t increase light when you’re dealing with too few light bulbs. Check out Home Depot’s tutorial on how to change out a light fixture.