Thursday, February 3, 2011


Don't you LOVE finding new ways to update your house but not spend a lot of money?  And updates that are noticeable and truly effective?  Well, changing the lighting throughout your home can be one of those options.  Truth is, you probably never thought about your lighting or even noticed it.  But i'll bet you are now. There are so many options for lighting these days...and in every price range.  Allow me to make a few suggestions.

1.  Start at the front door.  Are your coach lights, by the garage or the front door, rusty, faded, loose, with birds nest behind them and have those patterned yellow glass insets? You know what I'm talking about. You need a coach light makeover!  They are so easy to install and they make an instant improvement to the curb appeal of your home.  I just did this last year for my in-laws.  They had the kind of lights I just described to you.  We replaced them with pewter finished lights.  Wow!  What a difference.  And so much more brilliant.

2. Landscape lighting is easy to install as well, if you know what you're doing. It can give a warm glow to your home at night. You will need access to an exterior electrical outlet that is designed for the exterior of your home. Preferably, this would be near the location of your lights. Just read and follow the instructions for the amount of wiring, lights and how powerful the power pack timer needs to be. Up-lighting your home or trees is always a beautiful way to enhance your home. I don't recommend solar landscape lighting. They really don't gather enough energy to really be effective. Do NOT line lights up along your driveway or sidewalk. A passing jet may mistake you for a landing strip and land in your front yard!

3. Bathroom lighting is one of my pet peeves and is so easy to remedy.  A lot of homes have the dressing room bar lights with the exposed bulbs.  Want to know why builders put those in homes?  Because they are the cheapest light they can install.  Do some shopping and boost your bathroom lighting.  There are so many different options in different finishes.  Be sure and keep your finishes consistent in your bathroom.

4. Ceiling Fans seem to be the standard in homes today.  Especially in warmer climates.  Even here in Nebraska, they're nice to have.  Make sure when you choose a ceiling fan that is in proportion to the room where you are installing it.  I have seen these tiny little ceiling fans in rooms that are much too large for that particular fan.  Not only does a larger fan look better, it will also cool the room a lot more efficiently.

There are so many fans to choose from.  I know it's tempting, but in your child's room, try and stay away from colored fans.  They become outdated so quickly, your child probably won't want it when they're a teenager so you'll have to change it anyway AND if you're trying to sell your home, it's a BIG turnoff to Buyers.  Stay classy.  Stay neutral.

Don't forget your patio or deck when it comes to ceiling fans. They can be a nice addition on a warm summer day.

I'm not a huge fan of light kits on ceiling fans.....especially the tulip shaped lights and the old school house light (seen above).  Light kits are sometimes included with the ceiling fans but some ceiling fan companies will allow you to choose your own.  Don't be like every other house in your neighborhood.  Do something different.  But by all means, stay classy.

5. Basic ceiling lights aren't to be ignored either.  Another meaningful change could be made here.  Like I said before, builders often put in cheap builder grade lighting.  Upgrade yours.

6.  Entry lighting  - If you have a large entry way with high ceilings, you more than likely have some kind of large pendant light hanging there.  Don't forget to update these as well.  I've seen homes here in Omaha that often have large windows at the entry way to highlight the lighting in the entry way.  Take advantage of that.  With this installation, because the ceilings are so high, you'll probably need a professional to install it for you.

7. Lamps - I am a lamp lover!  Lamps add so much warmth to a room and creates an ambience that overhead lighting cannot.  I use lamps everywhere!  Not only in bedrooms, but in my bathrooms, my kitchen, my entry way.....anywhere there is an outlet, I'll try to put a lamp there.  You can spend hundreds of dollars on lamps, or pick up great ones at garage sales or even Goodwill.  With the last two options, you'll probably want to shop for a new shade.  Just make sure the shade is in correct proportion to the lamp.  Important - any time you are showing your home to potential Buyers, turn on every light in your house, including all of your lamps.  Lighting makes your home feel so much brighter, especially if you don't have a lot of windows, it's winter time or maybe you have a north/south exposure without much direct sunlight.

OK, at this point your might be saying, "Dang, Jennifer!  That's a lot of money to change out all those lights!"  Ever heard the saying, "Rome wasn't changed in a day"? Take your time and work through your home as your budget allows.  Maybe you can replace one light fixture a month or maybe one a paycheck.  Only you can decide that.  Start planning your new lighting plan.  I see a "bright" future for you and your home! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

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