Small Projects + DIY

Rental-friendly DIY fixes for 3 common lighting problems

By Virginia K. Smith  | July 22, 2014 - 12:59PM

At some point or another, we've all lived in a rental with a lighting scheme that makes us feel like we're either at the DMV or a haunted house. Mercifully, there are still plenty of options for those of us with security deposits to keep intact, and as we've said before, a lighting upgrade is one of the quickest, easiest decorating fixes you can make. Apartment Therapy has also rounded up some of the best (and most achievable) lighting DIYs from around the web to spruce up all manner of lighting woes. Get your glue guns ready:

Problem: A musty, old, but hard-to-remove fixture

Solution: To work around a fixture that's seen better days (and avoid working with wiring that's also seen better days), you can put together a drum shade using quilting hoops, decorative metal screens, a polystyrene lighting panel, and foil tape. At Wayfair, a similar model runs for $156.95

Problem: Glaring, recessed fluorescent lighting

Solution: If you're willing to screw something into your ceiling (and spackle up the holes before you move out), you can cover up ubiquitous in-set lighting with a homemade wooden drum shade like this one from Amy Krist at HomeComing, made from wooden shims, wreath forms, fabric, and rope. (This would also be a good place to incorporate some of that vintage nautical gear currently on the market in Red Hook.) A similar, woven style would run you $178 at Kenroy  Home.

Problem: An exposed bulb (or an awful fixture)

Solution: In lieu of what Design Sponge accurately terms the "Rental-Apartment-Standard-Light-Fixture-of-DOOM," you can swap in a woven hanging shade made from an embroidery hoop, ribbon, and embroidery ribbon. This may be the most time-intensive option, but it's also the cheapest (materials cost less than $10 total), and far more personalized than the scores of woven wicker lampshades lurking around the web.


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