Let's Shed a Little Light!

Found on laylagrayce.com
With the holidays quickly approaching, my thoughts are always drawn toward lighting.  Whether it is holiday decorating, entertaining or just making your home sparkle, lighting is the key to making everything in your space pop!  So now is the time to think about updating your lighting in every room before you start breaking out holiday decorations or tackling your oh-so-very-long-shopping list. The most important room in your home is your kitchen.  It hosts huge family gatherings on weekends, and serves as homework-central during the week.  It is the hub of your daily family activities and deserves to be lit with beautiful, yet very functional, ceiling fixtures.  To start with, most homes feature a window over the kitchen sink.  In addition to that, most homes have a can light (or "puck light", as Candice Olson would say) centered over that window.  This is such an easy fix!  I know you have shopped around Pinterest, drooling over the beautiful pendants that hang so perfectly over kitchen sinks.  With an easy screw-in adapter, you can have a pendant light in your own home in just a few minutes!  Grab a kit at your local home improvement store in the color of your choice.  I almost always prefer the black, but go with what works in your space. 
Pendant Light Kit
Pop out your existing light bulb and screw in the pendant.  It really is that easy!  Now the fun part...choosing a shade.  You can choose glass, basket weave, metal or even chicken wire shades to adorn your space.  In fact, these are usually pretty inexpensive and can be switched out for the holidays or whenever you darn well please!  The next area that needs to be addressed is your kitchen ceiling fixture. 
Flush Mount Fixture
If you have a large florescent light from the 90's, or a builder-grade flush mount light, it needs to go!  Lighting has become so reasonably priced that there is no reason to live with something you absolutely hate. The one pictured left is one of my favorite flush mount lights for a kitchen that I have found. It offers great lighting, has a nice shape and is usually the perfect size (I also use this fixture in laundry rooms and hallways).  The most important lighting in the kitchen is the lighting over the island or peninsula.  Let me start by saying...if you have a huge island in your kitchen, it is SCREAMING for a chandelier or two! 
Found on SouthernLiving.com
So many people shy away from chandeliers in kitchens, but you absolutely should not!  A chandelier says, "I know what I am doing!".  If you can't take that mental plunge into a chandelier, opt for some unique, totally awesome pendants.  But whatever you do, don't match them to your sink pendant!  We don't need to be all matchy-matchy with our lighting; unless you're into the boring kitchen look. 
Found on deringhall.com
Add some pizzazz to your space with something that compliments the features in your kitchen.  If you hung glass over your sink, use metal or wood over your peninsula. 
Found on wayfair.com
These days, the kitchen usually has an attached eating area.  Whether it is your only dining room, or just a nook, it still needs adequate lighting.  This is a great place for a round drum chandelier or an antique brass one found at KalamazooKitty!  Whatever the combination of lighting you choose for your sink, island and nook, just make sure they all compliment each other, never match, and provide the lighting you need to cook, clean and entertain.  The best way to achieve that is by installing dimmer switches to each and every fixture, and not just in your kitchen either!  Need more light?  Adding under cabinet lighting or up-lighting above your cabinets will do the trick.  There are TONS of options for these spaces at the home improvement stores.  Again, remember to make sure they are dimmable!
Found on Houzz.com
The foyer may not be the most used space in your home, but it is usually the first thing your guests see when they walk through your front door.  If I could survey every reader right this moment, I would be willing to bet 95% of you wish you had a different foyer light fixture.  It is either shiny brass, tacky cut-glass, too small or too large, or just plain old ugly!  With all the great lighting companies out there now, and a pretty awesome selection at the home improvement stores, what are you waiting for?!  If buying something new is holding you up, I have a few suggestions: shop at KalamazooKitty for something locally made, vintage or antique, or alter the one you have.  If you love the size and shape of your existing fixture, remove it and spray paint it!  Just make sure you clean it up really well first, then spray prime and spray paint it the color of your choice.  My best chandelier painting tip for you: hang it from a tree branch so you can get all around it without ever touching it.  There are also ways to alter an existing light fixture by switching out the glass shade for a fabric one, or vice versa.  Often times the inside structure is decent, it just needs an outside facelift (don't we all!).  Always hire an electrician if you are not familiar with electrical work!
Lastly, most family rooms and living rooms across America are tainted with totally outdated ceiling fans.   Worse yet...fans with light kits hanging from them!  Now I do realize that fans can be a much needed, and very refreshing addition to a large space, but they don't have to be brass, white or a combination of the two.  Can you spend a fortune on a fan?  YES!  Do you have to?  NO! 
Found on Oddee.com
Check around town, go online and do your research.  Chances are you will find an awesome replacement fan without breaking the bank.  In the event that you never use your existing fan, or you decide you would be fine without one, by all means switch it out for a chandelier! 
Again, make sure it is large enough for the space and provides enough lighting and ambiance to make your room come to life.  In addition to overhead lighting, add plenty of lamps and/or sconces around the room for reading a book or knitting a Christmas sweater.  Avoid matching your lamps, unless you pair two together on a sofa table or piano.
If you can tackle the lighting in those few rooms in your home before the holidays kick in, you will totally impress your guests!  It will also help your holiday decorations sparkle and give you just the right light you need for baking Christmas cookies with your kids.  Be sure to take before and after pictures and ALWAYS email them to me so I can join in the excitement of an updated space!

This is from Kalamazoo...to you!


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