HOUSE: New Mexico #2

Simple light fixture makeover.

Light Fixture Makeover - doorsixteen.com

Here’s a little ceiling light makeover I did that only took a couple of hours, but which makes a really big improvement in appearance of one of my hallways. The fixture in place was in sorry shape, as you can see—dirty, rusty, and caked with paint. It’s old, but it doesn’t look to me like it could possibly be original to the house? I have no idea, but given the damage to the ceiling around the fixture, I’m guessing something else was there before. It’s made out of aluminum, and while it looks like there possible could have been some sort of glass cover on it at some point because of the notches on the side, it’s really not cute. The bulb in it was one of those CFLs that takes five minutes to warm up to full brightness (which is unhelpful in a hallway, where you often only need to have the light on for a minute or two at a time), and then gives off a seriously unflattering light.

I had intended to replace it with something period-appropriate from Schoolhouse Electric, but one month led to another, and then the New Year rolled around and I still hadn’t settled on anything…so I decided to just go ahead and make the ugly rusty dirty thing look less gross.

I took the fixture down, removed the ceramic socket inside, and gave the whole thing a really good scrubbing with a Scotch Brite scrubby pad in hot, soapy water. When it was completely dry, I gave it two coats of my longtime go-to matte black spray paint, Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer. The screws got spray-painted, too. Admittedly, spray painting outside in 25º weather isn’t ideal, but eventually it dried and the finish is just fine. While I was waiting for it to dry, I scraped, patched, sanded, and repainted the ceiling around the fixture.

To compensate for the lack of a shade, I decided to use one of these huge, white, G40 globe bulbs. I love these bulbs! They look like light fixtures all on their own. (They’re really nice when used with simple cord pendants, by the way, especially in a small space like a hallway or closet!)

Light Fixture Makeover - doorsixteen.com

DON’T LOOK AT THE DATE ON THE CLOCK!!! It’s evidence of how much time elapsed between when I completed this little project and when I finally got around to posting about [insert monkey-covering-its-eyes-in-embarrassment emoji]. Sigh. Oh well.

It looks pretty good for now, right? I’ll probably wind up replacing it eventually (maybe a ceramic Norfolk base with a Custard Pinstripe glass shade? Or my old favorite, the Alabax), but it’s a great improvement. Or…I could just forget about it for another six months or a year or forever.

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20 Comments

  • Reply Carolyn April 14, 2017 at 10:02 am

    So happy you are blogging again! I just love your style!

  • Reply Nat Simons April 14, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Just started following along!! Love this easy update, literally a world of difference!

  • Reply molly k April 14, 2017 at 11:42 am

    This is great. I love simple updates like this– both to a house and a blog. Welcome back– I’ve really missed your voice and style in my life.

  • Reply Julie April 14, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Actually I really love that clock! Where is it from? No judgment about the time elapsed 🙂

  • Reply Taste of France April 14, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Usually I love old and imperfect, but in this case you made the right call. Big improvement. And that hallway is all business!

  • Reply Lauren April 14, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I love that you are posting things like this after allll these years I’ve been following along. I was just looking for a simple ceiling fixture like this the other night for a super low budget remodel I’m doing. I wish I could find a fixture like your vintage one–looks so good! I could only find something similar on Etsy for what felt like way too much money 😉

  • Reply Charlotte April 14, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Cool – it looks great! And it’s great to see you back on the blog. I especially liked your office re-do. I just may end up with some of those same office storage solutions. I LOVE your office!

  • Reply Katy April 14, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Is there a tutorial you would recommend for safely removing light fixtures? I’m a little worried about electrocuting myself or starting my house on fire.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 April 14, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      Hi Katy, it kind of depends on the age of your wiring, but I’m a big fan of See Jane Drill’s YouTube tutorials. She’s got a really good one for basic fixture wiring:
      https://youtu.be/7HdftVml640

  • Reply Ryan April 14, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    love basic exposed bulb fixtures. My mid-20s house has many exposed bulb fixtures. The hall, kitchen and bath have brass fixtures with glass bell shades but without an integrated socket. The sockets were simple ceramic sockets screwed to the ceiling. Probably 5 years ago I took down the painted over brass fixtures and removed the paint, but it also removed the original factory paint which was a white or cream enamel. I haven’t re-installed the fixtures and can’t decide if i should leave them bare brass or repaint them. I had the wiring replaced last year and luckily new ceramic sockets with the wide base that cover a ceiling box still fit in my fixtures.

  • Reply Deb from Maryland April 14, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Hi Anna!
    I checked in a couple of times while you were away, even though (I thought) I was following you. Now realize that I somehow lost Bloglovin, so this time checking in I signed up again to follow. I’m so glad you’re continuing to blog, (in whatever capacity you decide to continue with) I missed your voice. Nevertheless, she persisted. 😉

  • Reply stella April 14, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks for blogging again. Missed your voice. And your style. Then i found you on instagram and got my D16 fix .

  • Reply Beth April 15, 2017 at 5:56 am

    Love these kind of posts! Glad you are blogging again! Missed you!!!

  • Reply Katrina April 15, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Oh man that’s a huge improvement! I hate cfls. That was the first thing to go when I moved. Even before painting the red and brown living room. LEDs forever.

  • Reply Kelly April 15, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Anna! so happy to see your new posts – I’ve missed them dearly! Your new office wow! and the ever regal Fritz!

  • Reply MaryMargaret April 17, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Love this! Our handyman broke a fixture and we’ve had an unattractive exposed bulb in a hallway for longer than I care to admit. Of course the handyman offered to replace, but the fixture was no longer being sold and I told him not t worry about it. Then I stopped worrying about it and nothing every got done. That globe bulb is so simple, so elegant, so cheap. I have dreams for getting something amazing, but this is a perfect maybe-forever stand-in! I hope you are monetizing your links — right to my shopping cart this goes!

  • Reply Bridget Wall April 24, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Looks great!

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