Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thrifty Decor: Updating Vintage Lights with Modern Accents

Every time I'm at a home improvement store, I gaze longingly at the vintage-styled pendant lights that would look ever so chic over our kitchen island.  And every time, I walk away thinking, "That's an awful lot of money..."

Our house is an old Victorian, and we have some of the old light fixtures, although they border on great-grandma-tastic with their ornate and flowery glass.

It occurred to me that we happen to have a slightly ancient double pendant light over the dining room table, which I detest there, because it seems so un-spectacular.  (I have chandelier fantasies.)  How I spent ten years in this house not noticing how superb a fit that light fixture would be over the island will forever boggle my mind.

blah blah blah, double pendant over the dining table... 

All the pendant light needs is cooler-looking glass, and they would be authentic vintage-chic!  And way more budget friendly.

While all this brilliance was going on in my mind, I remember the old light fixture in my living room, which also has (mismatched) grandmotherly glass, so I sweet talked my husband into a run to the store to shop for replacements.

I'm charming like that.

In our flurry of activity, my husband started removing the glass from this fixture before photos, so he kindly put it back for a whole 3 seconds so I could snap a quick picture. It's way tackier up close.  This is pre-makeover.
New, seeded glass shades are so vintage and still so right-now, so for under $7 each, we buy three of these babies for the living room fixture.

Because the whole makeover for the living room light fixture only cost $21 so far, I allowed my typically cheap frugal self buy three light bulbs that each cost $7, but they are so darn cute, with old-school style filament that shows beautifully through the seeded glass. 

It was a splurge, but look how snappy!

Moving back to the kitchen, we (meaning my husband) took down the stainless light fixture and brought in the pendant from the dining room.

The kitchen light fixture is sporting a more contemporary shade in a graphic cylinder shape of milky white glass, with a subtle linen-inspired cross-hatching.

We need the one fixture to give enough light for the whole room with only two bulbs, so using white glass and white bulbs offers bright, soft light.  

I'm totally nuts about the patina on the old metal.  And the darling little twisty light switch!

He's handsome, even when wiring, checking for length of the chain to be equal after adjusting it for the island.

Pretty, repurposed vintage lights over the island.  Total cost $15.
Not too shabby.

Do you love to repurpose in your decorating?  This is my first lighting up-cycle.  Usually I work with furniture pieces, but it's fun to imagine the possibilities all around us in our homes.  

Do you have any favorite ways to decorate on the cheap?  I'd love to hear on Facebook or here in the comments.


  1. Where did you but your seeded glass shades?

  2. YES, where DID you buy your seeded glass shades?

    1. Those are right from Lowe's ;) Super simple!

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