How to Update Light Fixtures on a Budget

update lights on a budget

This all started when our ceiling fan stopped working and our home warranty replaced it.  Our new fan was black, so naturally the other light fixture in the same room needed to be replaced too.  After looking online and in stores, I decided to try giving this one a face lift first.  My motto around here is to try to update it first, then if I screw it up we were going to replace it anyways.  Ha!  I never realized how much light fixtures complete a room until we updated ours.  Look at the difference a can of spray paint and removing the bell glass makes!

step two lights

My husband was on a fishing trip.  I knew if I waited until he got back, he would want to do this project properly and remove the light fixture from the ceiling (vs. my way- trial and error).  I stood on top of this table on my tippy-toes and did my best to tape brown paper to the ceiling around the base of the light. Since our ceiling is at a sharp slope, I wasn’t tall enough to get to the higher edges.  Whatever.  The next step was to lay an old fitted sheet across the table and another sheet over the rug.  I grabbed a can of Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint and sprayed in three light coats.  This still would have worked perfectly, if it weren’t for that open door you see in the photo on the right.

You see, I thought it would be good idea to ventilate the area by opening the front and back doors while spray painting.  Don’t do this.  It’s a bad idea.  The breeze picks up the paint particles and they drift further, like over on the countertop and also tiny black dots on the hardwood floor.  It sounds like common sense, right?  I’m creative, not a perfectionist y’all.  It’s a blessing and a curse.

spray painted light fixture

Oh well- it looks a lot better than it did before and no one will notice the paint dots around the room unless I point them out.  Or if you read this before coming to my house.  Or if you’re my husband, because that’s the first thing he noticed.  To which I said, “Would you rather me have spent $200 on a new light, or $15 on spray paint and light bulbs?”    Mhmmm.  That’s what I thought.

The next dilemma was new glass fittings.  In all, I bought 9 different styles from 3 different stores and tried them all on.  I didn’t like any of them and ended up just going with these fancy little halogen light bulbs.  Aren’t they cute?  Now the chandelier curtains you see in the background aren’t so random- we have our own black chandelier!

lights before and after

So like I said, our ceiling fan stopped working.  Our home warranty replaced it, but only gave us $50 towards it.  Do you know what people pay for ceiling fans these days?  I couldn’t believe some of the prices on those bad boys!  And guess what?!  They all do the SAME THING.

cheap ceiling fan

Our former fan was white and it came with the house, so it was a bit outdated for our tastes.  Easy fix- I got the $44 contractor grade fan at Lowe’s and added this $30 light kit to it.  It looks EXACTLY like a fan they were selling for $189 that you see in the background of the first photo.  When I asked the difference between the two, he said the only difference is that the other one can get rained on.  We don’t need that feature in our living room, so the cheapest option will do just fine.  I also bought an 18 inch downrod vs. the 12 inch one with our former fan.

contractor grade fan

Natural light and a clean house can make a difference too, but I love the new look!  If you are looking at replacing your ceiling fan, definitely check into the light kit options that can be added to contractor grade fans that will give it a face lift.  Spray paint works too- just remember not to open the door on a windy day!

Are you eyeing any fun light fixtures?  I love the ones they’ve had on Fixer Upper lately!


  1. Jennifer Surly says


    Your way with words just tickles me! Love the light and fan transformation….you are so talented!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *