Before & After: The Power of Good Light

When we moved into our current home, there was a lot that needed fixing, but one of the biggest issues was that the whole place felt kind of dark. We live in a duplex that, like most city homes, is sandwiched in between two other buildings, so our only real light comes through the front and back windows. The other issue was that what light was in the space was given off by some really, really ugly and inefficient light fixtures. Think 90s-style track lighting and chrome ceiling fans :(. 

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Here are a few before pics from the listing when we bought the house. 

YIKES!

EEK!

before home photos

SHUDDER!

before home photos

Our first step was to paint (literally) the entire house Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, which brightened things up a lot more than the beige-yellow color it was painted before. Step two was to add recessed lighting in the kitchen and main living spaces, which also made a huge different since recessed lighting tends to eliminate a lot of the shadows that get cast when you only have a singular ceiling light in the center of the room. The third step is my favorite, and one that’s ongoing: Replacing all of the ugly, awful ceiling and accent fixtures with new, attractive versions. 

good lighting - modern vintage living room

We started out by installing a new fixture from West Elm (the large Mobile chandelier) above our dining table as sort of a focal point, and took cues from that with the lights in the rest of the house. Besides a vanity light in my son’s bathroom (the Vega 3-light bath sconce from CB2), the rest of the accent lighting in our house is from Linea di Liara. I found the brand online pretty recently, and they sold me with their combination of simple-but-stylish fixtures (a few of which happened to coordinate nicely with our West Elm chandelier), and incredibly low prices (because as I mentioned, we have about 37 other project we’re currently budgeting for in order to get this place up to standards). We ended up with two of the brand’s Primo Industrial Glass Pendant in Black/Brass ($48), and three of the Messina Drum Pendant Lamp in Cream ($79). 

We haven’t gotten around to installing the drum pendants yet because I keep changing my mind about where I want them, but we install the glass ones (above). We put one in the kitchen where the old track light used to be, more for decoration than ambient light. The second one went in the stairway to replace another 90s-style fixture that was less that cute. 

Next on the list: finding a new light for our bedroom, and installing a few more can lights down the upstairs hallway. But already, WHAT A DIFFERENCE!