Thrifty find: Replacing Outdated Shades on a Light Fixture

I hate outdated light fixtures with a passion  And as a renter, I never seem to be able to escape horrific ones. (Perhaps, I'm being a wee bit dramatic. hehe)

Now that we have that out of the way, let me show you this beaut (said in a facetious tone) that is in our living room. We've been looking at this everyday for the past 2 years. 

Please excuse dustiness & popcorn ceiling
Yikes! Right? 

Also, check out how the bulbs extend past the shades. The new energy-saving bulbs are too long for these old fashioned shades. 

Here's how I fixed that little problemo: 
I spent months searching for the perfect chic & inexpensive shades. Yesterday, I decided I would try Lowes again, and low and behold I found these modern shades for $3.60 or something like that under $4. My heart skipped a beat when I spotted them. I even had a cashier double check that they were indeed under $4 like the sign said. It's just that <$4 is a much better price than similar shades that run $8 to $15 a pop. 

The particular Lowes I went to only had 2 in stock, so I asked a lovely employee to tell me what locations it was in stock. I trekked across the Research Triangle in NC (okay, it was like 5 miles away, but there was traffic, people!), and I bought another 2. 

Here is the exact same light fixture with new shades! 

This pic doesn't do it justice. In real life, it looks like a whole new fan! I love love love it!

Now some folks may wonder why I would spend money to update the homeowner's light fixture. To them I say...
Yes, I know I'm a renter.
Yes, I know that I'm adding value to a house that I do not own.
Yes, I know that's money I will never get back.
But if happiness could be measured in terms of dollars and cents, then I think I have already gotten a 200% return on my investment. I've been staring up at the new shades and swooning all day. Totally worth the $16 I paid and the time it took to drive around town to find them. 

Do any of you DIYers agree with me that sometimes it's worth putting a little money and a little blood, sweat, and tears into a rental? I mean we do have to live in them after all.  :)


  1. They look great! I have the same exact fans with those ugly shades in our home. I just don't look up:)!

  2. for 16 bucks, i'd say it's well worth the happiness it brings you. i am ashamed to say this...but we installed vertical blinds in an apartment! there were these sliding doors onto our balcony, and nothing blocking the view inside. we just figured they were cheap, they'd do the trick, and we'd leave them for the next person. which we did. it's like a totally un-chic pay it forward!

  3. We would paint our rentals only to have to repaint back to white before we moved out but we never cared; we had to live there.
    The fan looks so much better and I am glad you found such a great deal!

  4. @Beth - No shame in that! In my case, I just can't avert my eyes because the outdated fan happens to be right in front of the mirror above our mantle (I didn't really think that one through when I bought a giant mirror).

    @Cape on the Corner - Ha ha! Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. If it's inexpensive and useful, who can argue with that? :)

    @Gin - Exactly! It's worth it sometimes to make small upgrades b/c in the end we're the ones living there. Glad to know I'm not alone there.

  5. I love this! I did this to our ceiling fan in our dining room and it made such a difference, although looking at yours, I'm now wishing I'd gone for something a bit groovier. Yours looks awesome, I love it! Next time I will remember that! Great blog, I am loving all of your projects, super ideas. Rasz posted about your blog and I'm so glad she did! Thanks for sharing!!

  6. I totally agree on the renter thing of fixing up my place just because I live there! I LOVE the little house I rent and take great pride in making this house my home for as long as I am here.

    Did the green walls come with your rental or did you do that? The house I rented has Tuscan colored walls that cannot be repainted or changed in any way. The property manager thought that would be a problem...not for me! I love the the different colors in each room as I have been living in the world of Navajo White Renter walls for years!!!!

    Great post!

  7. Whoa what a total score! Can't believe those were so inexpensive - wewt! Amazing how small changes can make such an impact. :O)

    ~ www.billiemonster.com ~

  8. I see nothing wrong with doing this, you have to live there and see it everyday so it may as well be something you prefer to see, but what I would have done is saved the original shades in a box and put them back when I moved out, keeping the ones I bought. Never know when they'll come in handy again. :)

  9. Your light fixture looks great. It doesn't even look like its in-expensive .

  10. change is always good thinking my fixture in my room could do for a change mine shades are outdated


Thanks for your kind comments!