before & after, DIY

Before & After: The $10 Replacement for Ugly Light Fixtures



The lighting in the Dream House house leaves a lot to be desired. We could easily spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars replacing all of the ugly “boob lights” and ceiling fans with period specific fixtures appropriate to our American System Built home. Or, we could spend $10 per fixture and get a temporary measure that fits the house’s era and design, but doesn’t break the bank. And that’s exactly what we did.


In the guest bedroom, a light fixture that I have always called the “boob light” was clinging to the ceiling when we moved in. This style of light fixture has to be my absolute least favorite in the history of ever. First of all, it’s ugly.  U-G-L-Y, it ain’t go no alibi, it’s ugly! Plain and simple. These lights do nothing to improve the look of the room, they’re aesthetically abhorrent and, on top of all that, they provide terrible light in the room. The solution? Pull down the boob light and replace it with a $2 Porcelain Ceiling Lampholder and an $8 Edison-style bulb.  Goodbye, boob light! Hello old fashioned loveliness!


I used the same solution in the master bedroom, which featured a big, brown ceiling fan when we moved in. And when I say featured, I mean it. That giant ceiling fan was the only feature you noticed when you walked into the room. And in a room that also features beautiful zinc-glass windows and gorgeous hardwood floors, it’s a travesty that the only thing you saw in the room was the big ceiling fan dangling from the ceiling. It made the room feel darker and shorter and, of course, is not even close to being period-friendly.


Now, with the simple porcelain fixture and bare Edison bulb, the room has been opened up. The ceiling feels higher and the room feels bigger. And when you walk into the room, your eyes are drawn to the corner windows and natural light, just as Wright had intended.

Eventually we’ll investigate a little further and see if we can match the style of light that would have originally been in the house when it was built in . Until then, this stop gap measure was an affordable solution that will keep me happy and provide more appealing lighting. And, really, it’s all about lighting, isn’t it?

— J. Blandings

Images: Mr. and Mr. Blandings

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1 Comment

  • Reply laurie 01/27/2014 at 4:52 pm

    BRILLIANT! I have been trying to figure out how to get rid of my boob light in the front “hall” (4×4 square) that the door won’t hit. If it weren’t -1M degrees right now, I’d be on my way to the depot. Thanks!

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