Asked on Aug 13, 2013

Light fixture upgrade on a budget

Carissa Harris
by Carissa Harris
I have these awful "hollywood" style light fixtures in two of my bathrooms, but I am on a tight budget and can't afford the cost of completely replacing them. Any ideas on how to make covers for them, or any other ways to transform these without spending too much?
  27 answers
  • Therese C Therese C on Aug 13, 2013
    The idea I think you are searching for is to update the look and still have adequate lighting? I have are a couple of very inexpensive but classy ideas. I will post up a quick drawing for you.
  • Therese C Therese C on Aug 13, 2013
    In both of these designs, remember that the bottom of the frame is open allowing for added light. Good luck and let me know what you decide to do! Both of the ideas I worked up would cost (in our area) less than $30 to make.
    • See 5 previous
    • Linda B Linda B on Aug 17, 2013
      @Therese C Thank-you. I will probably be doing this soon.
  • Carissa Harris Carissa Harris on Aug 13, 2013
    Thanks! Those are good ideas! I will have to keep those in mind.
  • Carissa Harris Carissa Harris on Aug 13, 2013
    I wish I could find lamp shades that clipped on sideways, that I could clip on the bulbs but have the light angled down.... I can't seem to find anything for the individual lights.
  • Therese C Therese C on Aug 13, 2013
    Walmart used to have clip on shades in the lighting department that I believe would swivel as needed.
  • Becky P Becky P on Aug 13, 2013
    I just spray painted mine with a oil rubbed bronze paint. Works for now until I get around to redoing that bathroom.
  • Z Z on Aug 14, 2013
    My first thought was something very similar to Therese's idea in framing a four sided box allowing it to set over the edges of your current fixture. When you mentioned lamp shades I searched for "half lamp shades" and came up with these that would fit a standard sized bulb. They and all the others were way too pricey though so I thought about making your own using a clip on bulb adapter like this... ... and then keep your eye out for small clearance lamp shades to remake.
  • Carissa Harris Carissa Harris on Aug 14, 2013
    Thanks Becky! I was looking for those and having a hard time finding them. I guess it might end up being cheaper to find a good deal on new lights afterall....
    • See 1 previous
    • Carissa Harris Carissa Harris on Aug 15, 2013
      @Z That's a good idea. The Restore in our town is crappy, so I'll have to take a trip to the larger one a few counties over. But it should be worth it if they have something I can use. I think I would like the kind where the hardware mounts in the middle (where the wires already are) and then have two separate fixtures that swag over to the sinks....if that makes any sense haha.
  • Margaret Dick Margaret Dick on Aug 15, 2013
    I would not want to loose those mirrors. Mirrors in bathroom is a strong positive in my book. I have seen folks glue decorative picture frames to update the look. They used trim board. You could use trim board that matches the cabinet. With this bath you could do two frames and separate the 'sides' of the bath. Then change light fixture to a more modern look.
    • Carissa Harris Carissa Harris on Aug 15, 2013
      @Margaret Dick This is actually an old pic of the bathroom, it's the only one I had to show the light fixture. I did the trim frame with decorative corners, painted white, and I have a cabinet above the toilet now, even a mural thing I painted on the wall. I just hate this lighting, definitely have to do something about that! haha
  • Margaret Dick Margaret Dick on Aug 15, 2013
    My daughter spray painted her light fixture with the dark paint. All the fixtures in their house was gold. It worked well. Not sure how safe it would be to cover these lights. There is a lot of heat coming from the lights. I also found when I took down lights that large and wanted to go smaller that the hole in sheet rock was larger than most new fixture would cover!
  • Tegma Tegma on Aug 15, 2013
    Check daily.... I bought a $200 light there, for $24.99! It's beautiful and very stylish!
  • Chris aka monkey Chris aka monkey on Aug 15, 2013
    i could not afford to change mine i bought pink bulbs change the look a lot also come in many other colors xx
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Aug 15, 2013
    Lowes has excellent prices on lighting fixtures, if you decide to stretch to get one of those. You could also sell the one you have now on Craigslist to recoup some money. You may want to look into a decorative border above /sides of the lights to detract fro the harsh glare of the bulbs. We would like to see what you decide to do. Good luck.
  • Melissa Melissa on Aug 15, 2013
    Have you tried the local Habitat's ReStore? They have an abundance of lighting fixtures, at very low cost!
  • Jean DeSavage Jean DeSavage on Aug 15, 2013
    Becky, that's a great drawing of your light box. However, I would use an open plastic grid for the top instead of solid wood, it would keep things cooler. Also that way you would have light shining up and down. If you paint the inside of your box white or silver it will help the light to reflect brighter.
    • See 3 previous
    • Z Z on Aug 20, 2013
      @Thereseyour idea looks as though it's covering and using the current fixture where my idea removed the old fixures and made a box long enough to cover up the original electrical box and allowing for an after construction addition of two electrical boxes, one over each sink. Your idea is very similar to what I planned on doing at our last home that had a Hollywood light fixture. I was going to use stained glass though. That vanity was in an alcove so my cover was going to be from wall to wall though. If the old fashioned (Edison style) bulbs weren't so expensive I'd have replace the bulbs with them. I think that would have been pretty neat looking. I just Googled and found them for only $5.00 each. $40.00 would be worth not having to replace the fixture. Ofcourse that depends on how often you have to replace the bulbs. These have an average life of 1,250 hours.
  • Becky P Becky P on Aug 15, 2013
    Becky, you are so handy at the drawing stuff!
    • Z Z on Aug 15, 2013
      Thank you@ It was allot less tedious before I got a wireless mouse. They are so hard to hold steady when drawing. I've debated buying a corded one to use when I draw, though I'd really like a Bamboo pen for drawing. Maybe I should ask Santa. ;^) He's always very good to me. Although I do have to spell out what I want most of the time. You know how guys are. Ha ha ha. Gotta love 'em though.
  • Leslie F Leslie F on Aug 20, 2013
    my wife and I hate those dressingroom lights too.We have cut the bottom out of mason jars and used the mason jars to go over the light bulbs and they look great especially in a small bathroom.
    • Z Z on Aug 20, 2013
      @Leslie, how do you attach them to the fixture? Can you share a picture please?
  • Therese C Therese C on Aug 20, 2013
    @Z I tried to use those curlie-Q bulbs that are 'supposed' to last forever...they are so dim and annoying to me that I went back to GE clear bulbs in all lights except bedrooms; for those I use soft white. I guess I am strange about the lighting in my house. But, back to the fixture, yes I designed it as a way to cheaply get by until the financing is right otherwise. :)
    • Z Z on Aug 20, 2013
      @Therese we don't like the florescent bulbs either. We're changing over to LED. We even bought the LED fixtures that are bulb and fixture to fill in where we had the can lights. We love them! They take a second to light, but once they do it's bright. For the best lighting I really prefer the bulbs we grew up with, but they do heat up a room and aren't energy efficient and we're all about that.
  • Melissa Gutilla Melissa Gutilla on Aug 29, 2013
    check and see if u have a local restore store. We have them here in Virginia they sell donated items and left over items from the habitat for humanity homes. All the fixtures in my house are the gold color also. Yuck! I bought a light for my stair well from them for 30.00 and at Home Depot it was over 200.00. You just have to keep stopping in until u see something u like. Ours always has new and used items.
  • Carmen Evans Carmen Evans on Jan 26, 2015
    You could make a pelmet either out of stiff board or timber and cover it with a lovely fabric to complement your bathroom, this should hide the globes but it may create a dimmer look in the room.
  • Kincaid99 Kincaid99 on Aug 17, 2015
    Using a paint that is for light bulbs, to stand the heat, paint the top half of the globe or a stripe around the middle to dress them up and cut down on the glare, you could also repaint the fixture to match the stripe on globe.
    • Carissa Harris Carissa Harris on Aug 18, 2015
      @Kincaid99 That's a good idea, I hadn't thought about that! I actually broke down and bought 2 new lights off Amazon with some rewards $ I had. Thanks for the tip!
  • Tracy patterson Tracy patterson on Aug 21, 2015
    I don't know your style or colors but when I looked at it I see it flat mat black with Edison bulbs .. Google image Edison bulbs
  • Connie Salsman Connie Salsman on Aug 21, 2015
    These fixtures, although they are wide, have only one connection on the back. Check out local thrift stores for other styles. Even pendant styles could be mounted on wall and hung from ceiling hooks over the sink. Also, textured spray paints (like hammered or leather) give nice looks to these fixtures.
  • Angie Angie on Sep 21, 2015
    Google "vanity shades of Vegas". She's on etsy and I believe she has a website. Makes little covers to cover those ugly lights!
  • Cztromley Cztromley on Jul 15, 2016
    i am in the same boat but am a renter. I do have one idea I am going to try in our "Miami Dolphin bath" (his of course and in the master) There is enough gap between fixture and wall to slide a wire hanger in-so... I am going to try to make an "L" shaped hanger to go from wall across above bulbs hooking the front to hold old Miami Dolphin license plates. There are only 4 bulbs in ours and two plates will work nicely. The guest bath is another one and still waiting for the right idea to fit the "Russian" theme-items from Dads journeys.
  • Dori Loga Dori Loga on Aug 18, 2016
    Make a cover for them.
  • Kim Curtin Kim Curtin on Jul 24, 2017

    I just thought I'd let you know about my on-line store - I create custom fabric covered Vanity Shades designed specifically to hide those ugly "Hollywood style" vanity lights. Choose from over 600 designer fabrics.