Lights Out

Out of style that is…

Right before I got pregnant I had a whole handful of ideas to update the apartment. I was inspired to go after decorating and blogging full time to take the pressure off trying to have a baby.

As luck would have it, I got pregnant almost immediately – great news, right?!

Great news for motherhood…not so great news for the blog and all the projects I had planned.

Most of my ideas were no longer feasible due to fumes and heavy lifting. The rest of the ideas got pushed aside so that I could create a nursery and transform the apartment in preparation for our newest roommate.

Now that the nursery is finally settled, I’ve been looking around at all my forgotten projects.

At the tip top of my pre-Kip to-do list was a makeover of our bathroom light fixture.

As with most of the items I dislike in the apartment, you’ve only seen glimpses of its presence. Call me vain, but it seems pretty rare for anyone to take photos of unattractive things, unless they have a plan to revive them.

Here are the glimpses I could find. Fair warning: they aren’t too pretty.




When we first moved in I desperately want to remove and replace this fixture, but it wasn’t as simple as a quick swap and rewire. Replacing this guy seemed to be a pretty major undertaking.

The classic Hollywood fixture wasn’t flying solo. It was attached to our 3 mirror panels that also serve as our medicine cabinet doors.


The thing is a beast! It’s practically a piece of furniture hanging on our wall.

Even worse (for someone wanting to replace it), it serves THREE purposes: Lighting, Mirror, Storage.  The small-space decorator inside me knew that this piece (though hideous) was too functional to scrap.

Crap. (Sorry Mom, I know you hate that word).

I knew the right thing to do was live with it for as long as tolerable.

In the mean time, I did my best to improve the aesthetics. In a moment of overwhelming desperation I took inspiration from color-backed bookshelves, and painted the oddly plastic off-white inside with some leftover Behr English Channel paint.


Don’t you feel like the navy blue really makes that toothpaste POP?! (I kid).

Trust me, it looks better than it did before. And no, I did not organize or at all beautify these shelves before taking this photo.

I could have taken a prettier photo today, but that would involve extensive time in the bathroom and my baby LOVES the toilet. He would seriously lick it if I let him – it’s an everyday battle.

When weighing my priorities:

  1. Organizing bathroom cabinets
  2. Preventing baby licking toilet

…my baby boy is going to win, every. single. time. It’s especially important to consider the likelihood that he gives my face/eyes/nose a huge slobbery kiss shortly following toilet contact.

I digress…

Eventually I grew to love the storage space and the expansive mirror, but those bulbs felt painfully dated and encroached on my every attempt at making this room feel at all stylish.

Was there any hope of reworking this beast to make it more appealing?

I found a few inspiring ideas on Pinterest:



Source: Hometalk

MAKE A WOODEN VENEER: (my personal favorite)


Source: On Bliss Street



Source: A Home Full of Color

My original plan was to replace the existing bulbs with the brightest Edison bulbs available, and paint the white metal behind the lights with the oil rubbed bronze Rustoleum paint I already used for my bookshelf makeover.

Unfortunately, this paint was oil-based (remember how I couldn’t figure out how to get it off my hands or brushes? See above for details). Once I was growing a baby, I decided that a messy painting project with toxic fumes was a no go.

Hoping for a partial quick fix, I went ahead and ordered a box of 12 Edison Bulbs from Home Depot online. Though the box was clearly labeled FRAGILE in multiple locations,  they arrived shattered. I didn’t even open the box before sending it back – I could hear the total devastation.

This project was not meant to be.

In the wake of baby preparedness we were already spending money at a rapid pace: temporary wall, crib, classes, doctors, etc. In the spirit of being thrifty, I promised myself I’d wait to replace each bulb with an Edison Bulb ($10 each) only after the old bulbs burnt out.

Fast forward ONE YEAR. Would you believe that HALF of these suckers are still burning bright?!


I’ve never been so excited for a lightbulb to meet its end.

It’s a pretty far cry from a transformation – let’s face it, I changed 4 lightbulbs…

If I’ve learned anything in the course of updating my apartment, it’s that the most challenging and time consuming part of DIY decorating is finding inspiration, researching products and brainstorming affordable, doable options. Typically, the actual transformation only takes a day (or a moment to change a bulb)!

What I’m trying to say is, beautiful before and after photos might be the ultimate reward, but sometimes, simply anticipating the possibilities is what keeps me plugging away.

I guess that’s a lesson in life too. Don’t get too caught up in the unflattering details. Take baby steps. Choose to see the possibilities. Feel hopeful about the coming transformation.


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