Modernizing Our Light Switches

As you can see, Josh and I have decided to change out all of our old light switches for a modern rocker switches. Most of our switches are Leviton brand and you can find them relatively cheap on amazon, assuming you don’t have to buy many “odd” switches like we did. Besides the normal single rocker switches, we also had to get a dimmer switch for our dining light (the one that was most recently changed), and a double switch for our kitchen light and back porch light. The later of these we also found a strange old electrical (?) box. I mean, we do live in a Lustron home, so strange 50s things aren’t that uncommon, but we definitely weren’t expecting that, nor have we seen anything like it elsewhere in the house. Along with that, you will also see that some of the old switch plates damaged wallpaper/paint. We aren’t happy about our new found work, but the projects seem to be never ending, so oh well!

New Dining Room Light

I’ve wanted a new light fixture in the dining room since we first moved in. The exposed bulb wasn’t the style I wanted in the house, but also the bulb had to be so dull that you won’t be blinded, or the bulb isn’t really functioning as a light. Josh & I looked at shades at several stores, but either the style wasn’t right, or it was way more expensive than it should have been.

Making our own lamp shade

First, the black cubes were hand made by Josh and I two years ago as part of our wedding centerpieces. They are 3/4″ x 3/4″ pieces of pine cut to 11.5″ and 5″. We used the 11.5″ pieces as the sides, and we used the 5″ pieces for the top and bottom pieces that were sandwiched between the 11.5″ pieces. This makes the over all dimensions of the cubes 6.5″ x 6.5″ x 11.5″. We used a nail gun to attach them together, wood putty to patch the holes, used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Gray primer, then spray painted them with Rust-Oleum Universal Spray Paint in Black Hammered.

As you can see in the photos, we originally planned to attach the cubes to the fixture with wood, but we decided to use 4 screw eyes at the top interior center of each piece. The panels are corrugated plastic. We cut the panels slightly big, then Josh shaved them down using the table saw so that they were slightly tight putting them in. Finally, we used small dowels to make sure the panels are evenly spaced from the front, then we used a hot glue gun to place hot glue onto each of the corners, attaching them. Then we hung it up with thin wire and switched the light bulb for a 100 Watt LED bulb.

New Light Fixtures

This weekend, Josh and I went to a new liquidation store a few towns over. While we were there, we were looking at their light section, and we had talked many times about how bad our lighting was and how our fixtures didn’t match what our styling was. On top of this, this store had a good selection, and we were able to get the ceiling light for $23 and we bought their last one, and the wall sconce was only $8.

After that, we finished our Christmas shopping, and crashed for the night. On Sunday, we had to run out to Home Depot to get the 13 watt bulbs needed for the kitchen, and boy was it worth it! Josh spent to rest of the afternoon putting up the lights. It was kind of weird since the ceiling light needed the ground attached to the bracket before it attaches, so I had to hold the light near the ceiling while Josh attached the bracket. Also, it was nice to find light boxes in the ceiling and wall, since we didn’t have one behind our medicine cabinet. The light box in the ceiling isn’t attached to the ceiling at all, but the wires attached through a smaller hole, so there is no risk of that falling. The original kitchen light also had insulation underneath the plate. Though that was the case, we installed the new light without insulation, with the thought that we can always add some later if we so desire or need.

The wall sconce however was a complete disaster trying to install. Originally, Josh thought that would be the easy one, and the ceiling light would be hard, but it was quite the opposite. First, we had to paint it, because it had an oiled brass finish, and we decided it would look better in nickle. But, the problems began shortly after. There was a light box behind the wall sconce, however it sticks out of the wall by about an eighth of an inch. So, the whole fixture is away from the wall a bit, but everything is weird about the design of the fixture. The bulb screws in toward the bottom left edge of the glass, and to not see the bulb, the bulb has to be twisted toward the right. So, the light is uneven, which can be seen a bit in the lit photo below. Also, nothing aligned with the new sconce. A bolt on the back hit the edge of the box making it stick out more, and the ground screw on the mounting bracket also prevented the light from laying flat. So, Josh had to switch brackets, and grind down the light box, making it so the light was nearly even with the wall.

Overall, things didn’t go as we had expected them to, however, they both turned out well nevertheless. The lights take a second to turn on in the kitchen and though we will probably change the wall sconce again in the future, it turned out well in the end. What do you think of the new fixtures? I’m excited to make a new recipe in the kitchen to show off my new lighting soon!

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