$7 Exterior Lights I Can Live With

July 5, 2012

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Welcome Design*Sponge readers!  To see more photos of the nursery-turned-studio, check this post out.  Feel free to kick off your shoes and stay awhile.  :)
We have a lot of dreamy updates on our exterior to-do list including updating our exterior lights.  We have been drooling over and pinning some industrial-modern fixtures online, but considering we have none–really…zip!–plants or landscaping of any kind in our backyard–plus a dream of a pergola and patio furniture–it didn’t feel right to invest in new lighting just yet.  The only thing was I couldn’t stand to look at our faded dirty fixtures anymore, so I did a $7 makeover.
Our lights used to be a sort of tarnished brown and the seeded glass had yellowed significantly and was uber dusty.  While the tarnished brown look doesn’t look horrible against our brick, our house numbers and shutters are both black so we really wanted the lights to go darker and sleeker.
First, I took the lights apart to get the glass out and after soaking the panes in a bit of white vinegar I threw the glass in the dishwasher and set out to paint the rest of the lights in the meantime.
Chris offered to unwire the fixtures so I could spray paint everything in a line, but once they were unscrewed from the brick, it was just as easy to slide a piece of butcher paper underneath and spray away.  As for the top, side supports and screws–those I did line up and give a few even coats of spray paint.
As you know, I normally go for oil-rubbed-bronze, but because I was trying to steer clear of brown undertones for this project I decided on Rustoleum’s Metallic Carbon Mist.  It isn’t as stark as black and it still has the shimmering, metallic qualities of oil-rubbed bronze, but it is more of a dark charcoal in real life.  In a word, puurrttttty.
The result?  Cleaner, sleeker, clearer fixtures.
Here’s a before shot of the lights by the garage:
And the much better after:
It isn’t as big of a change as going from, say, brassy to black lights would be (which would be an amazing transformation to any of you with those fixtures), but for me–it’s ‘uuggee. In fact, I told Chris I am completely okay with holding off on purchasing new lights.
Which I guess means this $7 project saved us at least $400.  Not too shabby.
Anyone else revamping fixtures around the house–inside or out?  A year after DIYing our dining room chandelier, we are gearing up to tackle the project again (it has caved in a slightly in one area) or we may even go a completely different direction.  Of course, we’ll let you know where we end up.

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What do you think?

  1. I’ll take that pretty little fixture over $400 lost ANY DAY. Nice work, girl

  2. Katherine Quick says:

    Gorg! my hubby actually just installed new lighting on our back porch. We had “normal” lights that we contolled from the inside, but we were always leaving the lights on while we were at work OR forgetting to turn them on at night. We purchased $20 Brinks dusk-to-dawn lights at Walmart a few months ago and they sat in our living room until this past Wednesday (nothing like an impending party to light a fire under your butt). I didn’t think to spray paint the base from the old lights though, so now we have bronze light fixtures on white bases. I think I’ll probably end up ORB-ing them done the line, so I’m okay to live with it for now.

  3. That looks awesome! What a great quick spruce up and it looks so nice and shiny now. I agree, no need to replace those anytime soon. They look wonderful!

  4. Heather G. says:

    I am planning on doing this exact thing to ours. I would love to purchase some of the super cool light fixtures I have seen on pinterest and so on, but we want to get rid of our oil heat and change to electric… so there are no funds available for fancy lights. Maybe one day, but since I have the spray paint in my garage, this will be easier to convince the husband to do :)

    Yours look great and I am in LOVE with your red door! I so wish red would work on our house, but theres too much brown for that… bummer.

  5. looking great! I’ve been giving my front porch light the stink eye lately for the same reasons…maybe this shall inspire me to get on that already. ;)

  6. Elisa says:

    Looks great! We did something very similar to a few of our lights outside, and what a difference it makes. Now I get a little itchy every time I see someone’s weathered lights fixtures. Hah.

  7. Erin says:

    OMG, congrats on the Design*Sponge feature! I was so excited when I recognized the before shot over there — I already knew what the after looked like!
    And yes, your lights are much improved :)

  8. meaganbriggs3 says:

    It seriously does look like a brand new light fixture!!!! It is amazing! The new paint job is nice and bold and fresh. What an easy transformation! And just cleaning the glass….what a difference!!! Go girl!

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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