18 February 2009

Lamplight and Dimmer Switches

You can still enter my giveaway for Jeanne Winters' book, Inspirational Home: simple ideas for uplifting decor and craft. Comments will be open until Friday night!



Nester's post about quick changes that you can make to your family room was just the kick that I needed to make a couple of easy changes. I have disliked the lighting in our family room from the day we moved into this house. It's a large room and that makes it difficult to get pleasant lighting throughout.



Even though I absolutely know better, we put in one of these when we were building the house. The fan makes sense to help distribute the heat from the fireplace but the light? That darned overhead light! It's so unpleasant and I only turn it on when I need to perform surgery in the family room.



I am a lamp fanatic though. I can't pass up a good deal on a lamp whether it's at the thrift store, Goodwill or Target. So I have a rather large selection of mismatched lamps hanging out in my basement. I've finally put them to good use.



If you have a hot plug (one that's connected to a light switch), you've got a perfect set-up for easy lamplight. Just connect a couple of your lamps to that plug so you can just throw the switch when you come into the room.



One more tip? Dimmer switches! Put them in wherever you can. They make a huge difference. Seriously. I've added them to the eyeball lights over my fireplace and all the lights in the kitchen.

Yes, I said "I". It's really not difficult. If I can do it, anyone can. Just TURN OFF THE ELECTRICITY first. And if you shock yourself into next week or burn down your house, you didn't hear this from me.

I know what you're thinking. "Kimba, why did you write a post about improving the ambiance in your family room without showing us a picture of the new and improved room?" I'll tell you why. My house is a red-hot mess! A mess that can only be solved with the zoom lens.

Oh fine. You want a little peek? Here you go.



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49 comments {Click here to leave a comment}:

AnNicole @ OurSuburbanCottage said...

Wow - you did get a jumpstart. That's awesome. I worked my tail off sprucing up my kitchen this morning so I can post it tomorrow.

We have one of those "lovely" fans in our family room too. I like your solution of lamps though. And I'm super impressed that you installed dimmers yourself. Way.to.go!

I can't wait to see your "building a soft place to land" post tomorrow.

Have a good one!

Runner Mom said...

I love lamps as well! I turn them on throughout the hosue for a lovely welcoming glow. And what does hubby do? Follows behind me and flips off the switch!! "If no one is in the room, why do you need the lamp on?" quote! Men! Bless their hearts!

Hugs,
Susan

Leila said...

Kimba, I so agree with you about lamp light.

How can a room be cozy with that glaring light up above?

A couple of lamps (who cares if they are mismatched?) are a great investment!

Tricia Anne said...

That is a great idea! We took out track lighting that the previous owner had on Thomas Kinkade paintings (which I don't own) but I had my husband leave the wiring (he capped them off) so that I could put a light on a dimmer. Still have not done that part, but it is ready and waiting for when I can! :o)
Thanks for the sneak peak! Can't wait to see the whole thing.
Sincerely ~ Tricia Anne

Mom in High Heels said...

Kimba, you crack me up. My house is pretty much always a red hot mess. Zoom lenses are my friend!
You're so right about the dimmer switch. They also work great on those nasty overhead lights. If the overhead light is dimmed, it's not as horrible.

Susan said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one with a red hot mess (quite often). And half of our stuff is packed away...I'm hoping we're moving soon. So it's hard to get pictures of my goodies, too.

Gray Matters said...

I love lamps, too and I definitely could use some more!

Darlene said...

great motivation on the dimmer switches. they really do make a difference! I have a few spots that could use one... thanks for the reminder!

Darlene

Songbirdtiff said...

Great tips! The only time I ever use the overhead light is when I'm cleaning. I can see the dirt really well when it's on. Which is why it's usually off. :) The fan is always on in the summer.

Still Learning said...

I am so laughing. Your house is a mess..... how many times haven't I takn a picture I wanted to because the house was a mess.

Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick said...

I am a dimmer FANATIC!! I have posted about them before too because they make such a difference!! And I swear -- we've only had to change about five lightbulbs in five years because of them. Luuuuuv them. I'm going to do a post on how to install them soon too. :)

Erin said...

I love lamps too. Yours are beautiful!

Holly said...

I'm not sure why ceiling fans always get the boot on decorating shows. I get your point about the light...I despise, loathe and abominate overhead lighting. But the fan, particularly in the bedroom, really helps out, especially in the summer. It's a lot better looking than having a portable fan standing around!

Misti of Studio M Designs said...

Too Funny Kimba! I too have a lamp fetish and I want more. No dimmers around here yet, maybe I should check into some. I like blinding the children with as much light as possible until close to bedtime that is...
~Misti

Susie from Bienvenue said...

Girls can do anything and you just proved it! Dimmer switch?! You rock Miss Kimba~

HeathahLee said...

We have a dimmer switch for our dining room. Why they put one only in the dining room, I'll never know. But it doesn't matter anyway, because the switch doesn't work right now. We are privileged to have a hot switch (was that what you called it?), and I need to think about adding a lamp to that plug. I'd like that...we love lamplight as opposed to overhead lighting, too.

Love your "real life" picture, too! Next time use the wide angle! : )

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

I've been wanting to put my dining room on a dimmer switch forever - didn't know if I could do it though.

My husband loves fans, and I like them too, but I never turn on the light. Genius to put them on dimmer switches. Thanks

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

We always put dimmer switches in EVERY room. I really dislike being forced into a bright mood when I am trying to have a little ambience!!!

It sure does make a difference!

xo

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

Changing lighting is a great idea. Though it does remind me that there are LOTS of changes I want to make in each room. I don't know where to start!

Pretty Organizer said...

Tee Hee Hee.... still laughing over the family room! By great luck the living room was clean but you'll notice tomorrows post of the bathroom is a little on the Short Angle side... It's clean but it wasn't picked up.

We have awful fan lighting in the entire house... Arizona... A must or you'll die. Really. However, the lights and the fan are on different switches and all of our rooms have dimmer switches... aren't we the cool domestic divas or what.. girl, we think the same! Can't live without them! Hubby thinks full light in our bathroom to get ready in the morning is cruel an and unusual punishment.

So impressed that you wired them yourself... me no touch electricity ... BAD JooJoo as our house refers to it!
Pretty Organizer

bec4 said...

I am not an overhead light person--I got that from my mom. It drives my hubby crazy. Sorry dear, lamps are better!

jenjen said...

Great post Kimba! I also LOVE dimmer switches. I think I have them on every switch (lol) - almost!

Glad to hear your house gets messy too!

Jen

wife.mom.nurse said...

Firehubby just told me that his dream is to have dimmer switches on many of our lights. I will have to tell him that it is not so hard that we need an electrician.

Thanks for the tip!

The Howe Family said...

So happy to not be the only one with a mess. :)

southerninspiration said...

Girl you need to turn on the dimmer in that one red-hot messy room!! LOL....just kidding. Is that as messy as it gets????????
Good tips....we do have a dimmer in the dining room and my lamps in the living room are on the plug that I can just flip on! LOVE That!

Suzanne

pcb said...

One of the BEST uses for a dimmer switch is in a baby's room and yes, I've put one in myself, too.

Oh, and I don't believe in overhead lights, either. Just awful. I also have a lamp fetish. I have them everywhere and keep low wattage bulbs in a few and those stay on 24/7.

aswewalk said...

We have the exact same ceiling fan. In cozy months, we turn off the light kit and use only the light of the fire. But the rest of the year they boom out light! The previous owners put every switch in the house on a dimmer EXCEPT that one! Lol.

Hopefull said...

I know what you mean about that darn fan light - I call the "illegal light" at my house - NO ONE is allowed to turn in on without my permission and never when company is over. I love lamp light and if I had the governments budget I would add a few more recessed lights in the ceiling and some wall sconces

The Nester said...

love it!

fellow lamp fanatic too! we can relate to self confessed lamp tramp huh!?

Kimm at Reinvented said...

Gotta love that zoom! I've used it recently myself posting pictures of my new bedroom wall color! ;)
Thanks for the lighting tips, I may have to try the dimmers myself.

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

ok, confession, remember that post I did about spraypainting my kitchen fixture when i was hilighting my hair? Well, one of the globes broke, and I have had our chandelier with glaring light for months now. It's horrible, but I'm not replacing them because I just want to do a whole new fixture. Bedlam, I know. :)
I will remember this post until I replace it or at least put a dimmer switch on it. I even found one...unopened. :)

robinrane said...

I know they are decorating no-no's but I love my fans. I did put dimmers on them though and now that you mention it I never turn them on high!
Lamps!!! Oh I love them too! But what I've not thought of doing is just buying one when I fall in love with it. In reality I have 2 I want to replace right now and I'm sure I would have found something better had I been looking. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for lamps I love!!!

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

We have a fan in our master bedroom--cracked up when you said you only use that overhead light when you want to do surgery. That's the truth! It's so bright and harsh. We never use ours (but the fan itself comes in handy on those warm summer nights--can't wait to have to use it again!).

We put a dimmer switch on a couple of lights in the house. Even have one in the bathroom so at night it's like a nightlight when you flip it on. :-)

Jessica said...

I did not know about these dimmer switches. I'll have to get some since I've been collecting a lot of lamps. Thanks. Make sure to check out my blog...second 10 minute post, the first part was inspired by you and you're love of spray paint.

Teresa said...

I need to get busy and install some new dimmer switches- thanks for the idea-
Happy Day

june@craftyniche said...

I am going to have to install a dimmer switch. Your lamp looks great!

meg said...

Oh Kimba! You and your lamps. :) It's still great!

Jen r. said...

I agree with the lamp light! Everything looks so much better!

Rachel said...

I love your lamps, and I like your keeping it real picture. :)

Blue Castle said...

My husband refuses to stop turning on our overhead - ceiling fan light in the living room. I'm trying to get him "trained" to turn on the lamps instead, but it's slow going. :) It is amazing how much better lamps are than overhead lights.

Lazy Mom Leslie said...

I always love the "red hot mess" pictures. It reminds me that everyone lives in the real world right along with me and their house isn't perfect either!

Remodeling Guy said...

"If I can do it, anyone can. Just TURN OFF THE ELECTRICITY first. And if you shock yourself into next week or burn down your house, you didn't hear this from me."

This is the disclaimer I've been looking for! Can I borrow it?

Great post and great tips! - Tim

Jessica said...

I am just starting to get into lamps. We bought one at TJ MAxx a few weeks ago and I love it. I'm just not sure I love where it's currently living.

~CC Catherine said...

Kimba, Loved your post on Lamplight and dimmer switches., especially the electric do's and dont's., hysterically funny! You rock! ;) ~CC Catherine

koehmstedt said...

I prefer lamps to over head lights, too, it's just easier on the eyes. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Lamp light is so soft and flattering...I'm all for that!

You are an inspiration. I'm looking forward to hearing what other great ideas you come up with.

Have a great weekend.

Jen

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

Dimmer switches! They're really easy?? And fairly cheap, I hope? I'll take a peek at Lowe's tomorrow.

bj said...

I so love lamps and hate overhead lighting in the living room and bedrooms. We use ceiling fans out here in West Texas for comfort....
I love all your lamps.

Rona's Home Page said...

We have a large Gathering Room and my husband and I have been discussing whys to light it.