Category Archives: lighting

kitchen pendant lighting - via the sweetest digs

choosing pendant lights for a kitchen

29th April 2015

Guys, I owe you the scoop on our kitchen lighting (lots of you have been asking – sorry!). In terms of the lighting in our house, we had to come up with a plan with our electrician in the early reno stages. Of course we were putting potlights throughout, but I’m really not one for going potlight crazy. Have you noticed that a lot of new homes these days have a zillion potlights everywhere and no other types of lighting? What happened to some good old pendants or sconces? I am a big fan of layered lighting in a room, and find that light fixtures can add so much to the overall design of a space, so I really wanted to think through our plan carefully room-by-room. Here is how we created our kitchen lighting plan, including choosing pendant lights.

We decided on a three light source scheme for our kitchen: some potlights (6 in total), under cabinet lighting, and pendants over our peninsula and sink. The potlights provide the main light source, the under-cabinet lighting really helps brighten the countertop, and the pendants? Sure they provide light, but they are largely there to bring the pretty.

kitchen pendant lighting - via the sweetest digs

I have scoured lighting sources like crazy during this reno. From big box store options to more upmarket retailers and online companies, there are tons of places you can find exactly what you’re looking for. I knew that over the peninsula was going to be *THE* spot to highlight some beautiful pendants, so I was keen to get something special. Have you been on They have just about everything you could possibly want (lighting + beyond). I can’t even tell you how many hours I have spent browsing their lighting options.

I was pretty torn between a few different pendants for the peninsula, but I ultimately landed on these ‘Congress 1-light mini pendants‘. I thought they were simple and lovely. They wouldn’t feel heavy or block any sight lines, but would add some beauty to the space. I went with the antique nickel, which I thought would tie in with the chrome sink and faucet. I almost went with a gold/brass fixture, but then thought that having the silver would help balance the whole mixed metals thing (I was shaking in my boots a little before the pendants came, not sure if it was all going to work, but luckily I think it did!). The brand is Hinkley, who have SO many other gorgeous light fixtures. Oh and the vintage-style bulbs come with the lights!

kitchen pendant lighting - via the sweetest digsOver the sink I went with a simple pendant from IKEA – the Ranarp. I didn’t want another glass shade that would compete with the Hinkley ones, so this white guy was perfect. A good example of a high-low mix.

kitchen pendant lighting - via the sweetest digs

The layering of the light in this space is just right. When they are all on, it is such a nice and bright space, but if we don’t need it to be overkill, it doesn’t have to be. And I can happily say that pretty much everybody who has come over to the house comments on the pendants. It is nice to have a few little jewels, you know?

Please ignore the unfinished range hood in the photo below…

kitchen pendant lighting - via the sweetest digs

For my Canadian readers – ships to Canada, but don’t forget about the taxes and duties you might encounter from shipping cross-border. If you live near the US border, it can be worth shipping there and then driving over to pick them up (I do this frequently with the Ogdensburg UPS Store).

pendant lights, kitchen, kitchen lighting design,

Have you guys had to update the lights in your pad? Have any great lighting sources or tips? We had to get so many light fixtures so quickly when our reno was going on, that I was a bit light-crazy there for a while. Maybe I’ll do a roundup of my go-to sources at some point! 

Disclosure: I partnered with on this post, but of course all opinions are all my own! Thanks for supporting the brands who support this blog.


light it up: new wall-mounted lights

13th January 2014

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for a while, you might have noticed that in addition to the new mirror in our bedroom from last week’s post, there was also a switch up with our lighting situation. For quite a while, we have had two task lamps on either side of our bed. I still love those lamps, but the bases were really quite big and when the baby made her arrival, we realized we really needed the space on our nightstands much more than we used to. Bottles, blankets, books, creams, etc. were all taking up mad real estate. No room for a nicely styled book + plant + light combo anymore.


So we decided to move out the lamps for now (we plan to re-use them elsewhere down the road), and landed on these Hektar wall-mount lights from IKEA for $20 a pop.

Dan did the installation. One of our little tricks for reducing the mess when you’re drilling is to fold a piece of tape in half lengthwise. Then stick half onto the wall and have the other half as a little “shelf” for the dust from the drilling. It’s not going to pick up all the dust, but it does cut the mess down a whole lot.


They aren’t the most amazing lights ever or anything, but I’m pretty happy with them. They cast a nice bright light for reading, and the look is simple and unassuming. I would have preferred hard-wired sconces where the cord doesn’t show, but getting finicky with our electrical right now just wasn’t in the cards.


The black finish is nice and matte, and plays well with the grey walls and black picture frames we have going on in the room.DSC_1202


It’s really nice to have all that space back on the nightstand. The baby clutter has reduced somewhat lately as Maya has given up the night feeds (yessss!!), but it gives plenty of room for lotions and potions, etc.

What do you guys do for lighting in your bedroom? I am digging the sconces for sure. In our future bedroom (post addition/reno), I definitely want to hard wire some in. I have also seen some people do these stellar hanging lights beside the bed that have an industrial and cool vibe. Thoughts? 

side entrance makeover: the lighting issue

21st January 2013

So before the holidays, I shared with you guys the first couple of steps of our side entry makeover: the uuuugly before, painting the space aqua and yellow, and adding some artwork.

Still on the to-do list for this phase 1 makeover? Addressing the lighting. It had a bad case of dated lighting syndrome. Not only was this was one of those small brass glass-covered chandeliers, but the glass was actually etched with some sort of floral design. Barfity barf. Let’s take a look back at where we started.

Since we were trying to keep the budget to the bare bones for this project, I had to get creative with the lighting. Imagine my delight when I uncovered this oversized pendant at the thrift store. My sister, nieces, and Mum looked at me with a bit of a puzzled look when I was totally squealing, but I knew this guy had potential. Plus, at $4.99 I couldn’t beat the price.


Although I’m kinda digging brass and gold tones these days, this brass was scratched pretty badly and beyond repair (it was worse in person than how it looks in the photos). Spray paint for the win! It took several thin and even coats, but I turned this bad boy into a matte black beauty.


Hubby got up on a precarious ladder (leaned up against the door – giving me a heart attack), to remove the old fixture.


I was in charge of shining the flashlight (and taking photos – ha ha). What would I do without my handsome man?



Bye bye dated lighting, hello sweet pendant. It sort of has a schoolhouse vibe, don’t you think?



I like the way the black sets off the space and doesn’t try to compete too much with the other stuff going on. It would have been totally fun to spray the pendant a bright yellow or electric blue, but it would have been just too much with the aqua wall and yellow door.


And although we moved from the four chandelier bulbs to the one in this pendant, it still provides tons of light.




So phase 1 of this little makeover is officially complete. We’d still love to tackle the stairs (new paint + runner), paint the handrail, spray the door hardware and other little tweaks. Another phase for another day. I think we’re putting a cork in this one for now!

 What about you guys? Had any great lighting finds lately? Other fab snags from the thrift store? Or get up to something fun over the weekend? Do tell.

less is more, and a light fail

5th October 2012

The two flush-mount, ultra boring light fixtures that we had in our front entryway and hallway had been on the “to replace” list since we moved in 3 years ago. So it was kinda funny that both got upgraded within a matter of days of one another (the front entryway got this thrift store upgrade recently). Sometimes things just come in pairs, huh?

Here was the under $10 light fixture that had been in our hallway since the early days. It did the trick, but wasn’t much to look at.

Since it was perfectly functional and not high on the priorities list, we needed something budget friendly. Enter: free yard sale find.

After a day of yard sale’ing in my parents neighbourhood, I came across this yarn light fixture in a bin labelled “free”. It didn’t look like much, and I think my parents thought I was a little nuts to drag it around and out to lunch with us, but I had a good feeling about this guy.

When I got it home, I took the scissors to it and started cutting away at the yarn. My apologies to whoever crafted this guy a few decades ago – it was probably actually super fun in it’s heyday, but the yarn had gotten old and danky and it was time for a trim.

After a few minutes of cutting and yanking, and having tons of old dust fly up in my face, I was left with this. I knew this guy had a good shape underneath all that yarn. I love the skeleton of the shade and thought it would look great as a single bulb pendant.

So I got out the matte black spray paint, and gave the whole thing a couple coats. I made sure to get all the wiring too, so that it would look seamless up to the ceiling. We had to buy the canopy for the fixture (that black round piece at the top) at Home Depot, which ran us about $5. Here’s how things were looking after the install.

Loving the light fixture, but seriously needing to deal with the ceiling issues. Not only is there a big ring left around where the old fixture used to be, but there is some major patching needed around our smoke detector. I knew I was going to have to do some patching and painting, but the second “wop, wop” moment of this makeover was that the light wouldn’t actually turn on. Whoops. Maybe that’s why it was in the free bin?

…And now we are left with a dark hallway (at least that way you don’t see the patchy parts of the ceiling?!). So part 2 of this project is to hop on back to the hardware store and get a replacement part for the fixture (we’re thinking it’s the piece that the bulb screws into that is kaput). Hopefully we can solve this one sooner rather than later, and it doesn’t end up being a total #DIYfail. I’ll keep you posted!

**Update: We fixed the electrical issue. You can check out the light in all of it’s lit glory here!**

In the meantime, have a great weekend folks! Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends out there. I’m so looking forward to getting out and enjoying the fresh air and beautiful colours that this time of year brings. What are you guys up to? Any big turkey dinner plans or outings with the fam?

a new light fixture (finally)

19th September 2012

So guys, remember how I lamented about our unfortunate light fixture in our front hallway? The same front hallway that has the quirky chevron ceiling and minty mirror? I felt like that ugly flushmount fixture was overshadowing all of the fun in this little space, so I had been on a hunt for a new one for months.

And it finally happened a week or so ago. This lantern-come-schoolhouse style pendant was just sitting on it’s lonesome at my local Value Village. I saw it from afar and bee-lined my way over… It took about 0.3 seconds to get it into my cart. I totally loved the shape, the size was perfect for our space (we couldn’t have something too big or that hung too low, since the door opens into that hallway), and the $3.99 price tag was killer.

I wasn’t crazy about the bronze finish and there were some marks on it, so I did a couple light coats of matte black spray paint to bring it back to life. Hubby did the installation, and the old lamp is ready to be donated. Bye bye, boob light.

The only issue, as you can see in the pics, is that because I painted the chevron with the old light in place, we now have a white ring around the new guy. It’s not the end of the world, but it looks a bit off. I can’t say that I’m hugely motivated to fix it (there are so many other projects to start!), but I’ll put it on the to-do list and see when I get there.

Isn’t it so much better? Simple, clean lined, and plays off the ceiling perfectly. I would even say that it’s tied with my DIY capiz-shell chandelier for sexiest (yes, a light can be sexy… right?), most budget-friendly pendant. I’m officially in love.

Any new light fixtures in your life recently? DIY’d any or found some sweet deals? Or maybe you’re a crazy person like me, and run in the middle of the thrift store to an item you can’t pass up. C’mon.. I can’t be the only one. 

new treasures

13th September 2012

Remember when I went and checked out IKEA’s new collection a few weeks ago (see that here)? Well, as you can tell from the photos of our updated living room yesterday, I came home with a few new goodies.

When you look back at our living room from a few months ago there are a few major things to notice. One is that white standing lamp beside the couch. It was something that I had carried from place to place since my University days and it finally bit the dust. The poor guy broke and we lived with it in a seriously crooked state for a couple months. The other big change was the pine hutch. We adore that pine hutch (it’s a family piece), but it was always too big for the living room. There isn’t an ideal spot for it in our wee house, but we have moved it over to the dining room which works a whole lot better.

First up from IKEA was their great new shelving unit – the Vittsjo. It was only $50 and really pretty easy to put together.

I love the glass shelves as they don’t take up too much visual space in the room. I would have probably preferred to just have a small sleek side table in that space, but we were in such desperate need for book storage, so I think this is the perfect solution. I’m totally loving this unit – it would even look super fab jazzed up with a coat of spray paint. Gold or a deep Navy? Yes, please.

I’m sure I’ll keep playing around with the accessorizing, but having somewhere to put a few dozen books is totally amazing.

Next up was a replacement for our crooked lamp. I wanted something slim and as non-overpowering as possible. We liked the Hektar floor lamp, but ultimately the Tertial won out for a ultra reasonable price point – $18.99.

It’s simple and sleek, with a nice brushed silver finish. The only thing I don’t love is the hanging cord, but it’s not a huge deal.

And then the Lappljung Fagel was a no-brainer. A pillow (one of my favourite things) in two of my favourite colours (turquoise and lime) for just $12.99? It was game over.

And the fact that this cute little bird is on the reverse side was just like icing on the pillow cake.

So those were my latest IKEA finds! I’m still drooling over some of their other new pieces (like that black and white rug I mentioned in my shopping post)… I feel like I need a second home to decorate. Or at least a few more rooms. A gal can dream.

What about you guys? Found any goodies lately at IKEA, or anywhere else? Got any sweet reversible pillows or sexy standing lamps? 

DIY crush

27th July 2012

I have wanted to do something about the lighting in our pad for a while. I DIY’ed a capiz shell chandelier for the office, but there are still quite a few lights that are uuuuugly (case in point – the boob light on our chevron hallway ceiling). So I have been looking around at different DIY lights out there and totally crushing on a few that are super creative and fun. Here are a few of my faves.

Mandi from Vintage Revivals is a DIY lighting genius. She’s got three seriously stellar ones here.

One made with square dowel, which you can get from pretty much any hardware store (instructions here):

One made with a repurposed glass vase (instructions here):

And one with a lantern from Home Goods that she converted (instructions here):

Pretty gorge, right?

Another one that caught my eye was this DIY beaded chandelier from My Simple Obsession. So pretty.


This fabric pendant from Real Housewives of Buck County is fab. It would be a great way to add some pattern and colour to any room.

And this one from The Painted Hive is a re-vamped sconce, but the same idea could be used for a pendant lamp.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve feeling super inspired. Especially with something like lighting which can be ultra expensive, it’s nice to see some DIY versions that look so high end. I need to find a bit of time to actually get started on some of these projects, but I’m not sure how much longer I can take of my boob light.

How about you guys? Done any DIY lights or have any other lighting tips? Uncover any good lighting finds recently? I wanna hear about it! 

project bathroom: the last piece of the puzzle

30th April 2012

We’re coming up to the finish line, folks. Painting the ceiling and switching out the light were more or less the last things on our “to do” list for this bathroom renovation. There are still a few small maintenance things – like adding the floor transition, sealing the tile, etc, but those don’t really affect the big “after”.

After painting all of the walls white, I was left wanting a pop of colour somewhere in the room, and you know how I love a painted ceiling, right? (check out this one in my hallway). I didn’t want to introduce a completely new colour into the small space, so I ended up going with the exact same greeny-gray shade as our DIY vanity (called Sterling by Benjamin Moore). You can see that I taped out the wall and painted a few strokes to get an idea of what it would look like.

And here is how she looked after two coats. The colour actually came out looking a bit more dark and moody than it does on the vanity (you’ll notice that the walls look more buttery-cream than white here, which is just thanks to the lack of natural light when I was snapping these pics!).

I’m really happy with it. It seems to bring the eye up and make the room feel taller and more spacious (a major bonus is such a small space!).

In terms of light fixtures, since we don’t have sconces on either side or above the mirror in the bathroom (and didn’t want to bother running new electrical to put them in), we needed to make sure we got a light fixture that would allow a lot of light to beam around the whole room. I fell in love with a few industrial looking fixtures, but they had shades that cast all of the light straight down. Bummer. So when I saw this guy, from the Debbie Travis collection at Canadian Tire for $50, I was sold. It was budget-friendly, a chrome finish (which ties in with the rest of the chrome fixtures), and had a clear glass shade that would cast light all around.

It’s not my favourite light fixture of all time, but it’s pretty and totally works with the space.

I also really like the crackled glass effect, which adds a bit of extra interest.

So that’s it! I’ll be back tomorrow with the whole roundup of after photos and budget breakdown. Hooray!

Hope you all had a good weekend. Get up to anything fun? I spent most of the weekend getting caught up with friends and doing my fair share of thrifting. Found a couple of good finds, which I’ll share later this week. I can’t wait for all of the spring community yard sales to start popping up – I love the treasure hunting! 

the DIY files: faux capiz chandelier

15th September 2011

Now that the wedding is over, I’m full on into home projects again. Ahhh, it’s been a while (we just moved back into our Canadian pad after living in England for a year) and I couldn’t be happier. One of the first projects I tackled was one I had been itching to try for months. Have you seen those gorgeous capiz chandeliers, like this one at the home depot or this one from worldmarket? Well, I’ve always loved them and when I saw a few DIY versions floating around in the blog world and knew how badly we needed a new light fixture for our office (and have a near-zero budget), I was sold.

Last week I came across a hanging flower basket from the Home Depot for $2.50, so I snatched it up and gave it a quick spray with a glossy white spraypaint (Krylon brand). It took about three coats and was a bit tricky to spraypaint since I didn’t have a space to do it hanging up — this means you need to move it around between coats so you get all the nooks and crannies.


Then I pulled out the wax paper we had in our kitchen drawers. I cut out a bunch of sheets and then ironed them together together, two by two. They stick together really quickly, so each set of sheets takes only about 30 seconds. I must’ve done about 25 or 30 sheets in the end — using up the rest of my roll. When you iron the two sheets together, they stick to one another and become a lot sturdier and have little flecks in them like real capiz shells do.

Once they have cooled, you need to cut out the circles. You could use a circle punch and it would definitely speed things up, but I didn’t have one and was happily sitting infront of the TV at the time, so I did it the old fashioned way. I used a circular object to trace out the shapes, then just cut the circles out. I saved some time by cutting the sheets into strips and then holding five or six strips together while I cut out the circles. This meant I could do multiple circles at a time.

Once the circles were done, it was time to pull out the glue gun. I cut basic string into the lengths I needed and then simply put a dab of glue on each circle (usually towards the top) and held the string down into the glue. Then I just continued along the rest of the string (most were 6 circles per string). You’ll want to measure out how long the string should be — I did a few test sizes and then decided on what I liked best.

Warning: You need to do a lot of these strings. So make yourself comfortable, have a big space to lay out the strings as they dry, and have your fave TV show on in the background (my guilty pleasure? any of the ‘Real Housewives’ series… hellooo trashy TV). It took me three nights of ironing + cutting + glueing to finish ‘er off.

Then you just go ahead and tie the strings onto your basket. I made sure that they were put fairly close to each other so that there wouldn’t be big gaps and triple-knotted each string just to be on the safe side. My basket had three levels, so I tied strings around each one. Then just cut off the excess string once you’re finished.

And here is the final product. Those three nights of crafting were totally worth it. I love how it looks!

And it didn’t break the bank either. Other than the $2.50 for the basket itself, all other supplies were already owned (wax paper, string, glue gun sticks, and white spray paint).

We haven’t actually hung it up yet because we’re doing a bit of a makeover to the office, where it’s going to end up. Stay tuned for those details!

Want to see some other DIY capiz chandeliers? Check out this one from design*sponge and this one from the freshly picked blog.


master bedroom mini-makeover: final update

7th August 2010

So over the last month or so I have posted about some of the small updates I was doing to our bedroom to give it a bit of a makeover, getting it closer to what I ultimately want it to look like. I started off by painting the room (twice!), which you can read about here. Then I added some super budget DIY artwork (see that post here). The next thing I did was install some blinds and curtains here. The last item on my “mini makeover” list was to change the seriously awful lighting. It was really harsh track lighting from I don’t know how long ago. Not soothing, not pretty, and certainly not romantic. I would have loved to dish out for a big beautiful pendant light or something else extravagant, but the budget was meager, so onto craigslist/kijiji I went. I wasn’t thinking of doing another chandelier, but when I saw this one on kijiji for $30, I just couldn’t resist.

I picked up my new light, brought it home and went straight for my can of spray paint. Before I could get too spray-happy, I had to remove all the little crystal bobbles and lightbulbs. It took quite a few coats of black Krylon spray paint to get everything covered, but it was so easy-peasy.

My trusty man (“handyman dan” I’ve been calling him), helped me take off the old light and hang the new one up.


I couldn’t be happier – the new light really makes a huge difference to the feel of the whole room.  The first night it was up we kept looking up at this fancy-shmancy chandelier and thinking we were in a luxurious hotel room!

And there you have it, the last of the mini-master bedroom makeover series which turned our bedroom from THIS:

.. into THIS:

Of course I still have other things on the list — a headboard, bigger and more colourful night-side table lamps, and a rug — but for now, I am sleeping soundly in this cozy room.