How To: Replace Ugly Rental Ceiling Shades

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A common apartment renter's dilemma may be right above your head: ugly ceiling light shades, seemingly passed out to every landlord across the land. Every rental I've moved into has been equipped with these square or circle glass travesties against decor. I set out to replace our ceiling shade with something more modern...

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Here's the old and tired hardware store buy-3-for-1 special we had in our bathroom. My girlfriend and I couldn't find a vintage ceiling shade we liked at the time (although we later found one for our living room with a beautiful midcentury starburst pattern), so we looked to eBay and found this dealer (note: no longer available) with a selection of moderately priced shades in our budget.

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The hardware includes this important extension and connection piece pictured above, which allows for the shade to screw into your existing overhead lighting fixture. It also allows the the woven plastic sheeting form to avoid any contact with the bulbs (the CFL's we use are low heat anyhow).

On a side note, while installing this, I dropped the CFL bulb I had pulled out to straighten. It dropped into the tub and somehow didn't shatter. N:Vision bulbs are apparently built with mercury contained in a diamond shell...I was relieved I did not have to face my first CFL mercury emergency cleanup.

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Seriously, this was a quick and easy change which made all the difference in our bathroom without having to fool around with the electrical. Here's a close up of the light lit up, and a wider angle view of the ceiling shade off. We liked the results so much, we're bidding on another one!

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(Images: Gregory Han)

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