Two Birch Logs and Colorful Light Bulb Cords Created a Striking DIY Light Fixture

published Apr 27, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Cord pendant lamps hung in living room.
Credit: Tina Krohn

Finding good lighting might not seem as exciting when designing a home as hanging vibrant artwork on your walls or choosing the best sofa. But sometimes, a light fixture can make or break a room. Take Nate Klass’s dining room in his eclectic Washington, D.C. townhouse, for example. 

“The room is very glam, with the wallpaper, wood tones, and brass elements,” Nate said at the time of the tour. Initially, he and local designer Kerith Eckart chose a Restoration Hardware metal piece with eight globe lights with a “steampunk vibe to it,” Nate writes. However, the original fixture was too cold for the jazzy room.

“I was looking for something that brought more warmth to the room — its colors and design lean glam, and I thought something with warmth would be good,” Nate explains. “I was also interested in a fixture that was more linear to run the length of the dining table. As the room is long and narrow, I thought a linear fixture would be better suited to the room.”

Credit: Tina Krohn

Coincidentally, Nate had also been gathering inspiration from others with wood-beam light fixtures and bulbs hanging off it. He saw a lot of options with dark wood and heavy beams, but thought those characteristics wouldn’t mesh well with the room. Nate kept searching for a light fixture with a softer shade, like birch, but kept coming up short. So, he decided to make his own. 

Originally, Nate wanted to find birch branches somewhere locally but couldn’t find long-enough options. So he ordered two 7-foot branches from Etsy, some colorful cords for the bulbs, brass wire, and leather to wrap around the birch logs.

Credit: Tina Krohn

“Being a maximalist, I wanted the pendant cords to add a punch of color too. When I hung the branches from the ceiling, I used brass wire and wrapped it around a strip of leather that I wrapped around the branch,” Nate shares. “It added another layer of texture and elevated the look of the fixture.” 

Credit: Tina Krohn

The custom light fixture cost around $650 and made a huge difference in the space. It ties in with the wallpaper’s whimsy, and the colorful cords’ drama complements the purple (and disco ball!) in the kitchen. “I love that I made it,” Nate says. I love that it looks like nothing else I’ve seen. It’s warm and colorful. I am thrilled when I see it every day.” 

If you love the playful nature of Nate’s DIY light fixture, you’ll want to see the rest of their maximalist, colorful townhouse. Visit the full home tour to see more.