DIY Ways to Mask Awful Rental Lighting

published Jul 21, 2014
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We’ve all been there — you move into a brand new apartment, only to discover that the lighting is hideous and unlivable. And your landlord doesn’t want you to change it. AND it’s virtually cemented to the ceiling, just in case you thought you’d try to change it out anyway. These hideous fixtures come in a variety of styles — maybe yours is the ubiquitous “boob” light, or a particularly fine example of a 1980’s chandelier in all its brassy glory. Regardless of type, there are non-permanent, landlord-friendly ways to disguise the unfortunate, unsightly light fixture marring your new home. Here are a few ways to handle a lighting eyesore.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
  1. A dated chandelier is transformed with the addition of a custom drum shade at Knuckle Salad. This is a perfect, modern solution for an old brass fixture.
  2. Freshly Picked created this beautiful faux capiz chandelier cover for an unsightly overhead light. It might be a little time consuming, but the stunning result is well worth the effort!
  3. Amy at Homecoming cleverly crafted a warm wood shade to disguise a harsh recessed bathroom light. The shade screws directly into the ceiling, lending the look of a more substantial fixture without trading out the recessed light.
  4. Design*Sponge swaps out the cover on the aptly named “Rental-Apartment-Standard-Light-Fixture-of-DOOMfor a homey handmade ribbon and embroidery hoop shade.
  5. I was blown away by how the simple change of frosted globe light bulbs for the oh so popular exposed filament bulbs radically updates the look of an old Hollywood bar style light. From A Home Full of Color.

If you’re looking for general help on replacing instead of disguising your lighting, here’s a tutorial on installing a new fixture and some advice on swapping out the shade on an existing fixture.