How to Update your Lighting on a Budget


It would be ideal if everyone could update their homes with high-end fixtures and LEDs, but what about options for those on a budget? Thanks to the popularity of Pinterest and resale stores, it’s easier than ever to find creative and inexpensive solutions for a plethora of design dilemmas, including changing your lighting. However, navigating through a sea of images and products without knowing what to look for can be stressful. These simple tips will help you touch up your household lighting without draining your bank account.

Evaluate Your Lighting Needs

Start by figuring out what fixtures need updating, and what rooms or places could use more lighting. This will help you use your resources more efficiently. Make sure that each room has the three layers of lighting design (task, ambient, and accent) where they are needed, and browse decorating sites for design ideas. We also have a wealth of resources right here on our site. How To Light Your Home like a Designer and The Dos and Don’ts of Choosing Light Fixtures are great reads for making sure you have your bases covered.

Replace Incandescents with CFLs

LEDs can cost a lot up front, but sticking with incandescents will be much more expensive in the long run. For a happy medium, go with compact fluorescent (CFL) lights. CFLs offer a price range and quality in-between that of incandescent and LED lights. Here’s a comparison of the average life hours, energy usage, and cost for warm white, 60W equal incandescent, CFL, and LED bulbs.

  60W Incandescent 60W Equal CFL 60W Equal LED
Life Hours 1,000—3,000 hours 6,000—20,000 hours 15,000—50,000 hours
Energy Usage 60W 13W 8W
Cost $1 $2-3 $7 and up


Use Christmas Lights in the Bedroom

Pretty room with lightsChristmas lights aren’t for every room or home outside of the holidays. However, many people welcome them in their bedrooms year-round. Christmas lights aren’t as expensive as other light fixtures and use only a fraction of the energy as regular household light sources. Taking up little space and emitting a comfortable, warm glow,  they are often enjoyed at night while people watch their  favorite TV shows or surf the web before bed.

Buy Fixtures at Local Resale Stores

vintageNew fixtures can be pretty pricey, but if “vintage” describes your style, you’re in luck. Shopping for secondhand fixtures at a local resale store can save you tons of money. If there aren’t many in your area, you could also try checking out Craigslist, area garage sales, or flea markets. Even if you don’t find the ideal fixture for your style, you could always break out some of those dormant DIY skills and make one of your own. Take a look at the fixtures section on our site for ideas on what kind of fixtures you need.

Get New Shades, not New Lamps

New lampshades can go a long way for improving the look and feel of old fixtures. If you’ve ever been to a garage sale or perused the electronics section on Craigslist, chances are you’ve seen an old forgotten table or standing lamp topped with a dusty shade. As long as the lamp is working and the base is generic enough to fit your home’s design, purchasing a new lampshade – or even personalizing an old one to your liking – is one of the cheaper and more unique alternatives to purchasing an entirely new lamp. You could even buy (or create) several new shades for old lamps to tie your room together around a central color or theme.

Install your own Fixtures

recessedlightinstallIf you feel comfortable working with wiring, try your hand at installing your own light fixtures. We’ve got a ton of helpful tutorials regarding how to safely install fixtures such as downlights, hanging lights, and antique pendant lights on the DIY section of this blog as well as on our YouTube channel.


On top of all of these ways to save on lighting costs, we also have a great blog on saving energy around the home to keep costs low down the road as well. Do you have anything else to add to this list? Let us know on FacebookTwitterGoogle PlusLinkedIn, or Pinterest!

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Jessica Banke

Jessica graduated with a Creative Writing degree from Texas A&M University in 2013. As a Copywriter for 1000Bulbs.com, she uses her writing skills to illuminate the world on lighting topics from A to Z. Check back often for more fun and practical articles!

  • Precision Electric

    I’m having fun reading this article… :) We all need a better living, yet we still need to save and have a discipline regarding this matter. I love that idea of having Christmas lights in the bedroom. I have to try it… :)