Making Lights to Replace Ugly Fluorescent

When we bought our house, the kitchen came equipped with an ugly fluorescent light, complete with cheap cover to disguise it. When we remodeled the kitchen, we made our own to replace it, and I've had a few questions on how we made it. We are not professional electricians by any means, so please don't rely solely on this tutorial. There's my disclaimer for the day.

This is what we started with.

Truth be told, this long box of lights stayed here until well after the renovation was done. I stared at them constantly, trying to figure out what to do. They flickered long after they were turned on, and then eventually decided to not turn on for the first 10 minutes after flipping the switch. I finally had enough.

I was at the ReStore one day and came across these.

Well, not these exactly. They had several that day, so I got 3 of the darker ones that you see in the middle. I think I spent $30 for all 3.

I took them all apart and gave the globes a good cleaning. I also took lots of pics of this step just incase I needed to put them back the exact way.

I purchased new ceiling attachments and primed those and the gold parts that attach to the globe. I first tried a hammered bronze. (The one I introduced in the Cabinet Handles blog-that actually looks like galvanized metal.)

This still needs another coat, but I wasn't thrilled with the color. I went with oil rubbed bronze instead.

I looked at different ways we could hang the new globes, and I purchased some baskets from the plant department at Lowe's...the kind that usually has the coconut husk.

I didn't really care for the look, so I decided to build something about the same size as the old light fixture, so we wouldn't have to do too much ceiling repair. I figured out that 3 1x6's were roughly the same width, so I went with that.

To attach them together and leave room for the wires, I used some 1x2 strips of wood.

Then I trimmed everything out, sanded and primed.

You can see where I messed up a cut. Nothing a little wood filler can't fix. These are 1x2's for trim, and you want them sticking out on the underside to hide all the wiring and sit flush to the ceiling.

I painted it gray, let it dry, then went over it with a cream. I lightly sanded with my orbital so some of the gray would show through.

Mark measured where they would all sit in their new frame then drilled 3 holes for wires to go through.

He spliced them all together to attach to the one set of wires hanging from the ceiling.

Next, he took down the old light.

Time to hang the new! You can see where we put the ceiling attachment and flipped the part that will attach to the globe right under it. This is because we only have 8ft ceilings and any chain coming down would make them too low.

This whole time he was checking for studs to hold this monster up. I told him it was fine that we screw through the frame. I might go back with wood filler later.

He then attached the globes and screwed the light bulbs in.

And let there be (non-fluorescent) light!

Here's the instant replay:

I'm pretty proud of how they turned out. (And yes, I finally got doors to fit the sink cabinet!)

I hope you enjoyed today's post. As always, any questions, just holler! Y'all come back soon!



  1. I love it, how clever and creative is this. Looks amazing. You did a fabulous job. Thanks so much for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

    1. Thank you so much, Marty! And thank you for taking the time to say so. I know you have a lot of submissions every week.

  2. Love this idea! Looks great

  3. Very cool! I don't know how you came up with the idea, and then the design and the implementation of it all. Incredible. The thought of doing all that work -- well, I would not have been able to do it myself and I have no helpful mate, would have had to hire someone to do it and it would have cost more than I could afford, and probably wouldn't look half as good. So there you have it. WOW! My questions are probably silly but i'm going to ask anyway. What are you using for lightbulbs? Do they give you enough light? If you're using incandescents, will you be able to use substitutes in the fixtures once the incandescents go out of production? Or have you laid in a 100 year's woth of supply? I'm terrified, actually, of using the mini-fluorescents in my old table lamps, and won't even think about halogen, because I fear the wiring won't be able to take the incredible heat the new bulbs generate and will start a fire inside the walls and goodbye house (and maybe me, too). How did you know it was okay to wire all three fixtures to one set of wires and that your 1975 house wiring would be able to carry the load with no problem?

    1. Wow, Jan! Thank you for the sweet compliments! We are pretty pleased with ourselves on the kitchen, especially since neither of us had done any kind of renovations before. A lot of DIY Network. No joke. I watched it all day when my husband was at work, reported what I had learned, and we started sledgehammering the day we closed on the house. There was some trial and error, but nothing google couldn't solve. :)

      As far as the light bulbs go, they are just regular 60 watt bulbs you pick up at Lowes. We just got the big round ones. They are a nice brightness with the 3 of them together, and we also have under cabinet lighting that helps. I have the energy saver bulbs in everything else in my house, but found they looked funny under such big globes.

      The wiring: There are 3 wires for this and they split into 2 on the ends for hot and cold wires. We just spliced them and twisted hot to hot and cold to cold. When you get much more than 3 twisted together, they get a little thick and won't twist to the wire from the ceiling. Radio Shack (and I think Lowes/Home Depot) sells a long box looking thing that can hold several wires and you can attach anything to it and have it go to house wires, no matter how many. It has holes on each side for each type of wire and then you attach that to the ceiling, and it runs the power along the box. That's best if your are doing a mason jar type light that has 6 different wires coming from it.

      To answer your question about burning down the house, if there is too much power going to something, it will usually flip the breaker. Or it could be that you are burning through light bulbs unusually fast, or they flicker. That's usually when you know you have a problem. Otherwise, as long as you have capped the ends with a wire cap and use electrical tape around the tops of the connections, you should be fine.

      But I know how you feel. Electricity scares me, too. You notice Mark was the one on the ladder, right? haha
      With your lamps, they sell lamp rewiring kits that are really simple to use, if you are worried. But if they have been taken good care of, I don't usually worry about any lamp wiring that was done after the mid 50's.

      Thanks again!

  4. We love what you have done. Please come share it with us at http://obsessiveandcreative.blogspot.com Craft Frenzy Friday! The party starts Thursday to 7pm cst. I won't be a party without you!

  5. This is brilliant! It's amazing how a light fixture can really change the look of a room! I love it!

  6. Stopping by from The Shabby Nest. I love what you have done. Your kitchen makeover looks great!

    1. Thanks so much, Leslie! I'm gonna head over and see you!

  7. LOVE! We have the exact same problem. I've wanted to change it, but was at a total loss. Thanks for the fantastic idea!

    If you're interested, I would love if you shared this idea at the Gingerly Made Show & Tell party going on right now. http://www.gingerlymade.com/2013/09/show-tell-44.html

    1. Thanks for linking up to Gingerly Made's Show & Tell party. YOU have been featured! http://www.gingerlymade.com/2013/09/show-tell-features_24.html

  8. Your kitchen looks amazing! I love this!

  9. These fixtures are gorgeous! I have been searching for the perfect fixture for my kitchen since we remodeled in Feb 2012! I think I have found it!! Thank you for sharing. :)

    1. Thank you so much, Robin! If you do make one like mine, please share it with me through my email link. I would love to see it! :)

  10. Nice idea. I have a fluorescent fixture such as this in my condo kitchen. It is a high-rise building and the ceiling is hard popcorn over the concrete slab. The tough part is try not to make any additional holes to drill into the concrete. I have been thinking I can make a box and wire up two pendants side-by-side, but I hadn't seen any examples of it.


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