My Sources for Affordable Lighting

High school is a big deal in this town. When you meet a Louisvillian for the first time, I promise you they will want to know where you went to school, and by “school” they mean high school.  They could give two shits where you went to college. You could’ve lived in the ‘ville for 20 years, but if you didn’t go to high school here, your new friend will secretly be disappointed and will never,ever want to be your best bud because you don’t share this one crucial life element.

I had my 20th high school reunion last weekend and just as expected, there was a great turnout and it was tons o’ fun — like, my cheekbones were sore at the end of the night from laughing-fun. Everyone I talked to felt the whole group had instantly bonded, as if we just picked right up where we left off.

reunion pic

Like looking back on your wedding day, the night was so overwhelming that it’s kind of fuzzy to me now.  However, I do remember being shocked to hear a couple of people say they read my blog and were genuinely disappointed I hadn’t written anything in a while.  I have been thinking about it a lot lately, and I have two of my former classmates to thank for giving me the extra boost I needed to get going again. So thank you, you know who you are, (At least I hope you do, because I don’t remember who you are. Sometimes my social anxiety leads to heavy alcohol consumption which contributes to the fuzziness mentioned above), and it’s lovely to know along with my parents and in-laws, you make up a combined total of seven readers.

So on to the long overdue post. I’ve been working for Jeff’s company more since Rosie started school, and one of my duties is to select finishes for a couple of flip houses the guys have been working on.  I’m going to be honest, I’ve picked out lights for my own house, and here and there for family and friends, but I’ve never had to choose lighting for an entire house remodel.  I know, this whole time you thought I was real designer didn’t you?

weber blog post

Well, it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be.  You have closet lights and under cabinet lighting…do I put a chandelier here, or is a pendant more appropriate for the space? Should the light match the finish of the cabinet pulls and/or the plumbing fixtures? Who’s going to buy this house –should I lean more towards traditional like the style of the home, or will our target market find contemporary finishes more appealing?

And then there’s the science of it all.  How much light do you need in a walk-in closet? We went over it in school; footcandles, lumens, different types of bulbs, task lighting and ambient, etc., but of course I didn’t pay attention because it was so,so boring and one of those things I never thought I’d have to use in real life.  Isn’t that what a lighting designer is for?  Well, now that I’m a grownup and have figured out lighting designers are expensive, I’m researching and through a little trial and error, trying to figure it out.  I’ll do another post on this aspect of lighting when I feel confident enough to know what I’m talking about, but until then, we’ll just start with where I bought all of the lights.

Local Lighting Stores – We have a few here in town that I like to hit up first.  They’re generally a little more expensive than the others on the list, but well worth the extra money for the customer service.  You will find actual lighting designers there, and they can come out to your house for an extra fee and help you select the right fixtures for your space.

Big Box Stores – Home Depot and Lowe’s have an okay selection.  I prefer Home Depot for ceiling fans and exterior lighting, and Lowe’s for pretty pendants and vanity lights.  They both have a larger selection on their websites.

World Market – Not a huge selection, but they have some reasonably priced, on-trend chandeliers and pendants.  They also have their “market explorer” program.  It’s free to sign up and you get some really great rewards and coupons.  Check out this beauty I used in the foyer of one of the houses:

lighting sources penn foyer

Metal Orb Chandelier

Shades of Light – an online store with a huge selection of high-end lighting in all different styles.  They have beautiful stuff, but tend to be pricey.  You can sign up for their emails and get coupons, or if you’re in the biz they have pretty decent trade discount.

shades of light options

Joss and Main – It’s one of those flash sale sites and they have some amazing deals on lighting and home furnishings.  I’ve gotten a couple of lights for 50-75% less than on one of the previously mentioned sites.  So far, everything’s worked out, but know that you’re taking a risk because there are no cash refunds, only site credit.

lighting sources joss and main

West Elm – They have a small collection of modern sconces, pendants and chandeliers.  I just found out I get a designer discount here, as well as on their sister sites, which include Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma.  That my friend, spells trouble.  So far, I’ve maintained control though and got a sweet deal on these globe pendant lights.

IKEA – If you’re lucky enough to have a store close to you, it’s definitely worth checking out for inexpensive, transitional to ultra-modern style lighting.  Our closest store is 2 hours away near Cincinnati, but I had to go up there anyway for cabinets in this last house.  I’ve purchased some decent looking track lighting there, and the chandeliers and pendants are nice.

Ballard Designs Outlet – The regular store is as Larry David would say, “pretty, pretty, pretty expensive.” But they have an outlet store down the street from my Ikea, so I like to drop in there first and see if they have any lighting specials.  I picked up this outdoor lantern for $99!

ballard light

Lamps Plus & Lamps Plus Open Box – I was a little scared of this site because it’s one that sometimes has the headset lady pop up and ask how she can help you. Those freak me out for some reason — “I’m just looking, gaawwd leave me alone!”  I got an email showing this outdoor barn light for $24.99, so I took a chance, ordered it and it actually turned out to be great quality.  It arrived at my door in like 3 days too.  You can’t beat that.     barn light

Crate and Barrel, CB2, and Urban Outfitters are some others.  I’ve not purchased anything from them yet, but they have some attractive options.

And just to let you know, our electrician installed all these lights.  If you don’t know how to do it, please hire a professional.  I can’t afford to lose any readers.

This will be cross-posted on the Redsmith Construction site, although not in it’s entirety.  I’ve got to maintain some level of professionalism you guys.


6 thoughts on “My Sources for Affordable Lighting

  1. Kelly Moore

    Very nice post, I’ve got your blog set so every new post is feeding to my new email at my new job. So, I thought maybe I can increase your 7 readers with just a few emails out to my co-workers. Because who doesn’t want to read about great lighting designs…. 🙂 Seriously, you are an excellent designer, and one of these readers may want to pay you for your obvious talent!


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