Holiday Mini-Renovations: Lighting Can Set The Mood

For Part Three of our mini-renovation series, we’re brightening things up with – you guessed it – lighting! For Part 1, we focused on sprucing up kitchens, baths, grout, and cabinets. Part 2 included some simple tips on reinvigorating a tired room with paint.

Now that we’ve turned our clocks back in Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR, it is getting dark earlier and earlier. Throughout the Pacific Northwest, we’re missing the sun, so you can be sure that paying attention to your lighting this holiday will keep your Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations festive and bright. Remember, the right lighting can do wonders for your home, making rooms look bigger and the décor seem fresh and inviting.

Interior Lighting

Before the relatives arrive, be sure to check the lighting in your home. Move systematically through the house inspecting the lighting in each room. Change out any light bulbs that are burned out with new, energy efficient ones. Clean off lamp shades, ceiling fans, and chandeliers to ensure maximum brightness.

As you work through each room, note places that seem dark or incorrectly lit. Then you can decide how to remedy the issue. You can relocate your current light fixtures or purchase new lamps to fill the spaces. Table top lamps work great for task lighting and augmenting ceiling can lights. Floor lamps add brightness to larger areas where there is no access to a table. Replace bulbs in nightlights or consider purchasing new nightlights to make your home more comfortable for overnight guests. A nightlight in the bathroom can help eliminate slips and trips, and one in the guest room is ideal for visitors with small children.

Dramatic Lighting

Now that you’ve covered the basics, you can consider more dramatic lighting to give your home a festive look and achieve that mini-renovation you’re after. Adding LED lights to a room is an energy efficient way to add some sparkle. For example, you can tuck LED rope lights above your kitchen cabinets as an invisible accent. (You may also want to check out a story we did recently on LEDs: Converting Your Home to LED Lighting: Is It Really Worth It?)

LED candles

LED "candles," many of which flicker, are popular choices for dramatic lighting because they last a long time and are family- and pet-friendly.

Add votive candles to table top displays and bookshelves for even more decorative lighting. I like the new battery operated votives that turn on and off with the flip of a switch. With those, you get all the glitter of a real votive without any of the fire hazzard.

Also, a strategically place uplight can show off a simple houseplant or illuminate a dark corner with style.

Exterior Lighting

When you are reviewing your lighting situation for the holidays, don’t forget about the lights outside of your home. Most of us augment the lighting and decoration outside our homes for the holidays in December, but tend to neglect exterior lighting at Thanksgiving.

For starters, check that all the bulbs in your outside fixtures are working and are bright enough. Walk outside your front door at night to discover spots where you may encounter unsure footing. Add some lighting along the path that guests will take when returning to their cars at night. Simple solar garden lights can augment your exterior lighting and are easy to install. You could even create hand-crafted luminaries to line your walkway on Thanksgiving.


Take a little time this holiday season to give your home a mini-renovation. Both you and your guests will be thankful for it.

Post a Comment