Skip to main content

6 Ways to Get the Best Lighting On a Budget

One of my favorite things about our new home is the unique assortment of lighting, including custom-made pieces and luxury designer fixtures. We even have an Arteriors light. 

If you added everything up at retail price, we'd easily be looking at thousands of dollars just in lights. But, of course, we would never pay the retail price. (And you shouldn't either!)

Everyone who knows me knows I love a bargain. Here are my tips for scoring the best deals on light fixtures for your home.

string lights over a yellow door
Money-saving tip #1:
Use Amazon Move, Wayfair, and Lowes coupons to save 10%, then save even more.

When you move into a new place, be sure to fill out a USPS change of address form online, not at the post office. As we have a new construction home, we were required to go to the post office either way and, while there, we were encouraged not to fill out a change of address request online because it would cost us a dollar.

(I've always thought this was dishonest of the post office, by the way. They say they have to charge a dollar to verify the address listed on your credit card, but couldn't they verify the address by charging a penny? Or refund the dollar afterward?) 

What wasn't mentioned at the post office is that online the online Change of Address form includes money-saving coupons. You'll receive some instantly and more through the mail later, which more than covers the $1 address verification fee.

The change of address coupons used to include Home Depot, which we prefer to Lowes, but they're no longer participating. It's not a problem though - Home Depot honors Lowes coupons.

The most valuable discount, at least for big Amazon shoppers like us, is the 10% Amazon Move coupon, which provides a discount on multiple Amazon purchases for several months. We purchased the string lights shown here, along with a million other things for our new home, using the Amazon promotion.

On top of the coupons, we went through eBates (now known as Rakuten - yuck, I hate the new name) whenever we made an online purchase and received an extra discount. They're currently offering a $10 sign up bonus in addition to rebates. 

The savings can really add up - I've received more than $600 back over the few years I've had an eBates account!

patio lights with a dog
Money-saving tip #2:
Invest a little extra so you won't have to replace it.

(Also, I think one of the reasons Biscuit enjoys our new patio so much is its camouflage factor. She's like a furry chameleon.)

Before we even broke ground, Sexy Nerd and I knew we wanted to string lights across our back patio. There are many cheap options for these and the reviews are about what you would expect - pay $25, enjoy the lights for the summer, and replace them next year. 

Although it cost a little more up front, we saved overall by going with commercial-grade outdoor string lights (and using our 10% Amazon Move coupon and eBates, of course). To further extend the longevity of our patio lights, we attached them to heavy-duty wire to minimize blowing in the wind. Even in the New Mexico sun (and snow and ice and wind so fierce it shakes the house), our lights are like-new.

yellow light fixtures
Money-saving tip #3:
Spray paint is cheap.

Can you tell I have a thing for yellow? I found yellow outdoor lights like these in a magazine and had to have them for our new home. Unfortunately, the lights were a bit (a lot) over my budget at $250 each. And I needed 9 of them! 

I found these outdoor farmhouse lights on Amazon and they were perfect, other than the oil-rubbed bronze finish. Two cans of spray paint later, my lights looked exactly like the more expensive ones I'd seen featured.

In case anyone is dreaming of yellow lights of their own, the spray paint we used was Rust-Oleum Sun Yellow, which went well with our Sherwin Williams Lemon Twist doors. 

Come on, you know you want a yellow front door. Everyone loves ours! Well, except for my Nana, but I think she would come around if she could see our doors in person.

crystal wall sconce
Money-saving tip #4:
People return expensive light fixtures.

For our custom home, we saved thousands of dollars by signing with a great builder who allowed us to supply our own fixtures. (The builder was John Lowe with Panorama Homes, just in case anyone reading this is looking for a builder near Albuquerque.) 

Every day, I scoured sites like Overstock, Amazon, and Wayfair for open-box items. The majority of light fixtures in our new home are ones that someone else had purchased and returned, which I scooped up for a substantial discount.

The crystal wall sconce above? I paid $100 for a returned pair - much better than the $225 each they were listed for new. It was a bit of a risk, as the reason for their return was listed as being scratched, but they were both perfectly fine. I've found that most open-box items turn out to be like-new and the few that aren't can usually be easily repaired or returned.

Want to hear something funny? The wall sconce above should be illuminated at the bottom, not just the top, but we were hit by the weirdest burglar ever while building our home - four lightbulbs and a few door hinge pins were stolen and nothing else. We haven't gotten around to replacing the bulbs yet.

task lighting in a kitchen
Like our kitchen accent lights? All three of these were returned, open-box items from Wayfair.

brushed gold quatrefoil light
This previously purchased quatrefoil wall sconce was only $20!

silver Baya light
Our dining room Baya chandelier looked like a mess of wire inside the box (admittedly, it looks a bit like that in this photo too - we call it our scribble), which is probably why it was returned to begin with. 

Illuminated in an otherwise dark room? It's stunning!

light pendants made from leaves
I've seen these paper lanterns (made with real leaves!) in boutiques in California for $125 each. I bought 6 of them as open-box items for just $25 each. The ones in my master bathroom are multicolored (with matching cabinets) and the ones in Sexy Nerd's master bathroom are solid green.

arteriors glass cluster light
We ordered a discounted sputnik-style light for our foyer (you know, the round ones with all the spikes sticking out) and this Arteriors one was delivered by mistake. I guess that was why it had been returned to begin with. 

Unknowingly, we brought the boxed, unassembled fixture to the electrician. We were extremely confused the first time we saw it installed!

After months of daily hunting for the best lighting deals, I've had the hardest time passing on bargains, even now that our lighting needs have been fully met. I never did get my sputnik-style light and I keep finding them for 90% off.

I promise the deals are out there, just waiting for you. Go get them.

DIY moravian star
Money-saving tip #5:
Build your own light fixtures.

If you're handy, you can save a lot by DIYing your lights. Sexy Nerd created 9 of the rustic Moravian star lights above. He struggled a little with the initial one, but once he had it figured out, the other 8 came together easily.

how to make a chandelier
Sexy Nerd also built the 3 oversized statement chandeliers in our kitchen and living room. Each has 18 bulbs and three rings of hammered copper. There's no way we could have afforded these if he hadn't welded them from scratch.

how to make a wall sconce
Not very handy? Anyone (well, anyone but me - I'm not even 1% handy) can make the three light fixtures that line the back wall of our theater room. The metal houses are from Pier 1. The wine bottles have each had their bottom removed using fire and a string (Google "how to cut a glass bottle with a string") and the bulb is just a light kit like you would use to build a lamp. 

You can score extra points by using a wine bottle with sentimental value, such as one you enjoyed during a special occasion. Just be sure to practice cutting a few test bottles first - even Sexy Nerd broke a few!

how to upcycle a light fixture
Money-saving tip #6:
Reuse Lights You Already Love

Do the hand-painted glass sconces in our new ceiling fan look familiar? They used to hang on the wall in our old master bathroom. Before we listed our previous home for sale, we swapped many of our nice fixtures with generic ones. It seemed unlikely anyone would walk away from buying our house based on something as trivial as a light fixture. 

Better to take them with us, especially as the new homeowners may have replaced the fixtures we loved after moving in.

lights with sentimental value
Sexy Nerd and I purchased this funky pendant on our first trip to Seattle together, about 11 years ago. It created lovely patterns on the walls and ceiling of our previous master bedroom. Now it does the same in our new home.

how to get the statement lighting you love on a budget
Enjoy my blog post? Please help share the love!

Popular posts from this blog

Cake Mix Pancakes

This reader-favorite recipe is *almost* as popular as my Cake Mix Cookie Bars recipe .  When making Cake Mix pancakes , the scrumptious possibilities are endless. Red Velvet cake mix pancakes. Chocolate cake mix pancakes. Butter Pecan cake mix pancakes. Funfetti cake mix pancakes. (Yes, Funfetti cake mix pancakes!) With this 2-ingredient recipe, you can turn your favorite cake mix into your favorite pancakes. Pancake making at its finest. Cake Mix Pancakes Personally, I think my funny napkin is the icing on the (pan)cake. It's Sunday morning and you're planning to do all the things today - scrub those grody baseboards, polish your quartz countertop that was supposed to be low maintenance but actually isn't at all, sort through the disaster that is the freezer.  While on your superhuman kick, you think I'm going to make my family pancakes for breakfast. Not just any pancakes - the best pancakes ever. I may even serve them as breakfast in bed! You pu

How to Move a Mattress

My site is popular for reviewing memory foam mattresses. With today's bed-in-a-box options lasting much longer than the traditional 7 years of a spring mattress, there's a good chance you'll eventually need to move one. But how? This is  how to move a mattress  without damaging it - even by yourself!  When we were faced with the challenge of moving our beloved Amerisleep AS3  to our new home, it seemed like my readers would enjoy the details. This handy tip should work for any memory foam bed, including Casper, Leesa, and Nectar.  I'm happy to report there is an extremely simple way to do it. Apartment and dorm dwellers rejoice! How to Move a Mattress At first, I wasn't sure how to move our king-size mattress down a flight of stairs. It's a problem we've dreaded solving ever since we made the decision to build a new house.  The answer? It was right in the back of our truck.  Ratchet straps . This solution could also serve as a 'How To' for returning

Chemical Peel Before & After

This article has been updated! My new chemical peel post, which includes pricing, Jessner peel before and after photos, product recommendations, and a helpful timeline for scheduling your treatments, is at the bottom. My original Jessner peel post (one of the most popular on my site of all time) is at the beginning. Original Chemical Peel Article Considering a chemical peel? I recently underwent my first Jessner peel and thought I'd share my results, post a Jessner peel review, and answer some frequently asked chemical peel questions. (I'm guessing that "Does a chemical peel hurt?" is a biggie!) I'd been planning to order an over-the-counter peel when we were in Iceland , but my computer led me a different direction. I decided to do this on a whim after Groupon greeted me one morning with a great $40 chemical peel deal. Now, I can read your mind. You just gasped in horror and thought  You trusted your face to a  discount  chemical peel?!  You're wondering w

Hello Fresh Complaints

Hello, my bloggy friends. I have a HelloFresh complaint and believe they are pulling a scam. Yours truly came *this close* to falling for it.  Maybe scam is too harsh of a word. Sneaky? You can decide for yourself. The fact that there are so many Hello Fresh complaints online does seem suspicious. My main complaint about Hello Fresh has to do with their promotional rate, which seems like it is set up to be intentionally misleading (more on this below). Despite so many people complaining about being charged more than they thought they'd agreed to, Hello Fresh maintains this as part of their business model and continues to mislead. So it's intentional, right? I do not recommend Hello Fresh. For starters, the service is just ingredients-by-mail with recipes, not meals. You can buy your own ingredients for much less, especially now that most grocery stores conveniently offer pickup and delivery. Excellent recipes are easy to find.  Click here for a list of top-rated, reader-favorit

Window Seat Idea - Dream Home Inspiration of the Day

See it? Waaay at the back of the photo?  I like how the window seat extends past the window all the way to the wall. How about you? If that's not your style, how about one of these lovely window seats? I'll seat you, my pretty, and your little dog too. How perfect would this be in a home office? I'd swap out that wimpy rug with a larger one.

3 Minute Toaster/Convection Oven Smores

These are perfect when you're craving a quick, sugary treat. They work equally well in a toaster oven and a convection oven. Best of all, compared to eating an entire bag of Oreos (something I have never  done), they're quite healthy. What's that, you say? You already know how to make s'mores in the toaster oven? Well then, sit back and enjoy the ooey-gooey marshmallowy photos. (And if you're someone who works with me, please keep the "I've seen her polish off an entire bag of Oreo cookies" nonsense to yourself.)  Step 1: Put desired amount of graham crackers on a toaster oven/convection oven-safe pan.   Looks like it's time to clean this pan, Sexy Nerd Optional 1st step, which is Sexy Nerd's favorite: Spread peanut butter on each graham cracker (I'm not much of a peanut butter fan - WHAT?!? - so I skip this step.) Cover with yummy marshmallows. Top with chocolate chips. Place in the toaster o

10 Canned Cinnamon Roll Hacks

You're in for a treat. Today I'm sharing my best canned cinnamon roll hacks and improvements for turning store-bought cinnamon rolls, like the Pillsbury Grands ones or even the store brand, into something special.  Dry cinnamon rolls? No thank you. They need to be OOEY and GOOEY. That's just Cinnamon Roll 101. All of these ideas keep Pillsbury canned cinnamon rolls soft, company-worthy, and delicious. These are also great for taking homemade cinnamon rolls up a notch, but what a pain that is. With these better-than-homemade canned cinnamon roll hacks, you'll never bother to bake them from scratch again. Test out some of these ideas tomorrow. Won't it be nice to dig into a mouthwatering cinnamon roll for breakfast? You can't get a better start to your day than that. Canned Cinnamon Roll Hacks Actually, make that 11 easy ways to improve store-bought cinnamon rolls: you can top them with homemade coffee whipped cream . Yum! Nope, make that 12 canned cinnam

Anonymous Flower Delivery

Anonymous Flower Delivery Sexy Nerd and I came home from a day of running errands on Saturday to discover an odd message on my phone. It was a girl from a flower shop calling to confirm my address for a delivery.  I called and said there must be a mistake, as I wasn't expecting any flowers, to which she pointed out that people don't usually expect flowers. Oh, of course.  As nice as it would be to have someone send me flowers, it seemed unlikely. Sure enough, she was unable to find any orders for me when I gave my name. She did have a Danielle though, and asked if there might be a different last name. I told her my maiden name. There really were flowers waiting for me!  She confirmed the delivery address - the rental house Sexy Nerd and I lived in 3 years ago. I updated my address and ended the call, anxiously waiting to see who would send me flowers. Who sent me flowers from FTD? My mysterious stalker has beautiful taste! Strange? I had no idea how str

Baby Taped to Wall (But Why?!)

I could totally see Sexy Nerd doing this if we had a baby. Honestly though, I would probably be cheering him on. Also, I've read online that some folks are outraged by this photo, thinking the baby is being abused. To me though, the baby looks well supported, as if it is in a bouncy chair, and none of the duct tape is touching bare skin. I honestly think this was just intended to be a funny photo. It's not like the parents taped their baby to the wall so they could go out drinking and partying in a cocaine-fueled hysteria. I doubt anyone on cocaine could even achieve this. This photo is from 2010, maybe earlier. Wouldn't it be great to interview this older child one day? It's time to get on that, People Magazine. The internet wants to know what happened to the duct tape baby! Baby Taped to Wall Poor ducky. Enjoy this post? Please be sure to check out my  Amerisleep Mattress Reviews  page as well, which is my most popular blog post of all time.

Dental Memes

As the manager of two successful dental offices, my favorite memes are ones I can share with my dentistry dream team.  Happy Team = Living the Dream! You don't have to work in dentistry to enjoy these. After all, everyone is a dental patient. You have visited the dentist within at least the year...right? (No guilt if you haven't! I've scheduled patients who haven't seen a dentist since the 1970s. Dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, and dental administrators have seen it all. We love this field because we love helping our patients. It's never too late to get back on track!) Funny Memes for Dentists Reminder: National Dentist's Appreciation Day is March 6th! Funny Memes for Dental Hygienists Reminder: National Dental Hygienist Appreciation Week is always the 2nd week of April! Funny Memes for Dental Assistants Reminder: National Dental Assistant Appreciation Week is always the 2nd week of March! Funny Memes for Dental Office Administrators Reminder: Ad