Thrifty and Original Light Features

Whenever the time changes and it starts to get dark earlier in the evening, I start trying to add additional light to my home. I just love lights and the warmth they give off. They provide excellent ambiance during the holiday season and create a cozy and homey feeling.

This year, I have 2 light features I’m especially thrilled with. Both are created from secondhand items and they provide a unique look.

Light Fixture, Vintage, Birdcage, Bird Cage, Pendant Light, Crystal, Light Bulb

Vintage metal birdcage with pendant light and antique-style light bulb.

This is a vintage metal birdcage that I’ve hung a decorative pendant light in. I chose one with a crystal-like shade because I wanted the light to reflect in all different directions, like a chandelier. Originally I wanted to use a small chandelier but I couldn’t find one that would fit inside nicely. I think I still achieved the same effect though. Although they are kind of pricey, I splurged and purchased one of the antique-style light bulbs from Lowes. I really love the way it turned out and how warm the light is.


Light Fixture, Vintage, Birdcage, Bird Cage, Pendant Light, Crystal, Light Bulb

Vintage metal birdcage with pendant light and antique-style light bulb.

birdcage2The second light feature I recently made, was really simple. I found a wooden case of an old clock from the early 1900’s at the Goodwill. The clock pieces weren’t all there anymore, but the case itself and the woodwork was beautiful, so I had to get it!

DIY Old Clock Case Light Feature

Antique germanic clock case, turned upside to set on a mantel. Secondhand mason jar with bulb lights inside.

Look at the beautiful domed and beveled glass! They wanted $30 for this solid piece and I thought it was totally worth it. I added a secondhand mason jar that I got for .29 cents and put battery operated bulb lights inside (Big Lots). I love that you see the glowing jar centered through the antique domed glass. So pretty!

oldclocklight2Both of these projects were relatively simple but add so much character to my antique buffet and family room mantel. And best of all? They are the only ones of their kind. Mission accomplished!



Bookcase turned DIY Candleplace

Old Bookcase

This isn’t much to look at now, but see how we transform it into a beautiful candleplace!

I’ve always loved the look of an unused fireplace with candles in it. It seems so romantic to have several candles burning inside, giving off a warmth while also setting a mood. My husband and I used to live in a charming 1913 home with a front porch, real wood-burning fireplace and authentic old door knobs with keyholes. I loved all of the special features that made it a historic home.

When we moved to Colorado, it wasn’t practical for us to purchase another house like that. The house we live in now is one of those cookie cutter homes built by a building company that has about 5 models that rotate throughout the neighborhood. There’s nothing wrong with that. I mean we love our house and have done a lot to it to make it truly original, but I was mourning my old real fireplace among other things.

Knowing how expensive adding a fireplace can get and we just didn’t have the money for that. So instead I was trying to see if I could find a fireplace surround to use as a candleplace in our dining room.

Those things are pricey! The ones I found that I liked were a minimum of $300. That just wasn’t a possibility for us. So I started to scheme.

I love it when people repurpose furniture, and I was determined to make one out of something. I just didn’t know what.

I headed to the Salvation Army, and found this:

Old Bookcase


I know, pretty darn ugly. It was missing shelves so it was only $15. Since I didn’t need the shelves anyway, this was perfect for me. It was more narrow than a typical fireplace but other than that, the depth and height were perfect, so we went for it.

The first thing I did was paint it. I picked a dark grey, almost black color for the inside and painted the rest white:

Painted Bookcase

I didn’t really need to paint the entire outside since I knew we’d be adding molding on top but I did anyway.

Then I passed this creation off to my lovely hubby who ripped off the top since we intended on adding a larger board to serve as a mantel:


See? Totally didn’t need to paint the top.

Then came the fun part where we went to Lowes and picked out the molding we wanted to use. We ended up purchasing one board of fluted molding and large board of wall paneling. Then we bought a board that we could cut slightly bigger for the top and used a router around the edge to give it some detail.

Hubby cut the pieces to the right dimensions and nailed them on.

Hubby cut the pieces to the right dimensions and nailed them on.

Then came the really fun part. We moved it into our dining room and I got to decorate:

Candleplace Finished

I’ve since added to the decor, but this was our first glimpse of our charming new candleplace.

We actually also purchased some crown molding to use around the base of the top mantel piece but haven’t added it yet. I’ll post again when we’ve completed that final stage. I was just eager to get it out before the end of the holiday season.

Candleplace in Dining Room

This is how my dining room currently looks with the candleplace.

This project cost approximately $75. Much better than the $300 I would’ve had to pay otherwise. And I’m very happy with it. The nice thing is that it’s portable too, so if we every decide to put it somewhere else, it’s not too heavy to move.