For our new house, we skipped the builder’s lighting options and made our own lighting plan. Our builder has a lot of amazing design features and options, but their lighting packages didn’t wow us.
- First, they do lighting in “packages”. We weren’t able to mix and match lighting from different packages.
- Second, the “modern” options were not what we consider modern. They were more transitional.
We accepted the included light package knowing we would replace all the lights after we move in. Instead of upgrading light fixtures, we made sure we had junction boxes and switches in all the right places.
Wherever we wanted to add lights, we asked the builder to add a junction box and switch only, so we could add a light fixture later on our own. Here are the key areas where we added extra junction boxes:
- We added a second junction box in the dining room, so we could hang two pendants/chandeliers over a long table. I’m so glad we made this minor change because we found a beautiful 90″ dining table that needs two fixtures over it (see #2 below).
- We added two junction boxes for future pendant lights (see #5 below) over the kitchen island.
- We added two junction boxes for future wall sconces (see #7 below) in the kitchen desk area.
Midcentury Modern Lighting Plan
After we finished the design process with the builder, I got to work on our whole house lighting plan. I built a mid-century modern lighting package.
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Style-wise we want the lighting in our home to create a wow factor. We want lighting that’s colorful, mid-century style, and fun.
Upgrading light fixtures have always been our favorite way to upgrade a room. In our previous homes, every time we replaced a light, we always said, “why didn’t we do this sooner?” For this house, we’re making lighting a priority the second we move in.
Colorful Modern Pendants and Sconces
Before we even knew we were building this house, we fell head over heels for the colorful lighting options by Dutton Brown (see # 6, 7, 9, 13).
As it turns out, the Air BnB we rented for our Minnesota vacation this summer was only a few blocks from the Dutton Brown showroom. We popped in unannounced one morning and Thomas (Brown) gave us a full tour. We left knowing we wanted to order most of our lighting from them.
Dutton Brown allows you to customize each fixture with your choice of color and metal finish. You can even upgrade to custom color, which is what we did for all the kitchen fixtures.
Our Dutton Brown order arrived while I was putting this post together, so I filmed the unboxing.
Kitchen Island Pendant Lights
For the kitchen, we ordered two 10″ Color Cap Pendants to go over the kitchen island. We loved the West Elm globe pendants we hung in our last house, except the clear globes were hard to keep clean. So, we opted for the white (opal) globes for our new kitchen. Since we don’t need decorative light bulbs, we can use our Phillips Hue lightbulbs inside the globes.
We ordered a custom powder coat color for the pendant lights and the two sconces in the kitchen. We wanted them to closely match the turquoise color we chose for the front door. We found a really close match that also closely matches my beloved Aqua Kitchenaid Convection Oven.
Kitchen Desk Sconces
We also ordered two Boom Sconces in the same custom color. The sconces will go in the kitchen desk area. We deleted the backsplash in the desk area so we could bring in color on the sconces.
Colorful Bathroom Vanity Lights
For the master bathroom, we chose two 18″ Scepter Sconces in Slate/Polished Nickel. I love the minimal, slightly industrial look. They’ll hang above to large round walnut mirrors.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a sputnik chandelier. I’ve just never had the right spot for one in any of our previous homes.
In our new house, we have a 19′ tall foyer begging for a starburst of lightbulbs.
Midcentury Foyer Chandelier
I had no idea how hard it would be to find a sputnik chandelier for a sloped ceiling that didn’t cost more than all of our other lights put together.
Then, I found this 18-light midcentury chandelier at Lowes. It comes with all the LED bulbs, works on sloped ceilings, and it’s under $200!
Dining Room Double Pendant Lights
After you pass through the foyer, you enter the dining room on the way to the kitchen and living room. I love the look of two pendant lights over a long dining room table, instead of a long chandelier. So, I had the builder add a second junction box on the ceiling with both lights on the same switch.
Two houses ago, my husband bought a gorgeous midcentury-inspired light for our stairwell. We’re still kicking ourselves 10 years later for leaving that light behind. So, now we’re getting a pair of them for the dining room.
The Wave Pendant Lamps were inspired by Poul Christiansen’s design from the 1960s. They echo the globe shape of the pendants we’re putting in the kitchen.
Mixing High and Low Lighting
To keep our budget in check, we’re using a mix of high and low priced lighting. We splurged where it matters most and saved where we could.
Most of our budget went to the seven fixtures from Dutton Brown.
(Pro tip: Pendant lights are always cheaper than chandeliers. Even though I needed two pendant lights for the dining room, it was still a fraction of the price I would’ve spent on an appropriately sized chandelier.)
Powder Room Vanity Light
For the powder room, I found this fun starburst sconce. It’s made by Amazon. They have a brand called Rivet that is all affordable mid-century modern. At $99, this sconce is less than half the price of all the other lights I considered for the powder room.
For the pantry, I found this metal pendant light for a steal (under $50). I know a pendant in a pantry sounds strange, but our pantry is quite large and has a 10′ ceiling. It can handle a pendant light.
Kid-Friendly Bedside Reading Lights
For the kids’ bedrooms, I want them to each have a reading light mounted by their bed. Although I love the Boom Sconces, I couldn’t justify the expense for two more. Instead, I found these cute kid-friendly plug-in sconces. They’ve still got a retro vibe, and the turquoise cord is the best.
Office Pendant Light
The office light was one of the most challenging to source. First, the office ceiling is sloped up to 15′ on the high side. Second, I didn’t want a light that would compete with the sputnik in the foyer. Third, it’s my husband’s office, so I wanted something masculine but not too edgy.
Thankfully, Crate and Barrel just came out with this gorgeous new line of metal pendants in a variety of colors. This large navy dome pendant jumped out at me immediately. Because it hangs from a cord, not a rod, it’s perfect for a sloped ceiling. Not only that, but it’s big and it’s only $179.
The navy dome, nickel socket, and black cord coordinate perfectly with the wallpaper we’re hanging in the office. Yes, wallpaper. More on that soon.
Closet Flush Mount Light
I’m in love with this entire line of lighting by Ellen DeGeneres…except that brass is the only metallic finish available on many of the fixtures. We’re doing polished nickel and brushed nickel everywhere.
I figured in our closet, on a flush mount close to the ceiling, I won’t even notice the brass on this light fixture. The fixture itself is too good to pass up. The price is justifiable to replace the fluorescent light the builder includes as standard in the owner’s closet.
Modern Minimal Ceiling Fans
I’m pro ceiling fan. I know many designers aren’t, but for me function rules. Plus, there are lots of great looking ceiling fans now.
The builder’s lighting package includes two ceiling fans, one in the living room and one in the owner’s bedroom. The other bedrooms and office are blocked and switched for ceiling fans.
We plan to move the two fans that come with the house to the kids’ bedrooms and get new fans for the living room and owner’s bedroom.
For our bedroom, I’m obsessed with this polished nickel ceiling fan. I love the contrast with the wood blades (reversible from cherry to walnut). This fan has an optional light kit, but I think it looks terrible. Thankfully, we don’t want an overhead light in our bedroom.
For the covered patio, I found this matte white outdoor ceiling fan that has a similar, minimal look. It will blend right into the white ceiling.
I’m still on the hunt for the right fan for the living room. I want to find a polished nickel one that looks good with a light kit. So far, I’ve only found good ones in the $550+ range. I’m going to keep looking or hold out for a really good sale.
The Budget Breakdown
Great lighting was a priority for us, so we budgeted to make it happen.
We are purchasing 17 light fixtures and 2 ceiling fans for our new home (shown above). The grand total is about $3031. That comes out to an average of ~$160 per fixture, which is really good.
The Lighting Plan Map
To give you a better idea of where each light is going in the house, here is a map:
Now we just have to wait to close on the house before we can hang up our new lights.