Easy Fixes for Your 90s Home
Are you in a 90s-era home surrounded by endless oak and Tuscan-style fixtures? If so, it can be tough to know where to start to update it all. But before you take a sledgehammer to anything, look to your lighting. Changing the aesthetic of a room can be more simple than you might think.
Today, we’re giving you our top tips for high-impact lighting solutions. And trust us, you’ll want to put at the top of your remodel list. A few simple tweaks will have you well on your way to the house of your dreams.
Swap Out Your Globes
Can you salvage an oversized dining room chandelier with a quick swap out of globes? How about a flush mount fixture? It’s possible! As long as your fixture doesn’t have the quintessential ornate scrollwork that screams “I’m from 1995,” it can have a brand new life with a simple and inexpensive update. Just be sure to go towards more of a modern aesthetic to balance out any 90s-style remnants. Avoid scalloped, ornate, or tulip-style globes. Keep it streamlined and simple – rounded globes or straight styles are your best bets.
Swap Out Your Bulbs
For bulbs, LED is going to be the best bang for your buck. They’re so much more energy efficient and you don’t need to replace them as often. However, when making your selections, pay attention to the Kelvin in particular – that’s the measurement that’ll determine the warmth or coolness of the light (a lower Kelvin number means the light is warmer, a higher number means it’s more blue and cool). In general, you want brighter light in more high-activity areas, and softer light in the cozier areas of the home; bathrooms are best in the 2700-3000 Kelvin range (a bit cooler) while living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms are best in the 2000-3000 Kelvin range (gives off a soft white glow). The right illumination is sure to set the correct mood and put those too-yellow lights of earlier eras to rest.
Update Your 90s Lighting Metal Finishes
Another great option for updating your lighting is to go the DIY route and upgrade your metal finishes. 90s-era lighting typically used heavy doses of oil-rubbed bronze and shiny brass tones, and while that can still be gorgeous today, when it’s paired with a 90s-style silhouette, it’s a bit off and outdated. A few coats of, say, a fresh matte black paint, will add a contemporary edge to your light fixture’s style. A brushed brass finish is another great option to modernize the all-around look. Now, this does take a bit of work, and you definitely need to get the right paint and application down pat to pull it off, but it can work and totally revamp a light when done right.
Replace Your Fixtures
If new globes or an updated finish just isn’t going to do the trick, a straightforward replacement will no doubt solve the problem. And while you’ll likely need to hire an electrician to swap out your fixtures, it’s a fairly inexpensive task when compared to major rewiring since you won’t need to move any fixture locations. Wondering how to choose the best fixtures for your space? Our go-to piece of advice is to keep it simple and rely on your style goals during your search. When in doubt, swing to simple styles with clean lines and less detail, and always choose a fixture that fits the scale of the room.
Go Big and Re-route
Of course, you can’t solve all lighting issues with a quick DIY or standard replacement. Sometimes, 90s homes are riddled with strange lighting placements like recessed can lighting that doesn’t quite illuminate a space properly. In those cases, the best solution may be to go big and invest in a reroute job. Lighting is, after all, one of the most important elements in a space. So while this option is definitely a more costly decision, there’s no doubt that when the work is done, you’ll be glad you made it a priority.
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The bottom line is that when lighting is good, it’s really good, and that’s a total game changer. Sure, there are likely still major improvements to make to bring your 90s-era home totally up to date (laminate countertops, anyone??), but trust us when we say that lighting is essential. It might seem small compared to the larger revamps on your list, but it makes a world of difference and can, well, help you see the light.
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By Megan Johansson, Contributor to Carla Bast Design