Monday, October 22, 2012

To Replace or Not to Replace? That is the Question

In the life of every renter, there comes a time when she asks herself that all-important question, "Do I replace this or live with it?" That time for me, my dear readers, is now.
Since recently tackling "renovations" to our rental apartment (all of which surpass what a normal person would take on), I feel ambitious to do more. You see, my husband Adam and I do want to purchase a home in the near future, but we also want to settle in our "forever" home. We are thinking long term and want something sizable; that takes time, patience and a hefty down payment. 

Back to the matter at hand, our apartment: it has some pretty uninspired light fixtures. 
Nothing grossly offensive to good taste, just kind of 'blah' and weirdly situated in every room. 
Take a look at track lighting my guest bedroom, for example:
Can track lighting ever be good? I say we call a moratorium on track lighting.
The question is: do I replace it?  Do I move the replacement fixture to the center of the room where it belongs? What does that entail? What should the replacement light look like?

Elsewhere in our apartment, the overhead lighting isn't great but it's not terrible either. 
This light, for example, is almost comically small for the open stairwell.
But, how do I go about changing it? I'd need a 30-foot ladder or something!
If I did replace the lighting here, I'd go for something simple like this:
So, readers, I turn to you for advice: 
Do I replace these lights with an inexpensive-but-still-chic option or do leave this as-is?
How do I remove track lighting anyway? As you can see from this post, this idea is half-cooked but that's why I'm seeking your advice and experience!
Opinions are wanted and welcome!


  1. I don't do electrical work myself, so I can't speak to the DIY aspect, but if you don't have an electrical box centered in the ceiling already, it will be expensive for an electrician to install ($250+ for installing the box, plus the cost of the light fixture and installation of fixture). If there isn't a box in the ceiling, you could take down the track lighting and put up a swag pendant from CB2.

    If there is a light box already there, I'd say go for it, because there are plenty of tutorials on how to install a fixture, and thus you can take it down and take it with you when you buy a house. If not, I'd probably live with the interrogation lights.

    I'd ask the landlord for permission to install the ceiling box, if you decide to go ahead. In our last house I convinced the landlord to pay for the new ceiling fan and thermostat if I paid for the labor to install it, and he agreed.

  2. this is the light I was thinking of:

  3. I will tell you as someone who just spent over $3,000 on electrical work, unless it's literally as simple as taking down an existing light and putting up a better looking one in the exact same spot, I would definitely not spring for it in an apartment. It's SO ANNOYING how expensive a professional electrician is and it sounds like you'd have some dry wall repair too as you take down the track lights. I say save your pennies for all the pretty lighting ou want in your dream home!

  4. Thank you for your perspectives, ladies! I really appreciate it. Perhaps I am biting off more than I can chew with any replacement lighting. THANKS!

  5. yea electrical is tough unless you know someone who knows their stuff. I don't think you can DIY it.
    You could maybe create bigger shades, though

  6. How come I'm always the last one to arrive to the comment party? :)

    Sooo, there is only one ceiling fixture in my apartment that I kind of like. And that's only because I conned the handyman (who was already here at the landlord's expense) to replace the most gawd-awful fixture you've ever laid eyes on. I literally ran to Home Depot after he told me he would do it to find something fast. I agree that that is money better spent in other places -- as you so eloquently stated in your comment on my blog not long ago!

  7. Since you already have a fixture in approximately the right place over the stairs, it shouldn't be too expensive to have it replaced by an electrician.

    Why not just take the one in the bedroom down and put little plates or something over the holes, or even have the electrician tie off the wires correctly and plaster the holes. You don't really need an overhead light in the bedroom, especially if it's ugly.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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