Changing the Lights in Our Family Room (and Freaking Out Our Goldendoodle in the Process)

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, the lighting in our house is terrible. We have great window lighting, but the overhead lighting comes down to: track lighting or ceiling fans. We’re in desperate need of recessed lighting, but until then, the first project was swapping out a pair of ancient flush mounts in our family room.

If we learned anything from our last house — it’s that a new light can completely transform a room. These lights aren’t on that level, but they’re a big improvement on what was there previously.

We swapped out the lighting at night, so the pictures in this post are pretty terrible.


These are the lights we swapped out:

Here’s what the room looked like when the lights were on (SO DARK):


We bought the new lights from Wayfair. Most people who’ve moved recently know you’re bombarded with coupons from USPS. One was a decent one from Wayfair, so we used it on the lights and it saved a good amount of money.

After Brian’s handyman skills were put to work, here’s what the lighting looks like now:

The lights aren’t that exciting, but they’re really a much better fit for the room and the feeling of the space. Plus, they’re so much brighter and appropriate for the dim room.

The best part of the story

Now, this post is pretty boring, but it gets a bit better.  When we woke up the morning after installing the new lights, Ellie, our goldendoodle seemed pretty upset. While we were eating breakfast she kept barking — at the new light in the hallway. Who knows why, but she was very upset at the new fixture. She didn’t bark for long but she kept stalking and keeping an eye on the fixture for about an hour. Who knows why, but it was hilarious. Much better she freak out a light fixture than a machete man, right?

I should’ve taken a video, but here’s a photo of her stalking the light early in the morning.

How many pets out there really get freaked out by home decor?!




The Power of Gray(skull) Compels You: Our Family Room Goes Gray

As promised, we painted our family room and dining space gray too. Just like our living room. The results are a bit more dramatic in person, but you might not be able to tell in the photos 1) because the overhead lighting in our house is pretty awful right now and 2) I really need something better than an iPhone to take photos.

Anyway, here are the before.  More beige! (Yuck.) You’ll notice how the previous owners painted the support beam dark brown. Why they’d call attention to a feature like that, I’ll never know.

Before Gray

After Gray

Now, time for the gray.

We painted the spaces the same gray as our living room: Behr’s White Metal Marquee.

I know what you’re thinking, brown carpet and that paint?! Yes, it’s not the best match, but we really hated those beige walls. That carpet won’t be here forever either. (Neither will our blasé furniture, but that’s a post for another day in the future.)

Before we painted, we once again used Zinsser Bin Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer like we did in our bathroom (I sound like a commercial now). I wanted to make sure we covered the ugly dark brown beam in one coat. Plus the beam was never properly sanded so the primer would help cover some of the wood grain. (Yes, I guess we’re lazy too since we didn’t want to sand it either.)

And here’s the after, which don’t do the room or the paint justice because the lighting is SO poor. (I also blame winter and it getting dark so early. Is it almost June yet?)

I am just SO happy the support beam is so much less noticeable on first glance now!


I once had a dream that all the art in my house would be art that I created. That’s not so much a dream anymore. However our dining area is full of pictures that I took while I was taking photography classes all throughout high school and college. You wouldn’t be able to tell that I once had any photography skills based on these terrible photos of our house though. I might need a refresher course. 🙂

Brian’s wall of nerd art is on full display here.

A few projects down. Up next, painting the kitchen.