Q & A–What Type Of Light Should I Use?

What happens when you live in California, but you’re building a house 3000 miles away? Well, the builder makes some less-than-desirable decisions. That’s what happened to Lori, who blogs at Bleak 2 Unique. Here’s what she had to say…

What type of lighting can I use in this awkward hall where there are 3 lights in a row, and 2 vents?.Can you believe someone would place 3 “boob” lights in a row. This is what happens when you build from 3000 miles away….Help!

I only have the one pic of the hallway, but for an idea about the rest of the layout you can use this link.


Kristi’s Two Cents

Ah, yes…the dreaded “boob” light. The go-to light for every builder in America. If you were to rely on builders, you might think that there were no other options for hallways, closets, bathrooms, etc., other than the boob light. Home Depot and Lowe’s don’t help much either, since they carry the standard cheap boob light, and then about fifty variations of the theme. (You can try to dress them up all you want, Lowe’s and Home Depot, but they’re still boob lights!)

But once you get online and start searching for “flush mount lights” or “semi-flush mount lights”, you see that there are thousands of options that look absolutely nothing like…well…boobs!

(Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever used that word on my blog, and now in one post, that count has gone from “0” to “5”! :-D)

The type of light you choose will depend on the style of your house and the style of your decorating, but here are a few good options I found:

If you want to achieve a country cottage style in your home, a schoolhouse light might be just right…


If you want a more transitional style, then this drum shade flush mount light might be what you need…

The great thing about that light is that it has a very contemporary shade, but you can easily re-cover the drum shade in a different fabric to achieve a more middle-of-the-road transitional look.

Now when you start looking at non-boob-shaped flush mount lighting, you start to understand why builders generally use those lights. One reason…they’re cheap. You’ll definitely pay quite a bit more for other types of lighting, so don’t overlook the possibility of making your own like I did for my own hallway…

Three lights like that in a row could make quite the style statement!

Edit: The idea of three of the same light fixtures might sound a little busy, but I assure you it can work beautifully. Here are some examples:

Via Comfortable Home Design


Via Apartment Therapy

So what advice to you have for Lori? Have you also dealt with the dreaded “boob” light? Did you find a more suitable option for your lighting? Give her your two cents!!

Do you have your own decorating dilemma?
Click here to submit your question and photos!



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  1. Gosh, I’m impressed that the builder gave her 3 lights in such a short amount of space. I would love much light in the longest hallway at my house. I can’t wait to see what everyone suggests!

  2. I love your light the most, but the drum shade isn’t bad. Have you thought of using some form of track lighting like this? It’s not ‘fancy’ but would light artwork and shed a lot of light;) http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=track+light&view=detail&id=3369A534827C786DA58769ECD8634BDA3E8931CF&first=211&FORM=IDFRIR
    Or RH flush mount selection for ideas;) way overpriced for my budget but you might find something similar for less… I like the square ones http://www.restorationhardware.com/search/results.jsp?_dyncharset=ISO-8859-1&ise=true&query=flush+mount&_D%3Aquery=+&hidden=&go.x=0&go.y=0&_D%3Ago=+&_DARGS=%2Fsitewide%2Fincludes%2Fheader%2Fsearch.jsp.header-searchform

  3. I love your flushmount options. so funny, I thought that my hubby had coined that term because I had never heard anyone else use it til about a year ago. Oh, well, I will let him think he is witty 😉

  4. I knew a gal who said they looked like bubbies (Jersey speak for boob)!!! Yes, they are is rather hideous – and who wants a third boob? I like the schoolhouse light – I have 2 amazing ones with clear glass shades – one is plain and the other is etched with a mod floral pattern. Something like that would look amazing!

  5. Do you have a source for the drum light? I looked on the same website as the schoolhouse light but could not find it there. Thanks!

  6. Great post 🙂 Love the light fixtures in that last photo. I just moved into a new house and loathed the “boob lights”… and yes, quickly realized how expensive alternatives are. I ended up replacing them with very similar lights, but without the “knob” in the middle- http://www.pegasuslighting.com/circular-ceiling-lights.html. Not as beautiful as some of your options, but better than they used to be at least.
    I am SO impressed you made your own for your hallway (would love to see a tutorial!)

  7. Not sure it would work in this case, but check out Dana’s new hallway lighting over at House*Tweaking (housetweaking.com / Feb 3). She had can lights set to wash the walls with light and it looks so inviting and warm. Maybe the track lighting suggested by another commenter could achieve this look.

  8. I think recessed lighting would look a look a lot less busy. I wish there was a way to hide the vents but maybe a chandelier in the middle would be a great distraction.

    I did find this website that has fancier looking vents. http://fancyvents.com/photo-collection/.

    Here’s a glitzier version of the drum shade option: http://www.lampsplus.com/products/antique-ivory-shade-and-crystal-semi-flush-ceiling-light__u0278.html

    I also like this one: http://www.lampsplus.com/products/murray-feiss-arabesque-14-and-three-quarter-inch-wide-ceiling-light-fixture__m7445.html

    Good luck!

  9. First of all, I think the suggestions that Kristi made are fantastic…its amazing what the change of a light fixture can do. So call me crazy but right now I am in love…and I mean in love, with all things chandelier. Depending on the ceiling height (its hard to tell by the pic) and your type of decor, but maybe consider some shabby chic mini chandeliers….Lowes carries a couple for around $99 each….I seriously want to change out a bunch of fixtures in my house with chandeliers but I cant get my Hubby on board…blah!

  10. I think I’m the only person in the world who likes the boob light. I wouldn’t put them all over my house but I don’t mind them in a small bathroom area or someplace similar. Are you cringing?

    1. LOL…not at all. 🙂 Everyone has their own taste. I’m sure there are plenty of people who can’t imagine why in the world I would paint my kitchen cabinets teal! 😀

  11. I normally wouldn’t put up decorative vents (because they are expensive and they usually don’t add much) but I love the way the vents and lights are so symmetrical so I actually think it isn’t a bad idea. If you left the vents as they are it wouldn’t hurt either because the symmetry keeps them from being disruptive. I don’t know if it is okay to just put them up in one area. Even with the boob lights (which I don’t hate) the symmetry is so pretty that hallway already looks great. With a little bit of effort this is going to be over the top pretty. Your builder is actually better than most! In my halls all I got was totally random ceiling cans which look like pock marks to me. I wish you would post an after picture. I know it is going to be beautiful.

  12. I am so grateful for all the suggestions! You all are the greatest. When we get home and I tackle this project I will be sure and post it. I am really getting anxious to get home and get started on the 1001 projects on my TO DO list. Thanks again, Lori