my new bedroom light is very empowering

I’m decorating my apartment, DIY-style! I’ll be sharing all my DIY projects in a series of Apartment Makeover posts. Click here to check them all out!

Friends, I have had some scary stuff happening on my bedroom ceiling. Namely, this possibly-lethal-definitely-ugly light fixture I inherited with my apartment. Lovely, right? (I mean, what is with the criss-crossed black electrical tape? Was that someone’s idea of–dare I say it?–a crafty feature? It was also really nice the way the light bulb protruded obscenely from the bottom of the shade, leaning against the metal frame. Ugh. And I cringe to even tell you what I discovered when I opened up the wiring–that wasn’t even a real fixture, it was a hacked-off extension cord hooked up to a bootleg socket! What!) Well, after eight months of this eyesore being the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing I saw at night, I finally got around to replacing it. So now my day begins and ends with this beauty:

Ahhhh. So much better. This is the Norm03 shade from The Conran Shop. I had been eyeing it, oh for about eight months, and I’m so glad I finally made it mine. I think it looks like a Christian Siriano dress and a ruffled cake at the same time. It has an interesting story, too–the shade was created in 2003 by an architecture student, Britt Kornum, for a class assignment, and then went on to win a couple of awards before a Danish design company decided to produce it and sell it in stores. And it’s no wonder this piece got noticed, because its design and construction is freaking awesome. Check it out:

So, it comes flat-packed in this small box.

The box is filled with a small assortment of neatly arranged plastic shapes.

The most interesting of which is this roll of plastic strip. I’m not going to lie, I had a brief you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me moment when I pulled this roll out of the box, but I quickly realized everything was designed to be very easy and manageable. This big roll is perforated at regular intervals so the user simply tears it off at the perforation, which of course is the exact  amount of tape needed for each segment of the light.

Then, you just insert the tape into the slots of these curved plastic arms. The tape has very tiny marks at certain intervals which tell you exactly where to slot it in the arms, so that your ruffles come out perfect and evenly spaced. It’s fun to make the ruffles, and it’s extra fun if you have an extremely cute kitty supervising.

So you just keep tearing off sections of the tape and slotting it into the arms until all your arms are ruffled. Then, there are two discs which make up the top and bottom of the shade, and you just pop the ruffled arms into the discs, and you’re done!

The whole process probably only took an hour and it was delightfully crafty and satisfying.

And then, speaking of satisfying, I took down the old fixture and installed a fresh new one by myself! (Goodbye, scary black electrical tape and bootleg hacked-off extension cord! You will not be missed! I took great delight in throwing you in the trash.)

I don’t know what it is, but doing electrical jobs makes me feel so powerful. It’s also quite terrifying, even though logically I know I won’t get shocked as long as the power is turned off, it still freaks me out. But then I get super-duper proud of myself when it’s done, and I’m still alive and I have something nice in my apartment so show for it. Actually, if I’m being honest, I do know why this makes me feel powerful–and that’s because something like installing a new light fixture is a job I’d normally leave to a man to do. Whoever–my dad, a boyfriend, a hired handyman. But guess what, it’s really quite easy and there’s no reason not to tackle such a thing on my own. I did it myself! Best feeling ever.

So ladies (and gents?), I’m here to tell you, do not fear the electrical projects! Just turn off the power, read the instructions that come with your fixture, google some stuff, call my dad with any questions–do whatever you have to do to figure it out. Because it’s really not hard, and pretty new light fixtures are so worth it.


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  • Susanne

    That lamp is so pretty and feminine and would look great in my bedroom since I just recently bought a white comforter…..however, living in Az, it would be covered in dust in no time. Beautiful……enjoy it.

  • Fay

    Great job, Brett! I agree, it does feel empowering to do that youself. A few years ago I replaced a ceiling fan/light fixture in my living room.

  • SteveA

    Do you think it’s too feminine….I was thinking about replacing my ceiing fan in the living room with this one, but as Susanne mentioned it “pretty and feminine”.

    • Brett

      SteveA – I think this light would read less feminine in a more neutral room. In the right setting, I think it’s more “designy” and sculptural than girly. I love it!

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