James and I rent our house which definitely has its advantages and drawbacks. As much as we’d love to own somewhere it’s currently not really affordable for us but we were really lucky to find our house and be chosen out of 11 couples who viewed it and expressed an interest. Anyway, being in rented means you’ve got to weigh up whether or not embarking on a DIY project is worth it as technically you’re adding value to somebody else’s property. As you’ve probably gathered our home is one of the most important things to me so personally I will always be happy to make improvements with the view that our space will become a nicer place to be. That said, I’m not willing to part with a small fortune on something we may not be able to take with us if we moved, so it’s swings and roundabouts.
Back to the lights… I really love pendant lights and wanted to find a simple trio which could be fitted above our dining room table. I scoured all the usual online haunts but came away feeling uninspired and frustrated that I couldn’t afford any of the pre-made fittings.
I figured it couldn’t be too compicated to construct a fitting of our own and I knew you could buy the large retro-style bulbs online so started with them. I looked on eBay but Amazon actually came up cheaper in the end and I ordered three ‘squirrel cage’ bulbs which are about 12cm in diameter at their widest point.
I’d bought plenty of fabric covered flex online for refurbishing various lamps and have always found eBay to be the best value and choice. We settled on a blue and white braided flex which is about 10mm in diameter. I ordered five metres as I wanted them to drop quite low.
Finally there was the decision on bulb holders. From my research I figured you can find some lovely chrome or brass holders but they are quite expensive and I wasn’t actually sure if i wanted to go for such a polished look. In the end I found some brand new bakelite holders which were simple, understated and affordable. I also love the whimsical nature of bakelite so they felt like a natural choice.
Those three components were the main things we needed. To secure the trio we found and painted an old plank of wood and then drilled three holes for the flex to feed through. James sourced the electrical bits and pieces (something about a ‘chocolate block’…?!) and then fitted them. If you’d like more indepth instructions and maybe a wobbly hand-sketched diagram then please shout.
Here’s how they looked after construction…
We had an ‘on-off’ switch in the dining room which was fine but meant the bulbs were really bright and you couldn’t really appreciate the elaborate filaments, so we fitted a dimmer switch so we can turn them right down and make it all moody and atmospheric.
They’ve transformed the dining room from a space which had little natural light or clear focus to a more clear and styled space. I would always recommend investigating DIY options if you can’t find the right solution, it may work out cheaper and you’ll be left with something totally unique.
Please let me know if you have any questions or need some more information. I’d love to see if you’ve done something similar too, find me on Instagram @__apothecary__ or comment below!