Kitchen Lighting Switcheroo

By Kate Riley September 24, 2012

We made a change in the kitchen last week, something I’ve been wanting to do for months now.  A couple of years ago, I found a free fixture at Habitat ReStore, brought it home, rewired it, and painted it white.  That free fixture hung in our kitchen for two years and it was really great (especially since it was free!) but I’ve been dreaming of something a little more snazzy.  I wanted to mix it up and bring in some lighting that was bigger, bolder, and modern. 

I’ve been fixated on statement pendants over kitchen islands lately, so I finally decided it was time to upgrade ours.  Say hello to the two new polished nickel lantern fixtures that now hang over our kitchen island!

polished nickel pendants centsational girl

Ba da bling!

We splurged on two polished nickel and linen shade lanterns, purchased from one of my sponsors, Shades of Light.  With a 10% discount, they were $288 each but my oh my what eye candy they are!  

They’re really gorgeous in person but do you notice the slight problem?

two new pendants in kitchen


At first, we couldn’t figure out why one was slightly lower than the other, we counted the links, they were the same. The ceiling wasn’t crooked, what could be wrong? So we stared at it for a few minutes, then Matt noticed the difference.

tighten up lantern

It took five whole seconds to fix the pendant late last night and I didn’t feel like reshooting new images.  Anyway, they’re perfectly even now.    

Here’s the old (free) fixture that was hanging in the kitchen before we started:

old fixture


We had only one round electrical box for a single chandelier and we did some research online on how to turn one into two.  I love a great DIY project, but I get squeamish with wiring walls since I’ve never done it before, so we hired an electrician who came highly recommended to do the switcheroo for us, and I’m so glad we did!  

First we decided the proper spacing for the new fixtures while holding them up above the island.  Then our electrician cut open new holes in the sheetrock with a hole saw to anchor new round boxes for the two pendants.

new hole with hole saw

round work box

(The electrician did the same thing with the wall in our hallway bathroom too, since we’re switching from one overhead fixture to two sconces on the wall in that space – more to come on that remodel soon.)

The center hole was patched with joint compound for sheetrock, then the next step is to sand it smooth, prime with water based primer for walls, and touch up the paint.  

joint compound


The polished nickel finish on these lanterns sparkles like jewelry, I’m pretty crazy about them.  They make quite the statement when you enter the room!

two nickel pendants centsational girl


I also pulled a switcheroo on the mantel shelf above the range.  I kept the collection of white ceramics, several of them thrift store finds, but added some new botanical prints.

mantel display

Green preserved oak leaves add a dose of fall color and two framed culinary prints from Eva Juliet replace the clock.

white mantel and prints

vase and prints on mantel


To see more scenes from our kitchen, take a peek at this post from earlier this year. Aaaaaand speaking of mantels, the Fall Mantel Link Party posts tomorrow at 8 a.m. PST.  I’ll snap some pics of our living room mantel today and share them tomorrow – join me in linking up yours too. 

See you then!




  1. Oooh la la, I love them! I’m really having a thing for lantern-style lights right now, and I think your two new pendants look fabulous. Also have to say that I love the style of those botanical prints too. Hopping over to check out the etsy shop now!

  2. Seriously beautiful and worth every single penny! I LOVE them! so feminine and classic! I also am thrilled that you have a Eva Juliet prints! She is a favorite of mine:)

  3. Oh my, these are definitely way gorgeous!!! It is perfect, it is both elegant and simple at the same time!! Great pick Kate!

  4. I love the lanterns!! They are gorgeous. I also love the botanical prints. My mom just gave me some hand-me-down kitchen tiles to hang from her mother’s kitchen – they are 70s brown with an artichoke and mushrooms on them :)

  5. Love the new fixtures. They are so modern, but also warm. Also a fan of the mantel with the all white accessories. Really makes the leaves pop!

  6. Wow – those are stunning! I love that you added a modern touch to your more traditional kitchen. The difference between the two styles makes the lights stand out in a fabulous way. Lovely, and definitely worth the splurge!

  7. I love the new lights, but wondered about the wiring job. I just bought a house and wanted to move change and move the light fixture over my breakfast table by about a foot. My dad said he could do it for me, but that if I moved it then I couldn’t just plaster over the old hole because it would be a violation of housing code. We have decided to instead cover the hole with a ceiling medallion so it would still be accessible if needed. How were you able to plaster over the old junction box without violating housing code?

    • Hi Jen, there is a process that is required by code, different counties and states are different but your dad is right, you have to follow your local codes. I was gone during the hour our electrician did the wiring running errands but as I recall from what he told me, he routed the existing wires to one new pendant, closed off the existing box in the center before it was patched, and then ran new wires to the new pendant.

  8. They do look beautiful and I love how you added two over your island instead of just one fixture. I love your mantle with all the white. Looks so clean and fresh with just a punch of green.

  9. Love your new lanterns! As my husband and I work our way through the fix up on our 1983 home, we have what I call “place holders” ex.: the vinyl wingback recliner that is the right shape and size for our bedroom, but is just being functional for us until we can find (and afford) the chair we really want. I spray painted the dang thing red, and it looks great but…. well you understand.

    Another ex.: the dining/kitchen table that we WANTED was a reclaimed lumber 10 ft. farmtable, but sticker shock sent me running to Craigslist. We ended up with a beautiful mid century “Surfboard” table (including THREE leaves!) for $100. A good loving up with furniture restoring and followup with wax, and that baby is just gleaming and gorgeous. It isn’t what we initially wanted, but we love it all the same. (and WHAT a deal!!)

    Some day when I grow up, I’ll be able to replace my Place Holders with my heart’s desire, just like you did with your lanterns. Congrats!

  10. What a difference those new lights make – gorgeous!! Totally worth the splurge. Some people just have a knack for decorating and you are defintely one of them!

  11. Holy cow. Seriously? They look amazing, Kate! Worth the splurge, worth the electrician. They totally change the room! I’ll bet you walk in there every morning and think- “ohhhh yeah!”

  12. Absolutely beautiful!! I’m wondering where you get preserved oak leaves from? They are so pretty!! I live one town over so if you found them locally I’d love to get some.

    • Hi April, the preserved leaves were at my local Safeway, I grabbed a bunch two weeks ago, I love how vivid they are!

  13. Lovely! The chandelier was so pretty, but I like the new pendants too. Very sleek and elegant.

    Timely post b/c we just installed a new fixture over our sink over the weekend. T removed the old one and discovered that whatever dummy that lived here before us simply cut a jagged hole in the ceiling and ran wire through it, then hung the fixture up by nailing it into the dry wall! How lucky are we that our home never caught on fire?! He had to cut some more drywall, put in a new round anchor box, just like yours. We have a lot of patching to do though…

  14. Love the lights – definitely splurge worthy! I also love how you added the green leaves for color to your all white mantel.. looks amazing.

  15. Thank you for the great idea! I have been looking to change the lighting in my kitchen but haven’t found anything I love. These I love!

  16. Nice !!! By the way I love your publications.
    You could do a DIY makeover project with your old fixture… !!!

  17. The new light fixtures look great, and I’m loving the look of your mantel too! Where did you find the mini Eiffel Tower?

  18. Seriously stunning. Shades of Light is my favourite lighting site. Lucky girl. I’d do a whole lot more cooking in my kitchen if I had those lights. Great choice!

  19. Those are beautiful & smart girl for hiring an electrician. We started a little DIY with a light and quickly realized we were in over our heads and had to call in folks who actually knew what they were doing. Live & learn!

  20. Your new fixtures look gorgeous Kate! I actually got the less expensive version with the X pattern from Shades of Light and love it so much. They really have a fabulous selection. I actually have another fixture that I ordered from them and it’s on backorder till November. Anyway, you kitchen looks beautiful – thanks for sharing. xo Jenna

  21. These are beautiful! I found these on the website…are these really 28″ tall? They don’t look that huge in your pictures but the website says they are 28″ x 14″.

  22. I love the look! The shades keep the light from shining right into your eyes. The matte finish on the shades and the finish coordinate beautifully.

  23. Those pendants just arrived in the mail today. Love them! But wondering if they’re too big for my space. Would you mind telling me how big your island is and how high your ceiling is? Thank you so much!!

    • Hi Jill – I love those pendants! I thought they felt a little big at first but now I’m totally in love with their larger size – our island is 4′ x 6′ and our ceilings are 9 feet.

  24. Hi Kate- I was wondering if you could help me out with a question I have on these lanterns. I absolutely love them and really want to use a lantern over my kitchen table. My table is 36″ wide and I know the general rule of thumb is to pick a fixture that is half the width, so technically, I would need a fixture that is 18″ wide. However, I think these lanterns appear pretty large, even though they are only 14″ wide and was wondering if you think one might work over a kitchen table? Thanks so much!

    • Yes Laura I do think it would work over a 36″ table, our island is 66″ wide and we squeezed two over the top – they’re rather tall too, so I do think one would work for a 30-36″ table.

  25. Sorry, I meant to give you the full measurements of the table. It’s 36″ wide and 54″ long. Do you still think that would work? Thanks for the response!

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