DIY Bathroom lighting fixture makeover

Bathroom, DIY, Lighting

I really wish I could renovate my bathroom, but being a renter, doing a complete gut job and rebuilding from scratch wasn’t a possibility. The lighting, however, was definitely something that I could upgrade without changing out the existing lighting fixture. So I came up with a plan to change out the shades and to make my fixture more energy efficient.


The first thing I did was swap out the incandescent light bulbs for ENERGY STAR certified LED light bulbs.


When you consider that a single ENERGY STAR LED bulb can save $75 in electricity costs over its lifetime, it makes the initial investment worth it. The cost of LEDs has dropped in recent years and there are many rebates are available – so they are more affordable than ever.

To select my new light bulbs, I first looked for the ENERGY STAR mark on the packaging or in the description online: or in the description online:

This mark means that the bulbs have undergone extensive testing for things like light quality and color plus they have a warranty of a minimum of 3 years, longer than most electronics!

With so many choices, choosing lightbulbs can be confusing, but looking for the ENERGY STAR helps me know which bulbs are a better investment. I ended up choosing candelabra bulbs to go with the long and narrow shape of the lampshades I designed. Even though I don’t have a dimmer for this fixture, I still purchased dimmable light bulbs, that way if I ever install a dimmer in the future, I’ll still be able to use the same light bulbs. You’ll know that the ENERGY STAR certified LED light bulbs you’re purchasing are dimmable when you see the word “dimmable” on the packaging:


The second part of the makeover was to replace the old shades with new ones. You can buy ready-made replacement shades at Home Depot or Lowe’s but I couldn’t find anything I liked so I designed my own mini drum shades. Since I’m using LEDs, the good thing is they give off a lot less heat, so I’m able to make my own shades with a plastic cutting mat, and not worry about burning the shades.


I made them with 4” wooden embroidery hoops (7), 3/4” and 2” wide iron-on edging (birch) and flexible chopping mats, which came out to about $ 15 per shade. I made the drum shades in 2 parts: 1) the rings and 2) the shade.

Part 1: Rings

To make the rings, I glued the inner hoops of the embroidery rings together using wood glue to make 2 stacks of 2 hoops and 1 stack of 3 hoops. Then I used an iron to cover the outside of the rings with iron-on wood edging and I sanded the edges and the inside of the rings.




I chose to finish the rings with a grey wood stain from Plaid, giving a couple of coats. I let that dry for a couple of hours and then sealed in the finish with white wax, wiping off the excess wax with a clean, lint-free rag.



The last thing to do with the rings was to drill 3 holes with a 1/8” drill bit, equally spaced out, at the top of the wider rings. This is for the screws that will attach the shade to the existing fixture.


Part 2: The shade

To make the shade, I cut the chopping mat in half horizontally and cut it again so that it’s about 1/2” longer than the circumference of the inside of the rings. Then I added masking tape to mark the location of the middle ring and added clear double sided tape to the seam and where the bottom and middle rings will go.


The last step was to form the shade and put on the rings. Then it was just a matter of drilling holes in the shade material, putting in the machine screws and then attaching the shades to the existing fixture.




I love the way the new shades turned out and the new ENERGY STAR certified LED light bulbs are perfect to light up my bathroom.



Whether you own or rent your home, upgrading the lighting with ENERGY STAR certified fixtures and LED light bulbs is a great way to give a space an updated look when you’re renovating and it can save you money on your electrical bills for years to come.

To find out more about ENERGY STAR, you can visit – it’s a great resource provided by the Environmental Protection Agency where you’ll find all kinds of good information on how to choose and use ENERGY STAR products in your home. You can also visit – the costs of LED bulbs has come down but you’ll find rebates on this site that can help keep costs down even more.

You can also see the whole project in this video. Thanks to ENERGY STAR for helping make this project possible!


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