Library lights (finally!)

So I mentioned last week that I finally ended what was a four month long search for lighting for the dining room bookcases I am finishing up.

Actually four months is conservative. I think it’s probably been more like eight. :) When I last blogged about the bookcases, this is where we were:

DIY built ins with bases

I said I was going to be finished with them in September. I was wrong. :)

Now, I’m aiming for end of October. I think I’m gonna be able to do it.

Anyway, see those spots at the top? Those are where the lights were supposed to go. The lights I. could. not. find. ANYWHERE.

Until last week. ;)

Now that I’ve gotten over the HUGE hump that was the lights, I’m SO ready to get this done! When we first started this project (ohhh, back in March), I showed you the lights I had picked out for the tops of the bookcases:

plug in spotlight

They were little plug in spotlights that I was going to hardwire in. But they were dinky, and my whole goal with them was that they would be directional, so I could direct the light down over the built ins. These didn’t stick out enough to really be able to cast light over the shelves.

So, I moved on to my next idea. Hardwiring a picture light, like this:


plug in art light

This one is from Lamps Plus, for like $70. You can find the exact same thing at Lowe’s for about $30. (I showed you how I used one of them here.)

Anyhoo, Dad and I were standing at Lowe’s one day, about to put four in the cart, when he noticed something – the arch at the top of the light wasn’t going to work. We put in a header at the top of the built ins, but it was only eight inches tall. These wouldn’t work because they were too tall.

Bummer dude. Seriously.

So that was forever ago, and since then I’ve looked online everywhere. This was perfect:



Again, a plug in I believe, but they are easily hardwired.

But this one was more than $200. Each. I needed four. Not happening.

This one too…gorgeous:LIBRARY WALL LIGHT


About $250 I think? Choke.

I loved the long arms on this, and I knew I could pull it out away from the wall so it would work with my clearance issue:

swing arm library light


But again…more than $300.

It was getting frustrating. I looked at sign lights (too big and expensive), I looked at lamps I could hardwire (way too big).

I considered something like this from IKEA:

ikea wall light

Only $20! But it was too small, the wrong color and four hours of driving to get it. :)

I was starting to feel like Goldilocks. ;)

Lamps Plus had this:


But the light part didn’t move. So when it was installed it would just shine light down to the floor. Not the look I was going for. They had another version I found over labor day that was $95, and I was thisclose to ordering them, but I held off cause I still didn’t want to pay that much.

Of course a few weeks later when I was so frustrated I was considering it, those were gone. :)

So the other day I had had it. I tried one more place -- a local lighting store and they carried exactly what I wanted. For $170. And a six week wait.

I was totally defeated. But I was determined to find something that day. I had already looked everywhere fifteen times, but something took me to Home Depot (again). I had a feeling I’d find something. (I really did…I have a weird sense about these things.)

This time, I had a different idea. I’d look at the outdoor lights too.

And wouldn’t you know it. I found the one:

home depot bronze outdoor light

They had two sizes, and I went with the bigger one. It’s a dark copper/bronze, which is what I wanted. The clearance was good for the ceiling, and it was the perfect size – not too big, not too little. The bracket was the perfect size for the header. The light didn’t tilt like I wanted, but that was an easy fix – I just bent them ever so slightly myself. :)

You can see this one online here, but the funny thing is that it’s listed for $90 online – they were only $35 in the store! So I got all four lights for $140 – basically $100 less than ONE of the fancy ones would have cost me.

I was thrilled but didn’t want to get too excited till I got one up to see how I liked it.


outdoor light fixture inside

They don’t stick out as far as I had originally wanted, but I realize now that may have bugged me to have them eight to 12 inches out from the wall.


Ignore the unfinished top. :) My plan is to add crown around the top and there is just enough room to get it up there.

They were a breeze to install – I just screwed the wall bracket into the wall and then wired it up. Light fixtures are usually my nemesis but these went up so easy and fast. That never happens to me when it comes to lights.

In the store they used the little round light bulbs instead of full-sized ones, and I loved that look. I don’t want to see the bulbs at all when you’re standing in the room:

bookcase light

With the little tilt that I added, they shine down onto the shelves beautifully:

outdoor lights turned bookcase lights

Love them!! I couldn’t BELIEVE after all this time I found them at that price, and in the outdoor section of all places!

Of course this is just a peek – the painting and some trim isn’t done. The accessorizing and arranging isn’t done either. But I am thrilled with the lights – they are just what I imagined in my head when I started dreaming this up almost a year ago!:

inexpensive library lightsI cannot tell you how great it is to have these up!! I added a dimmer, of course, so they are on all day long lately. And today was perfect for pictures because it’s a dark and stormy one. ;)

Of course my gauge on projects is always the Bub and the hubby – their reactions tell me a lot. My husband loves them and I got an actual “Ohhhh and ahhh” from the kiddo, so I always take that as a good sign.

Thanks for being patient with me on this bookcase project – they have been a labor of love but I had NO idea they would take this much time. I hope to have a full reveal for you soon!