Paper Lantern Love

Over the past couple of months, Corey and I have been slowly but surely updating our guest bedroom. We got a new bed, painted some stripes on the wall, added some bright (temporary) night stands, and made some easy-but-awesome DIY silhouette art. Last time we chatted about it, it was looking like this.

Notice anything particularly awful about the room? No, I’m not talking about the bedding that totally doesn’t go in the room at all (though that needs to be fixed, stat). I’m talking about that awful, atrocious, so-ugly-it-hurts-my-eyes ceiling fan. It’s bad, right? I don’t even have anything against ceiling fans – I live in Texas, so I straight up love ’em. I refuse to have a bedroom without one, and we rely very heavily on the ceiling fans in our house throughout the summer months. But this one just had to go.

Thankfully, this room just so happens to be right across the hall from our AC unit and has the shortest duct line to get to it, so this room stays very cool throughout the year. Meaning, I could actually have a room in my house that doesn’t have a ceiling fan! When Corey and I began working on this room, we quickly established that a ceiling fan was not going to be necessary and that we’d just replace it with a small table fan somewhere in the room. Once we’d decided that we were going to ditch the ceiling fan, we had a whole host of options open to us – but we quickly narrowed it down to nothing too feminine (most of our guests are either single males or couples, so guys need to be able to be comfortable in here too!) and something relatively light and airy to balance out all of the graphic black (and green) accents that we plan on incorporating throughout the room.

What did we finally decide on? These super cheap, super cute Väte paper lanterns from Ikea.

(Väte paper lanterns, via Ikea)

They don’t actually come with any lighting, but with a few quickie light kits (also from Ikea), it was no problem to turn them into exactly what we wanted.

The light kits from Ikea came with ceiling hooks, so all we had to purchase were the paper lanterns and three light kits to go along with ’em. I will give the disclaimer that our method for this project is not the safest, smartest way to go about it, but it is the cheapest. Please don’t attempt this one for yourself unless you’re confident you know what you’re doing with light fixtures and you’re relatively comfortable messing around with the electrical side of your home. Corey and I have installed and tweaked enough light fixtures that we were comfortable taking it on this way, but if we hadn’t known exactly how to make it work, we would have coughed up the extra cash for a light fixture that is intended to be hardwired (as opposed to the cheap-o Ikea ones, which are technically plug-in light kits).

Now that I’ve given my little public service announcement, let’s get on with how we actually did this. We started off by playing around with the configuration of the lights until we figured out approximately where we wanted to place them on the ceiling. Then, we screwed in the hooks that came with the light kits and temporarily hung up the lights (without altering the light kits at all yet) so we could measure where we wanted to cut.

(Apologies for the awful lighting, we were scrambling to finish this on Monday evening so I could post about it today!)

Once we knew exactly where we wanted everything to hang, it was time to chop off the extra cord (making sure to un-plug any light fixtures you may have plugged in, of course!)…

And expose the inner wire. Corey did this by cutting back the black insulation very carefully with a knife, and then stripping the coating off of the inner wires so that the actual copper wires were exposed. He was very careful to wrap any areas that he might have nicked with the knife with electrical tape so we could be positive that it was all protected. When he was all finished, it looked something like this.

From there, it was just a matter of hanging the light fixture like we would any other. Black wire goes with black wire, white wire goes with white wire!

And then? We had finally gotten rid of the ugly, straight-from-your-grandma’s-house fan and upgraded to something much more fitting for the direction the room is going.

I’m so happy to finally be rid of that fan, and I think these add a fun, unique touch to the room! I love that they’re slightly industrial, thanks to the exposed black wire, but the bright white color and soft texture add a softness to it that fits in the room nicely.

The room as a whole is looking a bit feminine as of right now, but once we add in some non-floral bedding, a few black accents, and some more graphic art, I’m hoping it will turn out to be a nice mix of girly and just plain comfortable and inviting.

Oh, and here’s a shot of the room with the lights on, so you can see how nice and pretty the glow is. The light bulbs we currently have in the lanterns are way higher than we’d like them to be – all we had in the house were 60 watt bulbs – but we plan on switching ’em out for a much lower wattage so the lighting isn’t quite so intense.

I’m pleased with how the room is coming together so far! I find it slightly sad that the most completed room so far in our home is the one we spend the least amount of time in, but at least our guests will be happy!

Have you ever altered a light fixture to make it exactly what you want? Anyone else ever work more on a guest room than any other room in your home?

11 thoughts on “Paper Lantern Love

  1. So cute!! There is a light from ikea that I love but it’s the plug in kind and I never knew how to convert it. Maybe I need to watch some YouTube videos.


    Amanda Reply:

    Corey could always come over and help out if you decide you want to try it! :)


  2. I don’t know that I’ve altered a light fixture but I did recently turn a mirror into a light fixture. Are you going to miss the ceiling fan for cooling?


    Amanda Reply:

    The room is right across from the AC unit (and has the shortest duct line) so it actually is probably the coolest room in the house! When we first moved in to the house we spent one night there in the middle of July while the paint in our room was drying, and we got cold! So, definitely not going to miss the fan – though we’ll probably toss a small table fan in there for our guests who need it!


  3. Love this! Our guest room is by far the most put together room in our house. It’s yellow, black, grey and white. We took an old antique bed with lots of wood work and spray painted it bright yellow.


  4. My guest room was the subject of almost all my blog posts last year. It’s a fun room to do since everyone doesn’t have to see it all the time and it’s only purpose is to make you and your guests happy. Love it.


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