Discover 7 DIY lighting ideas for your home and learn creative tips on how to save money by using these easy hacks!
When we first bought our 3rd fixer-upper, the French Country Cottage, I had grand dreams for the exterior of the home including the outdoor living space.
The first thing we tackled was the house itself. We replaced the roof, siding, and front door package, and gave the garage door a cheap but fabulous carriage-style facelift with this easy hack.
Here is the original MLS photo.
The MLS photo when we sold the house.
The next step after giving the house itself a facelift was to update the outdoor living space.
Here was the backyard space.
Broken down, weed-laden pallets.
I had grand visions of raised garden beds, a pretty white shed, and a lovely fireside retreat like the gorgeous ones I was seeing all over Pinterest.
One look at the cost of a barrel or any potted planter for that matter that could hold a 4x4x8 post and I realized our budget was going to require some creativity.
So I got creative. The first project of this post, the cheap hack I used to create a stunning fireside retreat, is one of the most popular posts on my website and has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people around the world, and has been used for small apartment decks as well as large outdoor spaces.
Not only does it save money, but it is practical and beautiful.
Today I am going to share 7 affordable solutions to costly lighting challenges that you can DO YOURSELF.
That’s right. YOU.
DO. IT. YOURSELF.
You’ve got this!
Watch this podcast episode or download the audio below for later!
DIY Lighting Ideas – Tips On How To Save Money
Create your own relaxing backyard fireside retreat by learning how to string outdoor solar lights with this cheap hack!
DIY Lighting Ideas – Tips On How To Save Money
Complete with dimmable LED bulbs, this versatile lighting kit for under kitchen cabinets is easy to assemble, looks amazing, and took approximately 20 minutes to install!
DIY Lighting Ideas – Tips On How To Save Money
Learn how to elevate a patio, garden, driveway, flower bed, or any landscaping with easy in-ground solar lights.
DIY Lighting Ideas – Tips On How To Save Money
Illuminate a shelf, countertop, or any space with this super easy no wire under cabinet lighting solution.
Another option is these battery-powered motion sensor strips that attach with two adhesive strips and a magnet.
Click HERE to see what our coffee bar looks like when the shelves are lit up with these strips!
DIY Lighting Ideas – Tips On How To Save Money
These solar-powered LED deck post caps are the easiest DIY deck lighting upgrade you will ever find. Read my review and see how amazing they look at night! No electricity is needed!
DIY Lighting Ideas – Tips On How To Save Money
Learn how to make a night light without electricity with this simple hack! Follow the easy step-by-step tutorial and add a night light to any space.
DIY Lighting Ideas – Tips On How To Save Money
Whether for the holidays or year-round lighting, this little gadget is the best hack to hang outdoor string lights from a gutter.
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Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. I am your host, Anna Fuller. Today. We’re gonna chat seven DIY lighting ideas. For your home, we’re gonna learn creative tips on how to save money by using these hacks. When we first bought our third fixer upper, the French country cottage, as many of you know, we just recently sold this third fixer upper of ours. We’re currently renting a home at the time of this recording and keeping our eyes out for the property to build the house of our dreams, what we’ve been working toward. But when we first bought this third fixer upper, one of the first things that we did is we. Renovated the exterior of the home, including the outdoor living space. We tackled the house itself first. So we replaced siding and the roof, the front door package we gave the garage door a cheap, but fabulous carriage style facelift. There’s a really easy hack to do that again. Super cheap budget friendly. The link is in the show notes or the blog post hammers and hugs.com. And I show you a little before and after here too, of the house, the way it looked at when we first bought it from the MLS. And then when we sold it, our MLS photo, but the backyard space after we gave the house itself, an update was a mess. Lots of pictures here of what it looked like. There was weeds everywhere. They had a very interesting gardening strategy happening along the back fence. I’m not really sure what was there. The house was empty for a year before we bought it. There was, uh, broken down pallets. It was a hot mess. So I had grand visions in this backspace I’ve raised garden breads a pretty white shed. I did end up redoing that white shed. The is a before and after. Blog post how we restored the shed in the back. And I wanted to create this beautiful fireside retreat, like all the gorgeous ones I was seeing all over. Pinterest. Maybe you do or don’t know what I’m talking about, but I was picturing this beautiful, like the. Planters that the four by four by eight foot posts arise out of. And then there’s beautiful flowers planted in them. Like the really pretty old fashioned wooden planters or the really big ceramic looking one, like just a large planter that these four by four posts come out of. Then you have solar lights and then you have this really pretty fireplace or fire pit. Anyway, there’s gorgeous ones all over. Pinterest just you’ll get lost for hours. But one look at the cost. When we finally got to the place where I was ready to create this really pretty backyard space of a large planter barrel, I could not believe it like even. Ratty old used ones were still like a hundred dollars a barrel. In fact, I even looked for used ones and these like beautiful, old antique looking barrels were a hundred bucks a barrel for a used barrel with dirt in it. People come on were really any potted planter for that matter. That was large enough to hold a four by four by eight foot post. So I realized that we were gonna have to get creative here and our budget was going to demand a cheaper option. So you guys, I found this hack. I created this hack to create this beautiful solar panel lit fireside retreat in our backyard space. It is one of the most popular posts on my website. It was actually picked up by a very, very large home website. It has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. And this hack for creating this really pretty solar lit outdoor space has been used on small apartment decks, as well as large outdoor spaces. This hack, this is going to be hack number one, but I’m going to share seven affordable solutions to costly lighting challenges that you can do yourself. Most of these really easy number one is arguably the most complicated. And even this guys, you can do it. You do it yourself. You’ve got this DIY lighting idea. Number one is to create this fireside retreat. With this particular hack. Here’s ultimately what I did. I got trash cans, metal trash cans from our local hardware store. If I recall the blog post would say this link is in the show notes for the DIY and all the resources. If I recall, I think these trash cans were 20 bucks a piece. I got four of them. They were bright metal, the bright, ugly, silver looking metal. I spray painted all four of them and oil rubbed bronze. And then what Zach and I did is we dropped five gallon buckets into the barrels. So these are large barrels. We put five gallon PLA CHIO, five gallon, plastic buckets into the barrels, and then filled them with quick. So we basically filled the five gallon plastic bucket with quick Crete and then dropped the four by four by eight foot post into that five gallon plastic bucket. So again, you’ve got the bigger trash can, the five gallon plastic bucket with this large four by four by eight foot post sticking out of it. This gave me the ability to then backfill the trash can with dirt. And then the top half of the trash can. I was able to plant stuff in. So I used them as seasonal planters. There was four of them, of course, in this backyard space. And I strung solar lights in a square pattern. Certainly you could do a, um, I mean, you could do a whole bunch of these and you could do a circular, right? Like you could do whatever you want. I had people write and say that they did this on their small little apartment deck and they just created two of them. So they strong lights kind of in like a zigzag between their roof, on their deck. And then these little posts, they just did two of ’em. You can make all kinds of creative designs with this concept and you can make them as bigger as short as you wanted the advantage to at least going eight feet is obviously. The height is nice. It’s like a standard room height. So you don’t have people hitting their heads on the lights, but you could go smaller if you wanted to. You could certainly go higher. But anyways, the bottom line is you can create this planter as well in the trash cans for significantly cheaper. One of the things you wanna keep in mind, which I say this on the tutorial is you wanna make sure you draw holes in the bottom of the trash can for the water. If you’re gonna use it as a planter, here is another option I contemplated doing this. I decided not to. You could also. Build to slide over top of the planter when the planter is not in use or in case you don’t wanna use it as a planter, you could cut out pieces of wood, a square piece of wood to create like a little cafe table. This would also be incredibly easy. You would just cut out two pieces out of a square. And then on the inside of it, cut. You know, like a half square to fit around your four by four by eight foot post. And then you would slide them together to create a cafe table so that you could set drinks on it or whatever. And you could even just take them off then when you want to make it a planter again, that is actually not in the blog post. I added that. We’re going freestyle here. we’re going off script. That was actually something I’d consider doing. I never did it, but that would also be a very, very easy thing to create, to add on top of these trash can planters. If you will, DIY lighting idea, number two more tips on how to save money. Is under kitchen cabinet lighting. I’ve got two options that I’m gonna talk about, but DIY lighting idea. Number two is a blog post. I wrote tutorial again, link in the show. Notes is how to add kitchen cabinet lighting in 20 minutes. This particular kit is one that you do plug in the kit has dimmable L E D bulb. It’s versatile too, because you can actually connect more than one. So you could technically run a whole string of them along all of your cabinetry that is connected. And then there’s a little knob that you can turn them on. But then they’re dimable, which was really nice. So what I did in my kitchen is in the French country cottage, this was our third fix rep or in the corner was like my workstation. This was my prep area. If you have not listened to the podcast or watched the episode on how to design an efficient kitchen around work zones, that’s where you need to go to next, because this was my prep zone. So I wanted task lighting. I wanted lighting. That was very specific for this area because I worked in this space a lot and it was in the corner. So I just installed these dimmable bulbs. And this dimable like under cabinet lighting in the corner. And then I plugged it into an outlet in the back. This can be done anywhere though. You could, you could extend this to a lot of different places, but you, this particular kit does require. A an outlet. It does require electricity. Again, the advantage I would argue is that it is dimable so you can turn it on. You can turn it off, up down. It’s great for task lighting, easy to install, super easy. Again, all the links in the show notes. And of course, pictures, DIY lighting idea. Number three. You’re gonna hear a lot of solar ideas. I love, love solar energy. It makes so much sense to me. This one is an idea to elevate your landscaping with easy in ground solar lights. Here’s what’s really cool about these particular solar lights is there’s a lot of ways to use them outside. This particular post was one that I did when we finished our. Concrete paver patio. That patio nearly killed me. Another post for another time, but I used these little solar lights, so they had like a stick on the bottom that you could attach to the flat solar light. There was a circular, flat solar light. You can get square ones as well, and you just drive them into the ground. So, what was nice about them is the mower setting that we used as well. You can actually mow over them only if you happen to keep your grass a little bit longer. The lower settings probably would’ve shred them, but the really nice thing was if you drive them into the ground around your patio, you can actually mow over them. They’re also a great idea to uplight a plant. So if you have bushes that you want. Up light, right? That really pretty lighting effect that you can get. Um, when you put lights around the base of a tree or the base of a really pretty Bush that can really elevate your landscaping and give it sort of that custom high end look and all you need is the sun. And these little in-ground solar lights, they are so easy, but here is the other thing that you can do with them. The piece that drives into the ground is removable. So you can just use the flat it’s, maybe this thick, maybe. And you could actually attach it to patio stairs to a deck. One thought would be in order to do that is to use like the outdoor VELCO strips that stick the really, really sticky ones and stick them to stairs. So consider using them in a lot of other places. Again, you can use the inground option where it actually gets pushed into the ground, or you can consider actually leaving the little. The stick part of it off and attach them with the flat surface underside with a heavy duty Velcro to various places in your outdoor landscaping or on walls stairs are a really, really good one to use these on. You can either attach them to the wall of the stairs or the actual stair itself like pushed up along the very far side. It would be a great idea to use those in ground solar lights. DIY lighting idea. Number four is a super, super easy, no wire under cabinet. Lighting solution. This has been used by myself. This concept I have used in every house actually, now that I think about it in various shapes and sizes. So what this is is it is a motion sensor light that has no wires and has several different button options. You can either keep it turned on. Or you can turn it off or you can put it on auto. And what it is is it is a, again, there’s several different ways that these can connect and I’ll share a couple ways that I’ve used them. But in our last house, one of the ways that I used this is this particular one that I linked is a strip and there’s two pieces. There’s the light itself. And then there is a little piece that you actually peel back a really sticky. Well sticker, if you will, and then you push it onto the bottom of a cabinet. I put it on the bottom of our coffee shelf. We created a coffee bar in that kitchen, and I was frustrated because I would come down at five in the morning. There’s no light. And. I’m like, this sounds really stupid. If, okay, let me throw out another post for you. This will explain everything you need to listen to my post all about establishing an early morning routine and then you will understand why I am not even awake enough to flick on a light switch. It’s pathetic, but it’s true. I need like brainless, you know, I need to be on robot mode in the morning. That’s the bottom. I shouldn’t have to think about anything because getting outta bed is enough work as it is that early in the morning. So I was like, I need a light here, but I don’t need a light switch. I don’t need something that I just have to flick on. I just need something that senses that I am pouring coffee and I need to be able to see, so I don’t burn myself. So, this is what I used this for in this particular house. So I stuck it underneath every shelf on our, um, coffee bar. They were exposed beams from an old barn that we also used to frame our master closet in this house, in the bedroom renovation. And then I cut up the remaining beams and created exposed shelving. Some of which we. In this coffee bar and I was actually amazed how sticky they were and how well they stayed, but it’s magnetic. So that’s the key is you can attach the strip itself, the light strip to this magnet that you stick to the bottom of anything. Again, I use them for our coffee space in this house, this rental house I’m using the strip. I have a. Coffee. So this kitchen is very, very small and again, it’s not my house, so I can’t touch it. It’s okay. I’m okay. We’re all. Okay. people keep asking me, how are you doing, living in a house that is not yours. And I’m like, actually, it’s kind of freeing. I look at something I’m like, you know what? It’s not my house. It’s not my house. Print me a t-shirt it’s not my house. So in this house, there really wasn’t a great coffee setup area. So I used the old vintage tea cart that I redid years and years ago, and it is sitting in the kitchen table area. So instead of attaching this strip to a light above the coffee station, I flipped it and it is now attached to the glass of the coffee cart itself. Same thing happens. I come five in the morning. I’m pouring my coffee. It’s motion sensor. It turns on and I don’t burn myself and spill my precious coffee everywhere else that I don’t want it. Let me tell you other areas that I have used these. Motion sensor lights. This one is not solar. This is motion sensor, battery powered, closets closet spaces. The ones that I used not super heavy duty in our very first house was an old Victorian. And we renovated the master bedroom and actually framed out a very, very tiny walking closet in the one area of the master bedroom. But there was no electric in there. There was no way to run electric to that space. So what I did, and it was very effective is it was so tiny. I think we only needed one light, but I could have put in two is we installed a motion sensor, battery powered light. That twisted into a little plastic case on the ceiling. So you screw this little plastic case, actually, you know what? It’s very similar to a, um, smoke alarm. It’s exactly how it functioned. Same idea. Like you can twist off the smoke alarm, right. To take it off of the wall. That’s how these motion sensor lights worked. The ones in the closets that I used were round, not the. And it was the same concept. I would basically put these motion sensor lights in this closet, and then when the battery would die, which is actually not that much, again, it’s motion sensor. That’s the great thing is it would only turn on when we walk into a closet, closets are a great place to use these budget friendly lights, as opposed to paying for hard wiring when you’re only in there for what maybe a minute to pull out the shirt that you want, unless you’re having an off day. Like we all have, like, we all have, and you go in and you stand there for 20 minutes staring at your shirts, thinking I have nothing to wear, even though you’ve got 30 shirts right there. Right. Okay. I’ve been there. It may not work as well. Then you just have to wave your hand a little bit to get the, like, to go back on. Great great budget option. So that’s not a separate one. I’m putting this all under DIY lighting idea. Number four, because they’re the exact same concept. I’ve just used them in different shapes and sizes in different places, another great place. So. Closets are a good spot for these as well as stairs. So we also put these in two houses, actually one in a pantry, one in a walk-in pantry, same concept, kinda like a closet. And then the other one actually was the top of basement stairs often is really, really dark. And we always put shelving there to maximize storage space. This was another place that I would use. These lights as well. I would just put it on the wall so that when I would reach in to grab something off of the wall, the light would turn on, but I wasn’t constantly flicking a switch, save electricity, save money. Great, great waste to use motion, sensor lights. There are heavier duty ones as well. Just require maybe a little more battery power, but I love motion, sensor lights so much. I actually intend to put in a motion sensor light. When we build in our walking closets, we’re each gonna have our own walking closets and I would put them in there because they work. And then you don’t have to remember to flip off your closet, light closet lights. They just get left on all the time. At least in our. Anyway, lots of places to illuminate with these super easy, no wire lighting solutions. Let’s move on to light DIY lighting idea. Number five. This is again, taking us back outside. This is one of the easiest deck lighting solutions. Bang for your buck makes it look so nice. And what they are is they are solar lights that sit on top of deck posts. There are different sizes. You may not have realized this, but the like the heavy PVC. So the third house, we had a TRX deck, and then there was these like heavy duty plastic posts with railings. And then the iron, oh, what are they called? It’s not ballisters spindles. You know what? I’m talking about? The little like iron rails that keep your kids from falling off your deck. Very important detail, but you can buy solar lights to replace the caps. You can buy solar lights to replace the caps. Now these are a tiny bit more expensive, like the motion sensor ones that I’ve been talking about, the plugin dimmable, L E D lighting strips. Those were all super cheap, super, super cheap. This one was a little bit more expensive and I am blanking. I can’t say off the top of my head, what I think they came in like a four pack. It’s all on the blog post all of the tutorials there’s links to all these tutorials. This upgrade was so easy. So when we renovated the back deck area, what we did is we maximized this Trek’s deck that was already there, and we removed a section of the deck railing, and then we extended the hardscaping area. So you walked down the track deck, and then we installed a like 12 by 12. Paver patio beside it. So we built a step so that you could step down off of the track stack onto this paver patio. These pavers, you guys, I got on Facebook marketplace for like dirt, dirt cheap. I’m telling you this project nearly killed us, Zach and I by hand. Brought. So we show up to this dude’s house and they’re moving. I don’t even know where they’ve got stuff all over the place. And he’s like, yeah, all these pavers, of course the pictures on Facebook marketplace were nice. He’s like, yeah, they’re all back in the woods. And we’re like, what these pavers he had had for like a year. He never used them and they. Buried under dirt and brush and bushes and all this stuff like back in this little section of woods in their backyard, which was on the complete opposite side of his driveway. And understandably, he didn’t want us to drive through his yard. Like I get that, but basically we had to manually haul all of these concrete pavers from this guy’s woods. To a truck that we had borrowed. Let’s just say I bowed out rather quickly. And Zach negotiated food for labor from two of his cousins who I think still hold it against us to this day. Was quite the job. Now we saved thousands and thousands of dollars, but those pavers got moved so many times from then the truck. We unloaded them to the side of the house from the side of the house. We unloaded them to our deck to manually piece together. The puzzle that was this ridiculous, like there’s triangle shaped pieces. There’s like oblong pieces. You guys another post for another day, but I’m telling you, we spent so much time on these pavers. That was my, that was my Corona project. When we were all on lockdown, I was piecing together the puzzle. That was our concrete pavers on our deck. Anyways, the bottom line is this, what we did then is we replaced all of the. Post caps with these solar lights. And then I actually had extra posts. I don’t know why, but I had two extra posts. So I tapped them into the grass. On the other side, these deck posts into the other side of the paver patio and put these. Solar cap lights on them as well. So there’s another little hack. Not only did I put them on the deck, but I actually used the ones. Oh, I know why I had them because I removed them from the deck itself. That’s why then I transplanted them. If you will, to the yard, beside the pavers and put these solar caps on. I don’t know that that was working smart or not harder. I think I just worked hard period, but it really is a cool lighting upgrade and no electricity is needed. Just the sun pictures included by the way, on the blog post DIY lighting idea, number six. This one is really thinking outside the box, how to make a nightlight without electricity. Let me tell you how this started. Also in our third fixed wrapper, there was no outlet in the upstairs hallway was absolutely not worth the money to install an outlet in the upstairs hallway. We didn’t have to do any electric work up there. So wasn’t even worth tearing stuff apart to. However, there was this little recessed nook at the top of the stairs that I put a little side table at with drawers that I had, like extra bedding and stuff like that in it was a super tiny house. So we had to maximize every little nook and cranny for storage. I must have run into that table in the middle of the night because I pee all of the time. Thank you. Small bladder. Yeah. You don’t even know how many times, and it’s just not pleasant when your thigh gets bruised in the middle of the night. And all you wanna do is just go pee. So I was like, I’ve got to figure out a way to light this hallway. Now you might be thinking, Anna, why didn’t you just put a motion sensor light. On the wall. I could have done that, but they are very, very bright and I entered this rust doum spray paint challenge contest. So I decided to get creative. And instead of doing the obvious thing, which would’ve been to just simply use the motion battery powered light that I had just been talking about. Not that long ago, I decided to use spray paint glow in the dark spray paint. And I spray painted this mirror that hung above this side table with the thought that I just needed to see where the side table was so that I wasn’t running into. So I spray paint. You guys, it worked, it actually worked. I had to keep the bathroom door open because it was only lit by the sun. Like it needed light to light glow in the dark, the glow in the dark spray paint. So the only key the caveat I should say is it needed some natural light during the day. So as long as I kept the bathroom door open, that was directly across from it. It did light up, but here’s another way to use this. You can spray PA let’s say your kids are a little scared, but if your kids are like my kids, the problem with night lights is I swear if there’s light in the room, they do not sleep as well. They don’t, they get distracted. They see the books, they see the toys. So like I try to avoid night lights because honestly they get so distracted and then they don’t go to sleep. So a thought. Is to spray paint, closet doors or something, spray paint, closet doors. You could even spray paint old furniture. If you want to spray paint something onto the wall, here’s the thing it dries clear. So this is the really fun thing. You could spray paint designs onto your bedroom walls, and you would never see it in the light of day. Come bedtime. You could have these spray paint designs on your kids’ walls or ceilings, and it does actually light the room. It’s a shockingly efficient way of creating a nightlight with no electricity and no overly bright motion sensor light. So again, that is, I specifically used, I am not a Rustoleum partner, but I did use Rustoleum’s. Glow in the dark spray paint. The one key, the one key is it works better in my experience on lighter colors, but I also never tried it on dark colors. Maybe it would be just fine. So you can learn the tutorial that I used, like to create this nightlight without electricity, simple hack, add a little nightlight to any space. DIY lighting idea. Number seven. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier in my life, but the really cute solar lights that you see strung up all over the place. They’re around gutters and soffits and Christmas lights might be strung around gutters. Like there’s so many ways to create these really cute outdoor spaces. With these outdoor hanging, hanging lights, but have you ever actually attempted to hang outdoor string lights from your home? It takes a hot second to figure out how to efficiently hang. Outdoor lights. This sounds ridiculous, especially cuz we do it every Christmas, but I’m telling you it’s not as easy as it sounds. And then you think you have it up and then half of it’s fallen down, which then weights the rest of it and pulls the rest of it off. Listen. I’ve had some battles with Christmas lights over the years, I discovered this incredible hack to hanging outdoor string lights, really of any type from a gutter or like around your house. It is this tiny little do Hickey. That is the official term for it, by the way, it’s a clip. And what you do. So this stemmed from, again, that backyard space, where we had the trucks deck, and then it extended to the paver patio. I wanted to create this really pretty, like sort of solar ambiance, super soft, beautiful. Again, I’m obsessed with solar lights. So I was trying to figure out how can I extend this massive string of lights across the entire back of our house. Without going crazy. So I thought about these clip on clips that I had used to hang curtains. NOSO curtains. I don’t know how to sew. So I had to get creative there too. And I created these NOSO curtains with these little clips and I thought, you know what? I bet these would work really well to hang lights from a gutter. You guys. Magical. And I will also say this in the year and a half that they were hanging, not a single, single one came down. They’re really, really sturdy. I did link these particular clips on the, uh, show notes as well as the tutorial. And I highly highly recommend it. What’s also really funny is I realized when I was Googling clips, there’s 1,000,001 advertisements for clips to hang outdoor lights. Many of which I have tried. To no a veil. They just frustrated me. This is hands down the simplest hack to hanging outdoor lights from your house, from your gutter, from your soffit, they basically clip into the bottom of the soffit. They’re amazing. Highly recommend. ’em super cheap. Super super cheap. So again, whether for the holidays or year round lighting, that little clip is the best hack to hanging these outdoor string lights from a gutter. There’s so many other lighting hacks. Do you have one that you want to share? I would absolutely love to hear it. I have chatted about other hacks over the years. Like how easy it is to replace. Pretty much any switch into a dimable one. A lot of people don’t know that they want the ambiance, but they don’t wanna pay somebody. All you have to do is just replace the switch and you can probably put one with a dimer on it. There’s so many hacks. If you have one, I would absolutely love to hear it. Please comment, wherever you are listening to this wherever you are watching this. You can go back to the show notes on my blog. I would love to hear from you, please, please, please let me know if you have other hacks other suggestions. I love hearing your thoughts from the show.