A room should have at least five lighting sources, according to my interior design coffee table books. My Los Angeles one-bedroom apartment has a single overheard light in the dining nook — and that’s lucky. Some apartments have zero. I did my best to add floor and table lamps, but one corner of my living room near my entry remained enshrouded in darkness. I found the perfect plug-in scone for that spot… that I never bought.
L.A. lighting company, Humanhome, makes an understated and flawless fixture called the Hiline Sconce. The frosted glass globe adds a subtle modernity to the piece, and the cloth woven cord and tiny brass cord holder are classy as hell. This sconce certainly fit the bill for me aesthetically, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend $220 to light a corner that only contains a shoe rack. My apartment entry stayed shadowy in the name of sound financial decisions. Then I — or IKEA — manifested what I loved about the Hiline in their KALLBLIXT wall lamp that costs a whopping — wait for it — $17.99, which is over 90 percent cheaper than my beloved Humanhome light.
I was primed to love the KALLBLIXT sconce because of the Hiline; I owe that beautiful, small business-made sconce a debt. I yearned for that lamp for a year, but I had to move on. When I discovered IKEA had this affordable alternative, I bought two KALLBLIXTs. The hand-blown frosted glass shade on the KALLBLIXT substituted nicely for the Hiline’s globe, even if it’s not quite as elegant in shape. There’s no chic brass cord cover to be found here, but IKEA’s pull switch is a nice design detail, and the light, which comes with an LED bulb, is compatible with dimmers, should I want to add that functionality down the road.
The installation might have been the biggest payoff though. The KALLBLIXT takes just a couple of screws to mount to the wall and plugs into any old outlet for power, meaning no need for hard-wiring, which is great as a renter when you don’t want to make any major holes in walls. Mine didn’t seem to come with the screws (I’m not sure if that was a mistake or not?), but you can substitute in any standard screw that will fit, which is what I did. Clean lines, no electrician required, and costs less than the fancy pizza I like to order? What’s not to love?
Now, I have not five but six different lighting sources in my entry/living/dining room, and the the KALLBLIXT provides just enough illumination for me to see my shoe rack in my entry, as pictured above. Please, hold your applause. If you’re looking for a classic meets modern sconce on the cheap that still has a luxe look to it, the KALLBLIXT is it.
Name: Ashley Urban
Location: Downtown Los Angeles
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 650 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting
Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I’ve lived and worked in downtown Los Angeles for the past eight years in studio apartments ranging from 1,200 square feet to 200 square feet. My home is a physical diary of the places I’ve been and the objects and memories I cherish, a place to remind me of the incredible beauty I’ve found during the adventures of my life. I’ve strived to make my home an oasis in which I can escape from the chaos of living in downtown Los Angeles, where I can bask in the lushness of my art collection, my many houseplants and ephemera collected from nature, and my love of all things vintage design.
As an artist, it has been imperative for me to design a space that excites and inspires my creative spirit. I strongly believe that the beauty or lack of appeasing aesthetic in our living environments has profound effects on our mental and emotional state. Surrounding myself with beautiful things has always been a means of harnessing the gift of living in the present, a means of appreciating and creating moments of stillness, peace, and gratitude.
Everything I wear, create, and surround myself with is a reflection of the artist within me. I believe in making every decision in life through a lens of creativity, empathy, and the pursuit of beauty. Art is one of the most important aspects of a healthy human experience, therefore I strive to create art in everything I do. Whether it’s the way I decorate my home, the outfit I choose for the day, or the way I treat the people in my life. Being an artist isn’t just about creating work, it’s about building a beautiful and meaningful life in all that we do.
What is your favorite room and why? My favorite area is my art studio space because of the incredible views of architecture masterpieces (the Eastern Columbia building, the Orpheum Theater, and the 9th and Broadway building), the large windows that provide ample light, the 15-foot ceilings, my gallery wall filled with art and ephemera I’ve collected over the years, and the stunning warmth of the hardwood floors.
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last items I bought for my home was a vintage four-piece set of small trays and bowls made from carved horn. I found them at an estate sale in downtown Los Angeles. I’d say about 75 percent of the items I own are vintage and secondhand. Ever since I got my first job and had my own money to spend, I’ve shopped secondhand. Nothing beats the beauty, craftsmanship, and uniqueness of vintage design.
Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Romantic, lush, elegant
Any advice for creating a home you love? My best advice for creating a home you love is to rid yourself of things that you do not absolutely love or that do not serve a function. I also suggest creating artful ways of displaying these objects so you can enjoy them everyday instead of having them tucked away. And PLANTS! Lots and lots of plants. They bring a visual freshness, vibrancy, and romance to any space. No space is complete without plants in my opinion.
This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
Making big changes to your home can be a nerve-wracking experience. Often, much expense is wrapped up in these decisions, too, so everything should go as well as possible.
That being said, doubts may linger in your mind all the same. Many people try their hardest to stay sane when building a house, but things can be challenging when extending, refurbishing, or otherwise updating their property too.
Of course, it’s important that you don’t become overwhelmed. Updating your home requires a clear head and determination. If you’re prone to frequently changing your mind or having little conviction in your goals, then you may never truly be happy with what you end up with.
What can you do in these situations? What support is available? How can you be more confident in your decision-making practices? Find out the answers to these questions and more after the jump.
There’s always something to read about on each step of updating your home. If you’re willing to embrace the learning curve before you, your confidence will surely build.
Try not to underestimate what’s possible here. For example, these guides from Lifestyle Blinds are highly informative and varied in application. You can learn all about the measurements of vertical blind slats, what the best materials are for different rooms, and cleaning best practices. If you’re satisfied with what you see, you can also make a few quality orders with the same company.
Every addition to your home has a school of thought built around it. Immerse yourself in those teachings. If you’re making these updates with a partner who is an equal decision-maker in this process, encourage them to do the same. Share your findings and debate them as mature adults. If you can play around with things here, the updates to your home may be far more effective.
Remember that the act of learning in itself builds confidence too. If you can make decisions on your property that are as informed as you know how to be, then there’s a real conviction in every change you make. That can instil you with further passion and inspiration, and you can carry all of that forward into other decisions regarding your property.
Collaborate with a Loved One
While you may want these updates to your home to be exactly the way you want them, perfection will seldom come from yourself. You can learn from useful guides, and you can also seek the wisdom of those closest to you in life too.
Tensions can grow between partners when home refurbishments are being made. Unfortunately, questions of trust can come into play, so this energy must be expelled from the process immediately. You cannot build your confidence if you’re experiencing conflict with a life partner. Support one another, listen to each other’s ideas and collaborate. Be prepared for compromise too.
If you’re single during this time, you can always lean on others for support. Your parents, in particular, may provide some useful insights, particularly if they have a lot of experience with properties themselves. It may take some time to figure out who you should be listening to, but hopefully, you already have a few close confidants in your social circle that you can question.
Work with Trustworthy Traders
Depending on the updates you’re making to your home, there may come a time where your DIY skills simply aren’t enough. In some situations, a professional will need to be called.
Of course, many people out there, both in the real world and online, claim to be experts at home refurbishments and repairs. Not all of them can be trusted. Because of this, doubts may fester in your mind as to who you should work with and who you should avoid.
Take the time to find reputable tradesmen and tradeswomen who can help you upgrade your home properly. You can authenticate professionals via your local council, government schemes, or on the Trade Association Forum website for peace of mind. Take your time in securing the information you need.
You can always ask trusted family and friends for their recommendations too. However, you should always try to fact check everything they tell you, especially if your desired changes to your property are expensive. They may have good intentions, but that doesn’t excuse any blunders in this area.
Appreciate Good Timing
Overhauling your home’s functions and aesthetics can be overwhelming on its own. To make moves here within a strict, self-imposed time frame will only lead to greater stress on your part.
Short of emergency repairs, there’s really no need to rush the process at all. If your kids have important exams around the corner, or if your partner is starting a new job, then there’s really no need to commence with these works right away.
Perspective counts for a lot when updating your home. When things are less chaotic, you’ll have a clearer head, which in turn will lead to confidence in all that you’re doing. You’ll also be able to set reasonable expectations with scheduling.