These 5 easy lighting hacks can change the look of a room in minutes. Use these ideas to make life (and lighting a room) a little easier.

lighting hacks

What do we think of overhead lighting?

Team yes?

Team no?

Team only if absolutely necessary?

I’m not a fan. Especially if the bulb is a yellow bulb with an orange tinge from 1995. Overhead lighting like that doesn’t do any favors for decor or my forehead.

That’s how important lighting is. It can make or break a space. And I’m not just talking about table lamps or floor lamps. There are so many amazing places to add a little bit of light like under the cabinets and under the kick plate and bookcases and over the kitchen sink and so many more.

So today?

Let’s talk lighting hacks.

5 clever, unique ideas for lighting in places you may not have thought of with solutions you may not have thought of.

Clever ideas just like these.

5 Clever Lighting Hacks

lighting hacks picture lights

1. Picture light with remote

I am only 5 feet tall.


A five-foot-tall person who loves picture lights.

Picture lights are one of the easiest ways to add unique light to a space in clever way. This mantel was a little flat in the room. I had three points of light (which you should have in every space) but the room was flat and unlighted in the center over the mantel. Adding a picture light over this canvas illuminates it and makes it stand out and creates more dimension in this space.

It took me a while to figure out picture lights. The key with lights like these? You want to make sure they are long enough to look in proportion with the canvas. For example, this canvas is oversized, so you need a picture light that’s at least 15″ so it looks like it’s the right length compared to the canvas.

You can see my picture light here.

My picture light plugs in (there’s a plug on the wall behind the canvas). Here’s another option that runs off of batteries that I have over the lights in the dining room.

You can see the battery operated picture light here.

lighting hacks canvas and picture light

But there was still one lighting challenge with my picture light.

I’m five feet tall remember?

How is a five-foot-tall person supposed to turn that picture light on and off every day?

Here’s lighting hack number one.

This universal remote.

You plug it into any outlet and then plug the lamp (or picture light) into it and then you can use the remote to operate it.

So for over a year now, I’ve walked into the living room every morning and turned this picture light on with one click. And then turned it off every night.

It works with picture lights and any lights that are hard to reach or you have trouble turning on and off.

You can see the remote here.

lighting hacks front porch

2. Dusk-to-dawn lightbulbs

We have two lights on either side of the front door.

They are amazing and illuminate the front porch and make it so warm and welcoming at night.

The challenge?

I’d forget to turn them on at night and I’d come home to a dark porch or I’d forget to turn them off in the morning and they’d stay on all day and waste electricity. I tried a couple of solutions—motion lights, dusk to dawn settings on the lights, but none of them worked that well.


Until I found these dusk-to-dawn lightbulbs. They are one of my favorite finds EVER and the perfect lighting hack. You just screw them into the lights, turn the lights on and they automatically come on when it gets dark in the evening and turn off in the morning when it gets light. I’ve had this set for almost a year and they’ve never let me down yet. One quick tip—I like the warm white lightbulb instead of daylight. It’s just a prettier light.

You can see the dusk-to-dawn lightbulbs here.

lighting hacks back porch

On the back porch, we have an overhead light.

Since they worked so well on the front porch, I ordered them for the back porch, too.

This light has chandelier bulbs, so I ordered dusk-to-dawn lightbulbs in chandelier bulbs.

Again, I would totally recommend getting soft white instead of daylight. The light is so much prettier.

You can see the chandelier dusk-to-dawn lightbulbs here.

lighting hacks lanterns

3. Solar-powered lanterns

We’ve had tons of lanterns on the front porch.

I’ve put battery-operated candles in them before for special occasions or parties and they work great.

But these solar-powered lanterns? They make every day a special occasion. You just set them out and the sun turns them on and off. I’ve had them outside for several months now and they are still working great. There’s nothing better than looking out there on a summer evening and see them twinkling.

My lanterns are sold out now, but I found some that are similar.

You can see the solar-powered lanterns here.

4. Lamp timers

One of my favorite lighting hacks?

Putting lamps on timers is one of the easiest ways to create a warm and welcoming space whenever you enter a room in the morning.

These are the timers that we use.

A couple of quick tips for timers like these. You want to see how many prongs your outlets accommodate. We live in an older home, so some of our outlets have two prongs and some of the outlets have three prongs.

The timers are so easy to use. All you do to set the timer is adjust the dial for when you want them to turn on.

Here are the three-prong timers we use.

Here are the two-prong timers we use.

5. These battery-operated candles

This set of real wax faux flickering candles.

They are the prettiest lighting hack. They have a swirled pattern with real wax (that looks and feels so real) and the flame flickers and looks so real.

I ordered them off Amazon a couple of weeks ago. They come in different colors, but the living room is blue and white so I ordered them in white. I love that the white is a true pretty white (I’ve ordered others that were a little creamier and I like the bright white for spring).

They are battery-operated and have a remote and you can set a timer with them and you can also adjust the flame to have it flicker more or less.


I like my candles with extra flicker.

Each candle operates on 2 AAA batteries. You can use the remote or simply switch them off and on at the end of the candle.

And in amazing news?

The entire set is $27.99 right now and the candles fit perfectly in standard candlesticks.



You can see the candles here.

That’s it.

Five easy clever lighting hacks designed to make your life easier.

Have you tried any of these before?

I’m sure you have because you are brilliant….

…just like your light bulbs. 🙂

disclosure: affiliate links are used in this post.

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  1. Image for Connie Williams Connie Williams

    I ordered the solar lanterns when you had mentioned them in an earlier column ... they are every bit as amazing as you described!!! I wished I had ordered more!

  2. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Thank you for these great lighting ideas. I took your suggestion last year and put lighting over 2 of my paintings in our hallway. But mine is battery lighted with the remote. I just love it. And every time I see the picture over your fireplace in your gold frame, it makes me smile because you inspired me to make the same frame!! Thank you dear friend❣️❣️

  3. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    Hello and happy Thursday. I have the taper candle. I also have a picture light but like Debbie mine is battery. But I love some of the other ideas especially dusk to dawn bulbs. Have a great sunny day.

  4. Image for Susan Susan

    You are such an inspiration to me. I love all your decorating ideas and have given me the confidence I needed to try new things.

  5. Image for Joan Joan

    I have the candles that you have recommended. They're beautiful. I have also used timers for when we go on vacation, and set them for on and off at different times in different rooms. My daughter has her lights set up with Alexa, and she turns lights on and off with commands. That seems to work well with her younger children, so they don't have to mess with a remote. All of your ideas are great! Thanks!

  6. Image for Kris Kris

    I've never heard of the dusk till dawn lightbulbs. Good to know! I do want to add .... don't eliminate overhead lighting. It can be an essential safety feature for you as you age, or for any older visitors to your home.

  7. Image for Elle Elle

    I bought some duck-to-dawn bulbs and the are FAB! Here’s the thing: I scrounged on Amazon and found bulbs with TWO light sensors on each bulb’s stem. They have two ‘eyes’ rather than one. That way if the bulb’s ‘eye’ does not line up with the light source (daylight) there are two sensors. I found with only one ‘eye’ the bulb had to be either tightened to breaking or left loose and unscrewed. These bulbs are wonderful. If you have several sensor bulbs on one indoor switch, they may come on at varying times based on the available light. I have a bulb in a semi-enclosed entryway that comes on first, followed by the lights on either side of my garage. They can sometimes flicker as they come on but it lasts for only a minute or two. Try to find bulbs with two sensors for the easiest usage. You will love them!

  8. Image for Alice Hanson Alice Hanson

    KariAnne, Can you hear me shouting from the roof tops. I am so thrilled with the BN-LINK wireless control outlet! Just got it and I stalled! It is perfect! WOO HOO! Thanks again for the heads up! Plus I love your blog always have! Smiles, alice

  9. Image for Mildred Mildred

    So excited to read about the dusk to dawn candelabra base, perfect for my porch lights. I was disappointed there was not a No 6 about the under cabinet lights that are cordless, I think. Don't have them but have seen them somewhere. And a No 7 that's a chargeable light bulb to use in a lamp where you do not want a cord. Like in the middle of a breakfast or dining table. See: To Mimi's House We Go account on Instagram. Thank you for all your inspiration.

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      I bought both of those actually! But they didn't work for me. The lightbulb had to be charged every day and it was so frustrating. The under cabinet lights only worked for about two weeks and then they stopped. I"m super picky about what I recommend. I so wish I could recommend something that works if anyone has any suggestions.

  10. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    I somehow missed this post till just now. I just put those outdoor "dust-to-dawn" bulbs in my shopping cart. Who knew???? All these hacks are amazing. Thank you for sharing, KA! I am always forgetting to turn on or off our garage and front porch lights. These will be perfect!!!!

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