Electronics, lighting and technology can really make a difference in the home, this is the story of how we turned our shabby first time buy into a sleek, modern creation.

My wife and I recently bought our first home. Being first time buyers without a lot to invest we had the choice between small but immaculately finished place or a fixer upper with a large amount of space. We chose the fixer upper.

At first the task seemed daunting and huge, there were so many things to do. The first thing we set about doing was establishing an electricity supply. The whole house had been cut off from utilities years ago and a lot of re-wiring needed to be done.

Once we had power, telecoms and the wiring was signed off by an electrician, we set up some temporary lighting and got to work.

The first room we turned our attentions to was the kitchen. Although we wanted everything to look perfect, we needed to be conscious of budget constraints. We searched for fixtures and fittings that would look great but wouldn't break the bank. Store brands really helped us out in this department, Home Depot and Wall Mart had some great deals, we also kept an eye out for special offers online.

As we went along we found that lighting was one of the features of our home that required the most careful consideration. Light a small room correctly and it will give the illusion of more space. Light a large room incorrectly and it will feel tiny.

For the kitchen we used a central mounted 3 spot fixture on the ceiling and under cabinet down lights to avoid shadows being cast on the counter tops.

The living room was fitted out with recessed ceiling light units, 35 of them in all. These fixtures all use low-wattage compact fluorescent bulbs, meaning they produce a lot light but consume a very small amount of power. These 35 lights are configure to be switched on and off in three groups, allowing full or partial illumination to create different moods.


In the dining room we really chose to make a statement, a mock diamond chandelier hangs proudly over our dinner table. The only reason we were able to pull this off look is due to the high ceilings in all the downstairs rooms.

Upstairs there are more recessed lighting fixtures. These help to give each room an uncluttered look while lighting all four corners evenly.

Our hallway has several small alcoves cut into the wall. Before electricity, these alcoves were where small candles were placed. We decided to use this feature and wire small puck lights into the base of the alcove, accenting them and producing a pleasing effect.

In the front and back yards we used motion activated flood lights, these not only improve security but can also be switched on a constant mode should we decide to entertain in the garden at night.

As I mentioned before, we managed to achieve the results we wanted by using less expensive materials. Most of or lighting needs were fulfilled by Utilitech, their products are of a high quality whilst being reasonably priced.

If you've always wanted the home of your dreams, don't be scared, jump in and do what we did. There are great results to be had, even on a budget.