With our new house, we have inherited 1 nice, solid mid-century era light fixture and several ugly ceiling fixtures, bathroom vanity lights and ceiling fans. Most rooms have no overhead lighting, so it could be worse. So far we've only replaced 2 lights- the dining room chandelier and a small light that was falling down over the kitchen sink. I'm currently working on plans for the rest. There are 2 unfortunate ceiling lights in the basement that will be replaced by the low-profile IKEA port hole-like PULTs, which we've also used in the kitchen over the sink. Those 3 were easy, the rest not so much. Because we have so very much to do in the house, I've been looking at ways to keep the lighting costs down while quickly giving us something that we like enough to live with until we decide to really spend time and money on what we want.
For the bathrooms, I love the west elm contour sconces, but because of odd space issues (which we face everywhere in this house) they just won't fit without busting out something or rebuilding something else. We've been looking at lights that hang horizontally, but most are outside of our current budget or just too big for the spot, though I do like the one above from schoolhouse electric and quite a few that I've spotted on Etsy. For expediency's sake, I'm considering spray painting the current basic vanity strip and going with a more attractive bulb. Something like the example below, from A Home Full of Color, but probably white, black or the dark pewter paint we're using on the walls (perhaps using one of these).
As for the ceiling fans, I really hate them, but necessity dictates that I suck it up and try to appreciate what they do for us. Another of the oddities of our house is a lack of good places to put window air conditioners, so we're stuck with the fans until we can work out a way to add some other form of air conditioning. I had been thinking about adding a shade to our unfortunate upstairs hall light and realized that might be a solution for the fans as well. So, I googled the idea and it seems to be a popular option for fan updating. I've seen great examples on Young House Love, Crazy Wonderful & Little Green Notebook (below). And as I mentioned, it might be the way to go for now for our vintage colonial oil lamp styled hall pendant. Size again comes into play and everything we really like hangs a bit too low. If I can figure out a way to hang it, a shade might just do the trick for now. Above are a selection of easy to find shades from IKEA, Target & World Market.
Our other idea for the hall light is making our own version of a mini sputnik. I listed some of my favorites here. I've seen a DIY kit and have been looking at pulling together parts on my own. While looking at ideas involving the various lighting parts I'd been considering, I came across light made using socket splitters, most recently, this branch light at Little Green Notebook. Seeing this reassured me that this really is doable.