When it comes to decorating or, more specifically, lighting my room, I try to match those elements to a feeling or “vibe” that I’m trying to create. In this list, I’ve come up with 5 DIY lighting ideas that are capable of transporting me to different eras, making me feel intense nostalgia, and in some cases providing a slight sense of dread.
1. Film Noir Lighting
When using lighting to capture an aesthetic, there are no better examples than the techniques used in filmmaking, and in my eyes, there might not be a genre of film more aesthetically pleasing than film noir. We’ve all seen some version of a noir, whether it’s a classic like The Maltese Falcon, a futuristic take on the genre in Blade Runner, or a subverted approach in The Big Lebowski, but what they all share is the same brooding lighting and bleak look at humanity.
If you’re looking to embrace this dark alleyway feeling and get transported back to the 1950s, then the first of these DIY lighting ideas is certainly something you will want to throw together. All that’s needed is some blinds, something to hang them on, a light, and a background. The next step might seem a little silly due to the fact that we all know how shadow puppets work, but you just place the light behind the blinds aimed towards a background, and all of a sudden, you are a hardboiled detective waiting for the femme fatale to enter your office.
2. Firefly Jar
I grew up in Pennsylvania, and running around catching fireflies is something I remember very fondly. I was even thinking back on it now, after not having seen anything like it since it’s surreal to think back to looking out into an empty field and seeing flashes of neon green lights floating around.
There are probably two ways you can go about making the second of these DIY lighting idea. One being just catching fireflies if you live in an area where they have a presence, but I’m not sure if that would seem cruel to all the insect lovers out there, it’s just how I remember it. However, the second, more efficient, and practical method is to buy a jar, and then I came across a few different glowing LED pet fireflies online, or you can simply get string lights and dangle them into the jar.
3. Waterboy Alaskan Glacier Water
With 2018s release of 100% Fresh and 2019s critically acclaimed release of Uncut Gems, it’s hard to ignore that we’re in the middle of a full-blown Adam Sandler resurgence. And as entertaining as it’s been over the last decade to poke fun at his various projects like Jack and Jill or The Ridiculous 6, it’s even more fulfilling to see something that comes off as being more charged or even emotionally driven like his performance in The Meyerowitz Stories.
Looking back beyond the last decade though, Adam Sandler was undoubtedly a talent that couldn’t miss, movies like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore turned The Sandman into something of a legend for people in my demographic. That love for Sandler is precisely the inspiration for the next of my DIY lighting ideas, which is something pulled directly from one of my favorite Sandman films, The Waterboy.
In the Waterboy Sandler’s character, Bobby has this rare flask of Alaskan glacier water that he believes contains mystical properties. Recreating this glowing blue flask as a lamp of sorts is an easy task and something sure to draw attention from anyone who was alive in the 90s. All that’s needed is a vase or flask that matches the shape of the one in The Waterboy, matte blue paint, and small LED lights. Once you have the materials, paint the outside of the flask with matte paint, place the small LED lights inside, and then admire the refreshing look of your new lamp.
4. Bat Signal
The Bat-Signal is another one of my DIY lighting Ideas that involves the use of shadows, but it brings an entirely different feeling to your room and is much more recognizable and customizable. The Bat-Signal is famous for being the police’s way of getting in touch with Batman; however, I’m sure we all know this since, for the 16-25 age range, The Dark Knight is one of the greatest movies ever made. And with that information, the only question left to ask is why you haven’t yet obtained a piece of memorabilia from one of our most significant cultural milestones.
All that’s needed to make the DIY Bat-Signal is a table-top spotlight and some cardboard for the bat cutout. Once you buy the table-top spotlight, which there are plenty of for under $15 online, place the bat cutout across the center of the light and send out your call to the caped crusader. And with the simplicity of this concept, if superheroes and Batman aren’t your thing, you can plaster whatever cutout you please over the light and let it shine.
5. Red Lighting
Red lighting may be the easiest to achieve out of all these DIY lighting ideas, but it also carries the most ambiance. Before going into all the benefits and novelties of having red lighting, we’ll first tackle the topic of how to obtain it, which is simply going to the store and buying a couple of red light bulbs, then swapping them out with your current ones.
Now before getting to the sexy reasons for having red light in your room, I’ll first explain the beneficial ones. Which has to do with the lower color temperature of red light and how it allows you to get a better night’s rest, something I’m sure many of us know nothing about.
Then there’s the more aesthetic reasoning, which centers around the mood that can be created with red lighting. Take a look at any film or photograph with stylized red lighting, it’s almost always used to portray either romance or a sense of anxiety and bad things to come. Just think of 2001: A Space Odyssey, American Beauty, Ex Machina, Drive, the list goes on and on. And I can see how those aren’t necessarily feelings you’d want to be steeped in 24/7, but I can also make a decent argument for doing it through the entire month of October, and I think that’s a fair compromise.