The Outdated Lighting Trend HGTV's Jenn Todryk Says To Leave In The Past

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Home lighting trends come and go, which means that, in an older home, you often get stuck with lighting that has already aged itself beyond stylish and into dated territory. In a recent episode of "No Demo Reno, " HGTV's Jenn Todryk helped a family transform a chaotic and dated home into a modern, well-appointed space, featuring what she called a "mommy cave," a respite for the harried mother of small children with another on the way. One of the first things she removed from the space to bring it into the 21st century? The huge rail of metal 1970s-style track lighting that flanked one wall.

Todryk used re-purposed materials to create a calm oasis out of a previously dark and drab room, adding white couches and walls, a new fireplace surround made from salvaged bricks, and a wall covered with built-ins to hold the TV and children's toys. The lighting change, however, was perhaps one the most dramatic elements, with Todryk removing the room's ceiling fan and replacing the track lights with recessed canister lights. 

Today's track lighting

Track lighting, which emerged in the 1960s and 1970s as a popular option for modern lighting, replaced the lamps and ceiling fixtures of the mid-20th century, offering a more modern look that allowed you to train the spotlights on desired areas of the room. It was initially used in department stores to highlight merchandise. It not only gave rooms more thorough lighting but allowed a bit more control over placement and light intensity. While some homes still use track lighting today, it has been more often replaced with recessed lights in the ceiling that call less attention to themselves, offering the same all-over lighting, but saving you from having an unsightly track running along your ceiling. 

In the episode, the home's track lights also sported very dated large metal fixtures, which are much more ungainly than track light options today. Today's track lighting tends to be more discreet and used in rooms with other ceiling accents like exposed wood beams. They have smaller bulbs, rails, and fixtures. More often, modern rooms are reveling in the varied and diverse options available for lighting, with stylish pendant lights, chandeliers, and statement lights that resemble works of art being popular choices, sometimes used in combination with smaller track lights or recessed lighting in key spots.

Other alternatives to track lighting

In older homes and vintage buildings, recessed lighting is not always an option, but there are some other great alternatives to fully and stylishly light your home. While lamps and ceiling fixtures have endured in popularity, do not underestimate the usefulness of sconces and picture rail lights to illuminate dark areas. They are perfect for highlighting artwork and framing areas like doorways and fireplaces. Smaller lights can illuminate spots where overhead lights may not reach and lamps may not fit.

There are also ways to get great lighting even if you cannot undergo costly electrical work to get lights where you need them, with many LED battery-operated bulbs, like these from Amazon, allowing you to install chandeliers and overhead lighting without attaching them to the home's electrical system. For kitchens, which often sport ungainly track lighting in older homes, great alternatives include under-the-sink puck lights, which can be operated via a remote, combined with a simple wired pendant light above.