Bridget’s Suburban Ranch After Dark

Last week, Casey shared a tour of her home “after dark”. We are constantly showcasing our homes in the light bright daylight, but we don’t often reveal these spots when the sun goes down. Why not?!

We were honored to be included (and inspired!) by the A Night In series, hosted by Chris Loves Julia and Yellow Brick Home. But in that post, we only showcased Casey’s family room after dark. We figured why not re-visit this genius concept (thanks for the inspo, Kim & Julia!) and showcase more of our homes after dark. Today I’m giving you a glimpse into what our home looks like after that light, bright daylight disappears. Here’s our suburban ranch after dark.

B’s Suburban Ranch After Darkkitchen dining room after dark

Family Room After Dark

Because it’s the dead of winter here in Chicago, I feel like the darkness starts creeping into our home way too early! I’m all about the natural light, so much so that the amount of natural light this house lets in was one of the biggest selling points for me when we bought this house.

Don’t get me wrong, I love our house at night too, but I definitely prefer the light.

family room after dark
Gray Couch // Leather Couch // Table // Chair (vintage) // Rug // Built-in Details

This is probably why we added lots of can lights during phase one of our construction. Can lights don’t exactly create a moody, after dark atmosphere, but they do brighten up our house a lot. And that’s important for someone like me.

We did make all of the can lights dimmable, so they don’t always have to be on and extra bright. But let’s be honest, they usually are!

family room lights onIn terms of additional lighting in the family room, it’s pretty non-existent. This is actually a design no-no (remember this rookie mistake?!). But adding additional light sources so you have the option for a cozier or moody vibe at night is definitely on my 2019 home goals list. I’m on the hunt for a floor and/or table lamp in here because it is important to have options outside of just overhead lighting.

Kitchen After Dark

I know I’m on the naughty list when it comes to different light sources in our family room, but ironically, I’m on the overachiever list when it comes to various light sources in our kitchen.

kitchen lights on after dark

Shelves // Vintage Rug // Table // Chairs // Sconces // Light Fixture

We have can lights, we have 3 wall sconces, we have under cabinet lighting, and we have a hood light. That’s a lot of lights!

I do love having all of these options, but I wouldn’t say these are all necessary. Having 2, maybe 3, options is amazing. Having 4+ is a bit excessive.

sconces above open shelvingBut the good news is that I never have all of these lights on at the same time. Even a light lover like me thinks that’s too much! We typically keep the sconces above the shelves and kitchen sink on at night and the can lights, hood light, and under cabinet lighting off.

dining room with lights onBut we will put the can lights and under cabinet lighting on if we’re working in the kitchen after dark, but usually, it’s only on until that job is done. We rarely, if ever, use the hood light because the LED bulbs are a different tone than the rest of the room’s lighting.

Ben loves to point at these buttons though, so we switch the hood light (and fan!) on and off to entertain him. But beyond that, the hood light is always off.

Dining Room

Next up, the dining room, where I finally found a happy medium between not enough light sources and too many light sources.

dining room lit up after dark

Table // Chairs // Rug // Light Fixture // Pitcher // Eucalyptus

We have can lights, a hanging chandelier, and under cabinet lighting. To me, this is the sweet spot when it comes to the amount of lighting.

dining room light fixtureIf we’re eating, working, or doing anything productive in the dining room, we rely on the can lights (sometimes with the chandelier on as well). But once we’re just relaxing in the family room or not directly using the dining room, we switch off the can lights and rely solely on the dimmable chandelier.

The under-the-cabinet lights are an amazing option to have (we love them!). But honestly, we typically only put them on if we are having people over or doing some type of project right there. In those cases, we use this counter space as a buffet, dessert “table”, extra prep space, etc.


Last, but not least on my after dark tour, let’s chat about bedroom lighting.

Nursery After Darklights on in the nursery

Crib // Pouf // Rug // Rocker // Lamp // Mirror

We chose not to put can lights in Ben’s room during phase one of construction because he has such great natural light in there. This was a mistake and one of my biggest construction regrets!

Although the flush mount light offers a lot of light, having the additional can lights would have been amazing. This light lover can never have too much light, remember?!

nursery lamp in the darkWe’ll probably never make this change because it’s such a mess (especially with plaster!), but it’s a lesson we’ve learned from for the future. In the meantime, we use the floor lamp and his camera night light (not sold anymore, but originally from CB Kids) every single night.

I rock him every night while giving him his bottle with the camera nightlight on. When the bottle is done, I lay Ben in his crib, turn off the nightlight, and the cutie pie is out like a light (pun intended).nursery night light

Master Bedroom After Dark

lights on after dark in bedroom

Bed // Sconces // Rug // Nightstands

Thankfully, we did have can lights installed in our bedroom and get so much use out of them. But we still haven’t decided on what fixture to put in the middle of the room so we’ve been living with this unsightly fan until then. Maybe this is the year I’ll finally change it?!

bedroom sconces at nightWe also added these affordable sconces (after spray painting them!) and get a ton of use out of those too. Usually, we put these on as we climb into bed. We’ll keep them on if we read or chat and eventually turn them off when it’s time to sleep. I love that we don’t have to get up and turn off the light because they’re right next to the bed. So easy!

Lighting Is A Work In Progress

Figuring out the perfect lights both in and outside of our home has been a sloooowwww work in progress. In full disclosure, I still have 6 light fixtures (on the first floor alone!!) that I want to change but haven’t gotten around to deciding on the perfect new fixture.

missing light fixtureThree of these lights aren’t even fixtures; they’re just a hanging light bulb with nothing!

home tour during the eveningEither way, I’m here to prove that creating the perfect combination of light in your home takes time… and that’s okay! Over time I hope to chip away at creating a well-lit home that is stylish and functional. We’ve made lots of progress so far, but there’s obviously still room for improvement.


P.S. If you’re new around here and want to see what our house looks like during those light, bright hours I love so much… you can take a full tour here!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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