Just Say No to the Brass Nipple! Alternatives to Builder-Grade Flush Mount Lighting

I get lots of requests from design clients and blog readers for recommendations for alternatives to those generic builder-grade flush mount light fixtures in their entries and hallways.  You know – the dreaded nipple lights:


 Dated Brass Nipple Light


My decorating experience here in Nashville and with online clients has certainly forced me to find some good alternatives to the builder-grade fixture.   While the options are a bit limited in this price range, here are a few you can score at big box stores (either Lowes or Home Depot) for under $100:

  rectangle semi-flush, only 13 1/2 tall

 via Pinterest

  $84 semi-flush fixture 12" tall

 via Pinterest


Drum shades are great for a contemporary or transitional look – choose one with a linen or pleated shade if you want it to tie in with traditional decor.

Allen Roth 12" Nickel Fabric Semi-Flush Mount Light. $58.98 at Lowes

via Pinterest



drum shade semi-flush light - only 12 1/2 inches tall

via Pinterest



Any light fixture with seeded or bubble glass gets my vote – the light is diffused, rather than glaring.  I’d still use frosted bulbs, though.

flush mount seeded glass

via Pinterest



Retro or schoolhouse lighting is also an option:

via Pinterest



For a little bit of bling or old-world glamour, try these two:

7 inches,

via Pinterest


crystal semi-flush

via Pinterest


Small lanterns or carriage-style lighting works nicely with almost any decor.

iron lantern-like fixture 13 1/2 inches tall

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11-1/2 inches

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If you want to find out more about the lighting I featured here or need even more options for the builder-grade light fixtures, check out my pinboard called I Light It Like That on Pinterest.  If you aren’t following The Decorologist on Pinterest, what are you waiting for?  And yes, I do realize most of the lights here still have a nipple. They just don’t look as boob-like overall, so that’s an improvement!


  1. Kristie, did you sneak into my home and take a photo of our dreaded nipple light in our hallway??? We had 12 of them when we moved in….2 left. I do like a few of your suggestions so hopefully the last two will be gone by Summer.

  2. Nipple lights…the cardinal sin of builders. Thanks for giving us some options that have a big impact and a small price tag. Your blog is a daily-read for me down here in Huntsville, AL.

  3. Surprisingly, Lowes has some nice, inexpensive alternatives. Their selection is pretty good and very reasonable.

  4. my daughter has this nipple light in her bedroom and she wants a chandelier. do you know what do I need extra to make the conversion? or nothing extra needed?

  5. Those boob lights again! I even mentioned you in a post I did about them a few months ago! I know how you love them! :)

  6. Oh No the dreaded Boob/Nipple lights. I like several of the options you showed. Just might have to visit Lowes and update on in an extra bedroom. I read your blog daily and really enjoy it. Thanks for the suggestions.

  7. I agree with you and also dislike those nipple fixtures (yuk!). I have that very first light fixture that you show above (the one right after the “nipple” fixture at the top). I purchased it at Home Depot online and LOVE it. First of all, it is made with a WHITE (not off-white or beige as it is shown in the photo) organza-type fabric on the outside shade. This fixture is in my hallway which is painted a creamy white (Behr’s Eggshell Cream) and I wanted to keep the “creaminess” style, so I painted the fixture (the brown parts) and the upside down finial in the Eggshell Cream Semi-Gloss (left over from painting my crown molding and trim). Voila! I now have a fixture that looks fabulous in my “creamy” colored hallway. The fixture is so elegant and looks like it cost hundreds.

  8. So glad to hear someone else refer to these lights this way. I call them boob lights. I like all of your recommendations for “boob reduction.” light fixtures, that is

  9. Valerie Petschulat says:

    I've always said our lights look like boobs!  Glad to know I'm not alone!


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