9 Best Lighting Ideas For Apartments How To Make A Dark

October 22, 2018 5:20 am by sandiego
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9 Best Lighting Ideas For Apartments How To Make A Dark

With dark corners, lack of floor space and a sparse number of windows, trying to achieve well-lit surroundings in a tiny apartment can be an uphill battle. Follow these essential tips, though, and your gloomy digs will look a sun-drenched penthouse in no time.

When you’re short on square footage, take advantage of height instead. Torchiere floor lamps are ideal for apartments lacking in area because they provide plenty of light without taking up much needed floor or tabletop space. Murphy suggests choosing a lamp that multitasks — meaning it has a torchiere top and a task light midway up — to get the most out of your fixture.

Using dimmers can also instantly change the mood of a room. “They regulate light intensity for a more intimate ambiance,” says Burgos.

2.  In How to Lighten Up a Dim Apartment, readers offered up using lots of table lamps rather than overhead (table lamps = my design fetish, so thanks guys!). Some also suggested light-colored walls, artwork and floors. Painted floors aren’t practical in a rental, but I like the idea of adding a light-colored shag or rug.

“Lighter lamp shades will allow more light out into the room, while darker shades will make the light more localized and shine above and below the fixture,” says Pinkerton.

I’ve recently found myself in the dark. I work in a windowless office (well, those who have windows keep their shades down because of “glare”) and I am temporarily living with my boyfriend who has a lower-floor apartment with no direct sunlight. I’m dying.

My boyfriend and I just moved into a new apartment, and it’s so dark the apartment literally feels like it’s halfway underground. (It’s not. We checked, and double-checked.) We also just found out we’re expecting, so our budget is this side of none. How can I add some light to the place without spending a ton of money? I like the cozy feel, but I also don’t want to feel like I’m living underground since I’m going to be spending so much time at home. Help, please!

3.  In Tips for Lighting Your Home from a Pro Designer, designer Melanie Freundlicho suggests keeping different parts of a room at different brightness levels to prevent lighting fatigue.

Don’t be afraid to forego traditional lampshades, however. If your end goal is a room flooded with light, Murphy suggests ditching traditional shades altogether, and instead choosing lights with glass or mesh shades, or opting for Edison-style lighting where bulbs are left exposed.

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Incorporating a bold ceiling fixture will direct attention upward and open up your space. “A large, even over-scale ceiling fixture can add illumination and drama, and also trick the eye into thinking the space is much larger than it actually is,” say interior designer and Lamps Plus trends producer Michael Murphy.

Dimmers are the only way to truly have flexible lighting in your home. Pinkerton suggests incorporating dimmer switches wherever possible, and choosing lamps that have either high/low switches or 3-way bulbs.

1. Lighting. Adding great lighting is such an easy fix, and it makes a huge difference. What you want to do is create a wash of light rather than having it come from one source, so place light fixtures at different levels around your space. And if your landlord will let you swap out the central fixture (or add one), go for one with multiple bulbs. My living room is pretty dark and a little cave-like, and adding this Sputnik-style chandelier (which is 41% off, btw) was absolutely transformative for the space.

4.  Finally, in Small Space Lighting Solution, AT contrib Susie Nadler shows some IKEA rooms that mix pendants lamps at different heights to increase lighting and create a cozy and warm effect in a space. 

“Ceiling lights can brighten a whole room, but only with other lighting sources. A single ceiling fixture used as the only light source is heinous and does nothing to enhance your room,” says Sid Pinkerton, owner of Manhattan Staging.

That doesn’t mean you should totally nix all other lighting sources, though. Ceiling fixtures don’t usually work as standalones if you’re already lacking in natural light.

1.  In 5 Ways to Make a Small, Dark Room Feel Larger, tips include using accessories to emit and reflect light (like mirrors, glass, and metal); making a window appear larger by flanking it with floor-length curtains; and choosing low-profile furniture, which will help with our low ceilings too.

Mirrors! It’s a cliche, but it’s one that really works. (I love the idea of a gallery wall of mismatched vintage mirrors, as pictured above.)White paint reflects whatever light there is and makes the walls sort of visually disappear; if you want a pure white (no blue/pink/green/whatever undertones) try Benjamin Moore Super White 02.

(Pale greens and yellows are also good picks, because they’ll add a little bit of nature to the room – but my personal preference is white.)You might also want to consider a (subtle) metallic wallpaper on one wall – the metallic detail will reflect the light and make the room feel larger while adding texture for warmth.

 (Lulu & Georgia has cute temporary wallpapers; I love this gold one.)Plants do wonders to make a space feel bright and airy; philodendrons, parlor palms and peace lilies all do well in low-light conditions.

A ceiling or floor fan will keep the air moving and make the space feel fresher.Try incorporating light-reflecting fabrics (like all-white bedding) into your decor wherever possible.

I live in foggy San Francisco too, so needless to say I’m craving light in a bad way. In the meantime, I’m dreaming up ways to brighten my bf’s pad. We bought some sheer curtains yesterday to start, and will work on replacing his bulbs with daylight ones. Today, I decided to dig into the Apartment Therapy vault for more ideas:

2. Tidiness. Especially if you’re dealing with low ceilings, nothing will make a dark space feel uncomfortably confining more than clutter. I know I’m like the eight millionth person to jump on this bandwagon, but if you haven’t read this book yet, do it – because the less stuff you try to pack into your new space, the better (especially because you’re about to acquire a bunch of baby stuff on top of the stuff you’ve already got).

I hope that helps! And congrats on your new addition (and if you want some small-space nursery tips, click here 🙂 ).

Another way to work with a lack of square footage? Avoid taking up valuable floor space altogether and utilize your walls with mounted fixtures like sconces, which can be as eye-catching as any art piece. “Sconces as bedside lighting save space on crowded bedside tables and are a beautiful surprise,” says interior designer Amanda Nisbet.

When choosing light fixtures, it’s important to not only consider the overall brightness in the room, but also to think about the areas of your home where you’ll need focused light for a task, like reading at a desk. Task lighting is especially useful in apartment kitchens. “Under-cabinet lighting will give you all the light you need to see the tasks at hand on counters,” says Pinkerton.

(Image: Addie’s “Sealskin + Ivory” Room/Room for Color Contest 2012)

Tall floor lamps are also ideal for the narrow corners of a room that are often overlooked, but shouldn’t be. “Placing a floor lamp or table lamp can help disperse light in the room and provide illumination in the otherwise dim nooks and crannies,” says Murphy.

Do you have more lighting tips for a dark space? Please share below!

You already know that mirrors can help ­­make a room appear larger, but Murphy also suggests placing mirrors directly across from windows to help bounce light around the room and maximize what’s already there. “It’ll provide the illusion that there are more windows than you really have.”

“It’s more relaxing and sends signals to your body to relax for better sleep at night,” says Burgos.

That’s because blue light can suppress melatonin, which promotes sleep. Think Apple’s new “Night Shift” mode for the iPhone, for example, which makes your iPhone’s light warmer after dark.

A. Over the years, I have lived in many “cozy” spaces (a.k.a. shoeboxes with few – or no – windows). And what I’ve found is that two factors make the biggest difference in terms of whether your apartment feels like a place you want to be: lighting and tidiness.

The lighting in your home should make your space feel inviting — not like you’re sitting in a cold waiting room. To accomplish that, interior designer Marie Burgos suggests sticking with bulbs that emit a softer, yellow light.

Lampshades, if you use them at all, aren’t just decorative accents — they actually make a big difference in the quality of light you get out of your lamp. Therefore, it’s important know what your lighting goal is when choosing a shade.

Function is key when choosing lighting for your apartment, but don’t overlook the importance of how your lights tie in with your overall aesthetic for a seamless look. “Treat your lighting like a piece of furniture,” Burgos suggests. “You can have different material finishes like metal, glass, wood, or concrete, for example, which would tie your light fixture to your look.”

To get that soft, yellow light, you’ll want to look for incandescent bulbs, Murphy says, which are lower on the Kelvin scale than other lights.

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