May 26th, 2017
A well lit room is inviting. It draws you in and makes you want to stay. A poorly lit room, on the other hand, makes you uncomfortable and makes you start coming up with reasons to be someplace else. Adding or changing lighting can have a huge impact on a room, so if you’re looking for a high-value change to make in your apartment decor, start with light:
Interior designers divide light into the categories of ambient (general illumination, such as you get from ceiling mounted fixtures), task (lighting focused on a task done in a specific spot), and accent (lighting that draws attention to features). It is accent lighting that is most often ignored, but that elevates whatever it touches. Give your apartment decor the panache of a gallery by adding clip-on picture lights to important framed art. (And “important” means “important to you,” without regard for sticker price.) Or direct uplights onto framed pieces for a subtler, more diffused effect. You can also use uplights to draw attention to architectural features, special displays, wall hangings, a beautiful plant…you get the idea.
Mirrors pack a lot of decorative punch for the dollar. A framed mirror on an interior wall captures natural light from the window and sends it back into the room from the opposite direction. And don’t stop with mirrors. Any shiny surface captures and reflects the light around it, and you can add interest and sparkle to your apartment decor by choosing reflective elements to add to arrangements, use as decorative pieces, or include in your furnishings.
Shadowed areas at the edges of rooms steal visual space. Add accent lighting in shelving units, under kitchen cabinets, and on the undersides of overhanging shelves. Adhesive strip LED lights are inexpensive and easy to add and remove. The extra brightness and perceived space will do a lot for your apartment decor, turning previously invisible spaces into focal points, and making the work you do there (such as on the kitchen counter) much more pleasant.
Gone are the days of just grabbing a 60-watt bulb and living with what it gave you. You have choices now, and need to understand what you’re getting between incandescent, halogen, compact fluorescent, filament, and LED. This primer is a good place to get a handle on what the different types of bulbs do. But be sure to also take a look at in-store displays. Once you have a sense for what you like, be consistent with the color and intensity of the bulbs you use in your apartment decor. Avoid mixing bright, bluish whites and warmer yellows. This goes for shades as well as bulbs.
With the right touches of light, you can transform your apartment decor to make your home the warm and inviting retreat you want.