By Julia Ingalls
How can something as simple as a light dramatically transform your living space from a basement crash pad into a chic, relaxing apartment? The truth is that lighting isn’t just a frivolous accessory; it can change how we perceive our surroundings, which subsequently affects our mood. Many apartment dwellers erroneously feel that acquiring transformative lighting is either too expensive or won’t work for their particular set-up. However, whether you live in a penthouse or a garden-level studio, these simple and inexpensive lighting tricks will make you feel as if you live in a palace.
No Windows? No Problem
If you’ve ever lived in a major metropolis, you’re undoubtedly familiar with apartments that have only bricked-up or non-existent windows. While this seems like a challenge, it’s actually an opportunity in disguise. Some apartment dwellers use the bricked-up window as an outline for a light box or fake skylight. If you have an apartment with a long, unbroken wall, choose a space where you would like a window. Buy a few fluorescent lights and then put an opaque, translucent surface in front of them, such as a sheet of frosted glass. This will create an ambient glow that mimics natural sunlight. The room will immediately feel far warmer and more accessible. This same technique works for fake skylights; just mount the lights and the opaque surface on the ceiling.
Room Without a View?
So you’ve found the perfect space, but it looks out on the back of a staircase, or the less scenic side of a water heater. Instead of making do with an uninspiring, poorly-lit view, transform the window into a source of light and intrigue. By building a lit display shelf into the window frame, you can bolster the available light while also creating an intriguing tableaux. Plant boxes are a popular and inexpensive option, as are displays of art objects and other accessories.
Increase the Light You Do Have
Just because you have large windows doesn’t mean that you’re making the best use of light in your apartment. For example, windows that look out on a yard may let in light at certain times of day that make the apartment very hot. By using shutters and light-colored curtains, you can control and modify how light enters your apartment. This will allow you to enjoy the maximum amount of light without experiencing uncomfortable extremes in temperature. Additionally, by using directional blinds, you can project light into areas of the apartment that would otherwise not receive any illumination.
Create Lighting Zones
Light is about perception, which means that you can change how you feel about your apartment by experimenting with lighting in different areas. An inexpensive and fun way to do this is to use rope-lights on the staircase, floor lamps in the corner, and an under-the-counter mounted fixture in the kitchen. The different “zones” of lighting will create the impression of depth and complexity, which will transform your apartment from one space into several.
Whatever you do in terms of lighting, remember: have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to try out new lighting techniques and discard them, depending on what makes you feel the best. It’s your living space: find the light that works for you.