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Working With What You’ve Got: Lighting

In this series, we’ll be talking through styling spaces that have features out of your control, such as lighting. Whether it’s a rental or you’re just trying to save up for the renovation, here’s some tips for making the space work as is.


The lighting in your space is lacking.

We’d venture a guess that natural lighting is a top priority for many people when they’re choosing a home or an apartment. However, amazing natural lighting in every room is a hard feat to accomplish even in new construction spaces, and even more difficult in urban settings like Chicago where homes are packed in, blocking light even if there are windows. So what do you do when that sunlight is just not catchable? Here’s some tips to bring more light in every part of your home.

modern light fixture in living room


Sometimes switching the style of bulb or its brightness can go a long way. Try swapping old bulbs for brighter LEDs, which diffuse light better and last much longer!


Table lamps, floor lamps, sconces and recessed lighting are easy ways to add a large amount of light at one time. For floor and table lamps, or hanging pendants, choose a light that has a white lampshade. This will give you the highest output of light. Avoid lampshades that are metal and/or built into the light since they diffuse light less and For table lamps, the bottom of the lampshade should be at your eye level when you’re sitting on your sofa/chair.


Desk lamps, under cabinet lights, and picture lights can add light to specific areas that aren’t reached by the current light setup in your space. These are usually only used at times when you need that specific light.

lamps and recessed lighting in bedroom


Use decor that is light in color. Bright white is an easy way to lighten up a room. Keep this in mind when choosing paint colors for a room as well.


A great way to add light to a space and make it feel larger at the same time! Position your mirror (whether it’s hung on a wall or leaning on the floor) so that whatever natural light is coming into the space gets reflected to another area of the room. (Check out our blog post about creative ways to use mirrors through your space.)


Adding an element of nature (whether they’re real plants or fake!) automatically brightens a space and gives a sense of lightness. If you’re going for real ones, choose plants that thrive with the amount of natural light you’re getting in your space.

several lighting styles and sources in one room


If possible, put your lighting on dimmers, so you can get the right amount of light at every hour of the day!

Remember every room is going to need multiple types of lighting. Which types will be determined by both the amount of light the room gets throughout a day and how the room is being used.


PS – We talked lighting trends in a Tuesdays at Two session! You can watch the full video here.

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