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Apartment Lighting Advice?

fredfred

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I did a search and couldn't find a good thread on this topic. I'm hoping some here can offer advice.

I have a feeling lighting is key to making an apartment look good. In northern areas, it is dark for a long part of the day/evening in the winter. So lighting an apartment will affect your surroundings for a major portion of the day.

Unfortunately, I have no clue about lighting. I'd like to go for "warm" and "comfortable", but am open to other ideas. I have a nice apartment that looks out over Manhattan, but at the moment something doesn't feel right in terms of lighting.

Can anyone suggest:

- General Strategies
- Sources for information
- Sources for lights

Thank you.
 

johnapril

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You rent, so you probably can't installed recessed lighting on a dimmer.
 

freshcutgrass

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Most people will tell you to layer, using a combination of task, ambient and accent lighting. Personally, I don't care for recessed lighting in a living room, as I don't find hidden light sources very interesting...they are ok for kitchens or other utility focused areas. Lighting is the jewelry of your room....it's what people notice. Generally speaking, go for more sources with lower wattage, as opposed to less sources with more wattage, but netting out the same amount of desired illumination. This creates more visual interest and better mood. The 7 watt light bulb is your friend. My personal taste is way out in left field, as I opt to create ambient lighting with just tons of accent lighting that serves both purposes. In my modest sized living room, I have 23 light fixtures, representing 33 light bulbs (table lamps, sconces, picture lights and hanging lamps)...all on simultaneously....and it still reads as somewhat on the dark side. Although you don't need to go that far...unless you are a lighting collector like myself. But I find people don't allocate enough of their budget toward quality lighting.
 

johnapril

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Yeah, that's why in a living room you put in cans on a dimmer. So you don't feel like you live in a cave.
 

Renault78law

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Originally Posted by freshcutgrass
Most people will tell you to layer, using a combination of task, ambient and accent lighting.

Personally, I don't care for recessed lighting in a living room, as I don't find hidden light sources very interesting...they are ok for kitchens or other utility focused areas. Lighting is the jewelry of your room....it's what people notice.

Generally speaking, go for more sources with lower wattage, as opposed to less sources with more wattage, but netting out the same amount of desired illumination. This creates more visual interest and better mood. The 7 watt light bulb is your friend.

My personal taste is way out in left field, as I opt to create ambient lighting with just tons of accent lighting that serves both purposes. In my modest sized living room, I have 23 light fixtures, representing 33 light bulbs (table lamps, sconces, picture lights and hanging lamps)...all on simultaneously....and it still reads as somewhat on the dark side.

Although you don't need to go that far...unless you are a lighting collector like myself. But I find people don't allocate enough of their budget toward quality lighting.

pics?
 

fredfred

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Thanks freshcutgrass. I didn't even know a 7 watt bulb existed. I thought you had made a typo. I'll go investigate what types of lights use those.

23 lights in one room? Wow. I knew somebody on this board would know about the topic. Thanks for making me feel not crazy about the importance of lighting - or at least that somebody else thinks about it.

I'll have to go "jewelry shopping" this weekend.
 

spertia

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Definitely go for dimmers. I replaced about 80% of the light switches in my house with Lutron dimmers (incredibly easy -- if you rent, you can switch back to the regular switches when you leave and take the dimmers with you), and I'll never look back. I can't believe how many people don't have dimmers on their lights. Even with free-standing lamps (i.e., not hard-wired), you can buy dimmer switches for about $10; you simply plug the lamp into the dimmer switch and then plug the switch into the wall. Instant improvement.
 

Dewey

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Dimmers are a serious problem if you listen to AM radio. I can't iron shirts without AM radio.

Freshcutgrass, that's great advice. I am also a lighting guy but for me, it's less about the number of fixtures and more about well-timed adjustment. There are some basics here: if you are having drinks, dim the lights, since the alcohol will dilate your pupils and make brighter lights uncomfortable.
 

fredfred

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Is there a "go to" online source for lights? My weekend looking in NYC was not too successful. I suspect I went to the wrong places.
 

dkzzzz

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Originally Posted by johnapril
You rent, so you probably can't installed recessed lighting on a dimmer.

This is the most hideous type of lighting you can install in your home. Welcome to the office circa 1989.
 

otc

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My dorm room the second year of college had unsatisfactory lighting so I came up with what I thought was a pretty good solution (obviously I could not replace the existing fixtures or do anything permanent).

I bought a pair of those paper globe lights that hang by their cord from the ceilign with a light bulb in the center. I hung those but didn't want to be stuck using the integrated switches on the cords so I built a dimmer unit.

I went to home depot and bought a dimmer switch, a 2 socket outlet, a 2x2 surface mount box and an extension cord. I connected the dimmer switch to the outlets and cut off one end of the extension cord and connected it to the other side of the dimmer switch. Put this all in the surface mount box, mounted on the wall next to the room's original light switch and plugged the globe lights into the sockets. Worked great...I had good non-glaring light and thanks to the dimmer, easily accessable mood lighting!
 

johnapril

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Originally Posted by dkzzzz
This is the most hideous type of lighting you can install in your home. Welcome to the office circa 1989.

Umm. No.
 

von Rothbart

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I always associate recessed lighting with dropped ceilings.
 

arisyap

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Originally Posted by fredfred
I did a search and couldn't find a good thread on this topic. I'm hoping some here can offer advice.

I have a feeling lighting is key to making an apartment look good. In northern areas, it is dark for a long part of the day/evening in the winter. So lighting an apartment will affect your surroundings for a major portion of the day.

Unfortunately, I have no clue about lighting. I'd like to go for "warm" and "comfortable", but am open to other ideas. I have a nice apartment that looks out over Manhattan, but at the moment something doesn't feel right in terms of lighting.

Can anyone suggest:

- General Strategies
- Sources for information
- Sources for lights

Thank you.


Well first of all, I would advice to make the most out of the natural light available in your apartment. You can hang mirrors, particularly opposite window or replace an inner door with a glass panelled door. Now with your electric light, layer the lighting throughout the room so you have the right kind of lighting for your different needs, for example table lamps and ceiling lights. Then you can add accent lights to give texture and shade to all general lighting by adding depth and shade with different shadows and pools of light. Also, you can install central pendant as a background lighting.
 

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