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10 Lighting Options for Rooms with No Overhead Lighting

May 8, 2020

Sometimes your dream apartment is in an ideal location and packed with amenities. But something feels off: you realize there’s no overhead lighting.

That can leave your new home feeling a little dark and dull. Should you keep apartment hunting?

No overhead lighting can pose a challenge if you violate your lease by installing your own fixtures. That could mean losing your security deposit or encountering issues with electrical safety. 

However, you can still liven up your apartment with the right lighting. That can solve your doldrums without compromising your lease. Here’s how to light a room with no overhead lighting.

1. Bring in All of the Natural Light

The easiest solution for no overhead lighting is to leverage the windows you already have in your apartment. Switch out curtains to light, breezy options that allow the most light to pour in. 

Opening up your windows and balcony door can also draw in the sunlight and fresh air. So can giving all your glass panes a good scrubbing. 

2. Hanging String Lights

String lights are trendy right now. Even better, you can find them on the cheap. 

Pick and choose different colors to liven up any room in your apartment and set the mood. Create a bohemian, dreamy aesthetic for your bedroom. You can create a livelier entertaining area for your living room.

3. Plug-in Wall Sconces

How nice do those wall sconces in the photo above look? It's easy to recreate the look of ornate wall sconces without the need for electrical work. Plug-in wall sconces are affordable, easy to install, and don't require any electrical wiring.

With tons of different styles to choose from, your apartment can look luxurious and decorative. It can also look sophisticated and modern, depending on your apartment's signature style. 

Add your favorite sconces above the sides of your bed for entryways to upgrade your apartment. 

4. Floor Lamps 

Oversized arc floor lamps work beautifully as statement pieces. However, any floor lamps will enhance your apartment lighting. You can go big and bold or opt for petite and elegant options that blend into the background. 

Place your favorite overhead floor lamp over an accent chair. That’ll create a sophisticated and cozy reading nook. 

5. Add More Light with Mirrors

Are your floor lamps not providing enough light? Point the light towards a decorative mirror. Then, it’ll shine more light throughout the room. 

You can also hang a mirror across from a window. That’ll mimic the look of additional windows and natural light. 

Scatter your favorite vintage, ornate, or decorative mirrors throughout your apartment. Doing that will turn your home into a dazzling dance of natural light.

6. Table Lamps

Put those side tables and surfaces to work with a decorative lamp to brighten up the room. Add lamps to your favorite end tables on the sides of your couch to light up your living room. 

Choose battery-powered options if you don’t have convenient outlets. Then, swap them out with decorative options that suit your mood.

7. Plug-in Pendant Light 

Longing for those hanging pendant lights in your friend’s swanky apartment? If your landlord allows a simple hook in your ceiling, you can hang a trendsetting pendant light. Plug the cord into the wall to recreate the look for yourself. 

Choose a chandelier to create a romantic bedroom. It can also create a bright and trendy option for your living room to set the party scene. Just do your best to hide the cord!

8. Flameless Candles

Although flame candles might be discouraged in your apartment complex, you can still recreate the vibe with electric flameless candles. Scattering electrical candles around a mantle, faux fireplace, or your dresser will create a dreamy lighting landscape once the sun sets. They won't illuminate your whole room, but the added light will be a lovely touch.

9. Use Smart Bulbs

Smart bulbs are a fun way to transform the tech in your apartment lighting without spending a fortune. A smart bulb or lighting hub can create the aesthetic you want, from oceanfront sunset to a dazzling city vibe. 

Consider taking it to the next step buy adding smart LED strips. Create a futuristic, illuminated border around your desk or TV stand.

10. Add More Accessories

There are more ways to add lighting around your apartment than a collection of lamps. Capture the light and reflect it around the room. 

You can achieve that by adding hanging crystals above your windows, glass bowls with colorful stones or seashells, and vases of flowers. The more you allow the light to pass through your apartment, the brighter every room in your home will feel. 

Final Thoughts

The challenges with how to light a room with no overhead lighting shouldn’t keep you from renting your ideal apartment. Instead, embrace it as an opportunity to create your own innovative lighting plan without the need for complicated wiring and expensive add-ons.

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Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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