10 Apartment Lighting Ideas That Are Borderline Genius

Updated 04/29/19

Unless you're purchasing a sprawling penthouse à la Fredrik Eklund, apartments often notoriously come with a unique set of issues: little natural light, low ceilings, and limited space. But that's not something a little dose of clever lighting can't fix. While apartments old and new often come with standard builder-grade lighting, from recessed spotlights in newer buildings to the infamous "boob lamps" in older pre-war spaces, they are rarely great.

Invest a little in quality lighting in every room to make a huge impact in the overall feel of your space.

The right lighting can not only set the right mood in your home, making it feel extra cozy especially in colder months, it can also save you precious space and improve the functionality of more task-oriented rooms like the kitchen and bathroom. So if you feel like your home could use a dose of lighting improvements, start with these clever apartment lighting ideas and light up your nights before days start getting shorter.

Try an Eye-Catching Flush Mount

Apartment Lighting Ideas
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Low ceilings can be a challenge in small spaces, but you can trick the eye into elevating your ceilings by placing an eye-catching flush mount chandelier. Not only will it not be cumbersome to light a low-hanging chandelier, it will draw the eye up and add visual interest and provide multidimensional lighting more than a single flush mount would.

Angelo Lelli Brass and Opaline Shade Flush Mount Chandelier $5142

Install Task Lighting in the Kitchen

Best Apartment Lighting Ideas
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Does your kitchen only have overhead lighting? Improve form and function by adding a plug-in or hardwired task wall light. Not only will it make your space feel layered and chic, it will also create a moodier ambiance that will make you want to cook and help with the minute tasks that you normally would have executed in the dark.

Aerin Charlton Wall Light $449

Drop a Low Pendant in the Bathroom

Apartment Lighting Tips
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Most run-of-the-mill apartments only have overhead lighting in the bathroom, but it's less than ideal for getting ready in the morning, especially if the space is low on natural light. To make your bathroom lighting more dimensional, add sconces flanking the vanity mirror, or, if you're looking for a more space-saving solution, try hanging a low pendant from the ceiling to come down to the height where a sconce would be.

Cedar & Moss Ramona Sconce $369

Add a Variety of Light Sources

Apartment Lighting Solutions
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Living rooms are always best appointed when they feature a variety of lighting sources dispersed in a triangular pattern around the room and at differing heights. Use a variety of floor lamps, table lamps, and ceiling fixtures to make your living room feel ultra cozy and moody. And don't forget to put everything on dimmers.

Flos Aim Pendant $795

Hang a Picture Light

Best Lighting Ideas
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Picture lights are traditionally used to showcase paintings or library shelves, but they can double as a reading sconce if hung directly over a banquette or chair. Best of all, a picture light will instantly elevate your space to look more expensive than it actually is. 

E.F. Chapman Cabinet Maker's Picture Light $339

Hide a Lamp in a Bookcase

Lighting Ideas
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If you're short on space, hide a smaller lamp in a bookcase. It will add dimension to your lighting plan without overtaking a surface like a credenza or a side table. Pick a lamp that's a little sculptural and interesting so it will look perfectly in its place on the shelves.

Stemlite White Glass Egg and Blue Metal Tulip Base Lamp $500

Replace Bedside Table Lamps With Sconces

Lighting Tips
Monica Wang

Last but certainly not least, replace your bedside lamps with sconces to save precious nightstand space. If you have the room, hang them on the outside of the bed frame, but they can also be hung directly above the bed in tighter quarters.

Cedar & Moss Tumwater Wood Arm Sconce $489

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