Posted on

Knowing When Your Apartment Needs a Lighting Makeover

Knowing When Your Apartment Needs a Lighting Makeover

An empty apartment is a lot like a blank canvas. You have a range of options to choose from in terms of colours, textures, and objects. The entire canvas is at your creative disposal. 

However, it’s pretty easy to get overwhelmed when given that many options. Most apartment owners or renters spend heap-loads of time choosing the right sofa configuration for their living room, but won’t think twice about that rooms’ lighting. 

Lighting has often been regarded as the easiest thing to master. It is, nevertheless, the easiest thing to get wrong. Maybe you spent a little less time than you should’ve on lighting when you first moved in. It’s time to rectify that mistake and get it right the second time around!

Identifying When You Need A Lighting Makeover

Cozy living room interior with floor lamp

Credits: Unsplash, Deborah Cortelazzi

  • You feel undue stress on your eyes while performing tasks such as reading, writing, chopping, and anything of the sort because of inadequate light. 
  • Besides general illumination, there isn’t much going on in your living space. 
  • You have a hard time at focusing on particular objects at a distance because of improper lighting.
  • The lighting in your apartment doesn’t set a vibe when you have guests over besides a gloomy one.

What is a Lighting Plan?

Stylish living room interior with floor lamp

Credits: Unsplash, Jarek Ceborski

The Lighting Research Center puts comfort, control, and energy efficiency as the overall goal for home lighting solutions. The lighting in your home has to be all three of the aforementioned goals in order to be as functional as possible.

It all starts with a lighting plan. A lighting plan is a floor plan, but for multiple lighting elements (fixtures and movable lights). It begins with mapping out the entire room as you would for a floor plan, but contrary to a floor plan you aren’t looking to incorporate furniture or evaluating space as per se. 

Lighting Plan

For a lighting plan, a schematic representation of the room is necessary along with representations of what goes on in different parts of the room. For example, a lighting plan for the living room would include the sofa in one corner, a reading chair in another, and perhaps the dining table at another in an open space concept. 

Once you’ve drawn out all the elements of the room, it’s time to decide where you’d need lighting. To preface, you’ll need general ambient lighting (also known as overhead lighting) in the room regardless of a lighting plan. 

Differentiating Between Functional and Mood Lighting

Frosted globe shade floor lamp

Shown in Image: Rutger Elegant Frosted Globe Shade Floor Lamp

As aforementioned, you’ll need general illumination for a room regardless of a lighting plan. A lighting plan in itself is a more dedicated representation of lighting elements and solutions for your space. This is where you’ll choose between where to incorporate mood lighting and where to incorporate functional lighting.

  • Functional Lighting – As the name indicates, functional lights are those elements that are intended to be used for dedicated purposes. General illumination too has a dedicated purpose, but functional lights have less vague purposes. For example, a standing lamp besides a reading chair is a functional lighting element for a dedicated purpose (in this case: reading).
    These lights are also known as task lights.
  • Mood Lights – As the name indicates, mood lights are situated in variable corners of the room and add more to the aesthetic of the room. This isn’t to say that they aren’t functional, but that their function is to set the vibe of the place.
    Accent lights are commonly referred to as mood lights. Other common examples include string lights, tape-like lights, and other configurations of lighting. 

Knowing Where You’ll Need Both, Either, or Neither

Minimalist elegant interior

Credits: Renopedia, HOLA Designs

Having had differentiated between the two, it’s time to understand where you’d need functional lighting and where you’d need mood lighting. On your lighting plan, look for areas where you know you’ll be performing a specific task and where you wouldn’t.

For example, eating dinner is a more specific task than lounging on the sofa. You’ll need functional lighting over mood lighting over the dining table and vice versa around the sofa. It might work best if you color both lights differently on your lighting plan.

Drawing Out Sockets and Plugs

Bricked interior style

Credits: Unsplash, Justin Schultz

Another important consideration to make would be outlining the sockets in your space. This is important for several reasons:

  • A messy apartment with several extensions running around would be a hassle to look after. 
  • More lighting elements and less sockets.
  • Increased and unnecessary energy consumption otherwise.

The number of sockets inadvertently influences the number of lighting elements you’d have in your living space. 

Consider the Idea of Layering Lighting

Gorgeous recessed lighting

Credits: Renopedia, Design Interior

What does the term ‘layering’ mean in the world of lighting? The term is used to describe lighting several elements coherently with one another. To simplify, you layer lights by having various different kind of them working harmoniously in the same living space as the other. 

The three broad categories of lighting are: Ambient lighting, Task lighting, and Accent lighting. Ambient lights provide general illumination and are often referred to as overhead lighting. Task lights concentrate lighting for dedicated purposes and are often referred to as functional lighting. Accent lights are added to accentuate a particular space or object and are often referred to as mood lighting.

While all three of them serve individual purposes in their own right, a room with the perfect blend of all three lights is the one that’s the most comfortable and energy efficient. 

For example:

  • General ambient lighting with an overhead ceiling light to provide general illumination for the room. 
  • Task lights over reading corners, dining tables, and cabinets for performing dedicated or intricate work. 
  • Accent lights around decorative elements such as art pieces or fancy silverware to accentuate or highlight these elements. 


In conclusion, you’ll know when your apartment needs a lighting makeover when you begin to feel undue stress on your eyes or while performing day to day activities with unnecessary hindrances. Once you accept that the lighting in your apartment might not be the best, it’s time to work your way into creating a brand new lighting plan for your space. 

For more lighting inspirations, visit Light Vault today!