Making Your Home’s Lighting More Dramatic on a Budget

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The best homes we see in magazines and on social media always have one common feature: Dramatic lighting. Every room has a statement light fixture, from a vintage crystal chandelier to a unique tabletop lamp. Indeed, beautiful lighting instantly adds interest to an otherwise plain-looking space. Even minimalist-style homes don’t skimp on lighting.

So if your abode is lacking a visual interest or focal point, chances are all needs are some artsy light fixtures. But chandeliers, pendants, and floor lamps can be costly. What are your alternatives then?

As with any home improvement item, dramatic light fixtures have cheaper models as well. So without ado, let’s walk through the budget-friendly ways to light up your home:

1. Maximize Natural Light

Before buying a statement light fixture, make sure you’re not short on natural lighting first. Drawing your window treatments open will brighten your space more refreshingly than light bulbs will. If your home still looks a little dim even with daylight in, consider if these tricks will fix that:

  • Paint your eaves white. The eves are the overhangs on your roof. If they’re in a dark color, they’ll also dim out the daylight. Thus, repaint them white to maximize the brightness that streams into your home.
  • Use lighter and brighter colors in your interiors. While moody rooms don’t always block out light, they’re not a good idea if you’re already short on daylight, to begin with. Painting your interior walls and ceilings white will be the best way to increase the effect of natural light, but you may also use other bright colors, as long as they have a high Light Reflectance Value (LRV).
  • Use reflective surfaces. Install large mirrors on bare walls, and consider glossy paints for some rooms. In the kitchen, glass tiles for backsplashes will catch the light and brighten the space. White subway tiles will also work great, and timelessly appealing, too.
  • Install skylights. If you don’t have enough windows, the ceiling can save you. Skylights are essentially windows for the roof, and they’ll illuminate your space more consistently than the windows on your walls.

2. Choose a Lighting Focal Point

white kitchen interior

You don’t have to install same-sized chandeliers or pendants in every room. Just choose one focal point in your home, such as your dining room, for example. A chandelier above a dining table is a good focal point, and it’ll make your dining room more luxe.

Before choosing a chandelier, find out the scale of the room first. In a 10 x 10 feet room, the light fixture should be around 20 inches in diameter. If a room is rather spacious, choose a larger chandelier, and combine them with LED panel lighting for the ceiling as well. The additional fixture will distribute light to the large space more evenly.

3. Layer Lighting

You can also mix different light fixtures in a smaller space. Interior designers advise having at least three sources of light in every space, including the powder room or the entryway. To layer lighting in a tight space, reduce the bulb wattage and size of the fixtures to avoid overwhelming the room. Make sure to have an accent layer, like inexpensive wall scones or statement task lighting, to bring attention and interest to that feature.

4. Get Creative

If chandeliers or pendants are just beyond your budget, incorporate the drama to the vertical spaces instead. Light up the underside of your kitchen cabinets, your vanity mirror, and bathroom mirrors using stick-on lights. LED rope lights will also work great, but it has a gentler illumination, which makes it a perfect accent lighting installed on cabinet toe kicks or above upper cabinetry.

5. Have an Eye-Catching Lamp

Lamps work great as task lighting, mood, and accent lighting. Have at least one in every space, including your kitchen. In your powder room, a wall-mounted lamp would look better and more appropriate.

Kiddie lamps tend to be the most eye-catching, and they don’t always look childish when added to a room, as long as the space isn’t designed for a kid as well. The key is to choose a bright-colored lamp that will pop in a space. It may be petite, but big in style. Consider decorative lights that trend on social media, like the flamingo lamp that many influencers have standing on their dressers.

In all the light fixtures that you buy, use energy-efficient bulbs. Energy Star-labeled bulbs will significantly cut down your energy costs, saving you $40 — $135 in costs per light bulb. They’ll also allow you to reduce your energy consumption by up to 75% and generate 75% less heat. Consider the Energy Star label the most important in your shopping list, as it’ll be the ultimate way to light up your home for less.

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