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5 Simple Lighting Tips to Brighten Up Your Apartment

09/29/2015 11:37am ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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Along with the basic arrangement of your furniture, lighting plays a crucial role in creating the overall vibe of your home. But this design essential is shockingly easy to screw up, so where to begin? First, let's take out that overhead ceiling light that makes you look like you have jaundice, grab a couple lamps, and dutifully read this article. Before you know it, you'll be seeing your place in a whole new light. Literally.

Only use light bulbs under 40 watts
Bulbs over 40 watts are great for garages/sheds (places where you'd need more light), but inside your home, you want to set the mood to something a little more relaxing to help you turn down. For what, you ask? Netflix, probably.

And use energy efficient bulbs
They're a little more costly and let off a brighter light than incandescent bulbs, but you'll save a buttload of money over time and can brag to your friends about how your "carbon footprint" is a child's size 5.

Start with a good table lamp
You know the old adage, "a good table lamp is hard to find." Especially if you don't have a table, so that's your first step. Then snag a lamp that complements your decor, but pay close attention to height -- a good rule of thumb is that the bottom of the shade should be eye level when you're seated beside it. Plain white lamp shades let more light through, but go for a neutral or colored shade to make a room feel cozier.

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Credit: Shutterstock

Mix it up with different light sources
Although mo' money often equates to mo' problems, this issue does not translate in the world of lamps. Having a good mix of lighting from at least three different sources (an overhead light, track lighting, a standing lamp, candles, etc.) helps fill out a room and evenly distribute the light while showcasing certain focal points and design elements.

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Credit: Shutterstock

Install dimmer switches
Installing a dimmer is actually pretty easy and costs no more than $20. Turn off your circuit breaker, remove the old switch with a screwdriver, check the wires with a voltage tester, install the new dimmer switch, screw on the faceplate, and voila. Next time you're hosting a party and that Savage Garden song "Truly Madly Deeply" comes on, you'll be prepared.

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