How to Light a Room with no Overhead Lighting

Heather Clouse
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Best Ideas For Lighting

If you have a room in your home with no overhead light, you have a few lighting options.

You can get a lamp or two and place them on tables around the room to avoid having to deal with overhead lighting. This sometimes makes rooms look smaller compared to overhead lighting and can also block the view of the ceiling.

You can also place lamps with shades on the walls to add a kind of ambient light. This can help make the room appear larger. You can probably choose to do this and then add a few table lamps in a few spots.

The best option is probably to detach the overhead light fixture from the ceiling and attach new light fixtures to the walls in different areas of the room. If you do this, you can focus on what you’re doing in some spots, such as at your desk, and add a soft, ambient light without overhead lighting.

You can also put up track lights for your overhead lighting if you have a high ceiling. This will give you adjustable lighting in different areas. Simply attach the track lights to the ceiling and create a grid for the track. This is also removable if you later want to change things up.

Plug-in Wall Lamps and Plug-In Sconces

The biggest problem with wall-mounted plug in accent lighting fixtures is that they can stick out like a sore thumb on the wall. Also, the floodlight-type bulbs in the lights tend to produce a harsh light which most people won’t like.

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Fixed Mounted Light Fixtures

These are easy-to-install accessories. They are screwed on in the same fashion as the overhead light fixture in the room. However, these are not very pleasing to the eye when placed in a room with a single overhead light fixture.

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Flush Set Lights

These are the most preferred type of lighting accessory as they are fitted flush into the wall with the wires hidden behind the socket. They can also be placed over a switch plate to give it a designer look.

Most flush mounted lights are direct snap-ins. They can be plugged directly into a wall receptacle and require no wiring.

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Dimmers and Wireless Dimmers

Dimmers can help you fine-tune your overhead lighting. They give you the option of dimming your light to give a moody ambiance. You can either use a wall dimmer or a dimmer ceiling fan setup.

Table Lamps

A table lamp is a source of light and also a decorative piece in the room. It’s not just light but a piece of art for the whole room.

When you want to make a room beautiful, using a table lamp works very well. It lights up the whole room, creating a nice mood and environment. Table lamps are very versatile and easy to move from a room to another as well.

Instead of a single light source over your head like with overhead lighting, you get light coming from both sides of the lamp. This makes a big difference in the appearance of the whole room and atmosphere.

It creates a nice flow throughout the room with a consistent brightness that’s neither too dark nor too bright. This is something overhead lighting simply can not do. If you adjust the overhead lighting in your living room, it makes everything in the room very bright.

This can be too bright for a bedroom. Adjusting the table lamp however can add or decrease the intensity of the light, making it easier to change the mood in a room.

Swag Pendant Lights

Floor Lamps

Floor lamps are the best type of fixtures to provide task lighting. They are portable and easily moved.

They also free up more space on the table for other things. If you think of removing the table lamp from your room, try out a floor lamp instead. It will provide the same great light and allow you to put the table lamp where its needed the most.

Floor lamps and can be bought or made. If you have a handyman around, then it can be a fun project for him/her. If you must buy it, you will have plenty of models to choose from.

Then again, if you don’t have the means to design and build your own floor lamp, then you will have more choices of purpose and style when buying one.

String Lights

String lights are ideal. If you don’t have little trees available for you to use, the next best thing for an overhead lighting system is string lights. They are inexpensive, easy to find, and bright enough to illuminate a room.

If you choose lights that are already wired, that’s the easiest way to go. If you’d like to save a little money, you can buy cords and light sockets separately. Plug the cords in one by one and hang the sockets on nails or hooks across the top of the room to light your space.

Candles are another alternative. Depending on the candle, the ambient lighting they create can be sufficient or can be over-powered by sunlight. Candles can “reduce” the overall amount of direct light, so what you have in a room may be ambient and enough for you once the sun sets.

LED Strip Lights

LED strip lights are flexible, waterproof, energy efficient and available in a wide range of colors. They can be cut to length for customized use.

They are ideal for under-cabinets, along bookcases, shelves, or even the front of the refrigerator. They are great for hiding away those unsightly cords running to lamps and also for creating interesting colored disco light effects.

LED strip lights can be cut to length, wrapped around corners, or simply cut off the roll. Available at most hardware or lighting supply stores.

Additional Tips

When you use lamps, be careful of heat management. Lamps generate heat and provide light.

Heat is bad for humans and fish, so try to design a lighting arrangement that maximizes the amount of light without generating too much heat.

Another source of heat may be a result of direct sunlight pouring into the tank. The sun’s heat may cause the water to rise in temperature.

Watch the temperature of the water tank and the rest of your tank, and find a solution if the temperature is too high.

For example, you can invest in a glass with a dark coating or one that allows a small amount of light in. Buy a light fixture with a hood, or use a sheet of cardboard or other material to cover the other side of the glass.

If the heat comes from the light source itself, research on the light fixture is the best solution. Find a fixture that doesn’t generate too much heat, or use a gooseneck light.

Additional Hot Tip No.1 – Using Mirrors

When you have no overhead lighting in a room but need it, mirrors are your ally. They deflect most of the light that hits them from a light source and direct it toward the center of the room.

This means that if you have overhead lighting in the center of the room, a corner or the opposite wall may be lacking light.

However, by hanging or placing a mirror in the center of the room these areas will have an added light source. This will make a big difference in small rooms with no overhead lighting.

If your room has one light source on the ceiling, another along the wall, mirrors will help you get the most out of the ceiling fixture as it redirect the light that would normally be wasted into other areas of the room.

You can hang a mirror above a sofa in your living room and reflect the light coming from the lamps in the ceiling, illuminating the area around the sofa.

The same goes for bedside tables. You can hang up a mirror and place a lamp behind it to be reflected into the room. It will look as if there is a second light source in the room when in fact it is just one.

Additional Hot Tip No. 2 – Use More Powerful Bulbs

If you don’t have any overhead lighting at all like many small rooms and spaces, then you can use more powerful bulbs.

Use at least two 60 watt bulbs in any light fixture that is 12 inches or larger. You can get the same effect as using a single 100 watt bulb in a fixture this size. And using less bulbs mean less power used.