Asked on Jan 27, 2017

How can I brighten a room that doesn't have a ceiling light?

Hillela G.
by Hillela G.
I'm trying to help a friend who's living room doesn't have a built-in ceiling light. She wants the room to be really bright, what can we do to lighten it up?
Thank you for your generous help!!
q how can i brighten a room that doesn t have a ceiling light, wall decor
  30 answers
  • Dfm Dfm on Jan 27, 2017
    I was in the same situation- back in the 50's table lamps were all the rage. i have no ceiling lights in my living room. i went a big box store at back to school time and found some floor lamps- top part pointed up to ceiling, side lamp could point at pages in a book.
    I outfitted them with the highest rated lumen bulb i could fit into the lamp. both the up light and side light. my cielings are white and that helps reflect the light back into the room. the electrician who changed out the bath fixture told me to buy bulbs by leumen ratting, not by watts. apparently it has to do with energy effcience rattings.

    the lamps were cheep- about 20$ each. not hard to put together.

  • Dfm Dfm on Jan 27, 2017
    oh i should tell u most of the time only 1 lamp w/ 2 bulb s on gives me enough light to do what i need to do. yes, i live in a small house.

  • Johnchip Johnchip on Jan 27, 2017
    Use some 'can' up-lighting.

  • Jcraw Jcraw on Jan 28, 2017
    You're about 30 minutes from Ikea. They have some great, reasonably-priced floor lamps, some with multiple heads. They also sell the bulbs, which are usually LED and last a long time. We're dark too, and they've been perfect in lighting up our rooms. Check online if any will suit her decor.

    • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Jan 29, 2017
      Thank you so much for looking that up for me, I really appreciate the suggestion!!!

  • Debi53 Debi53 on Jan 28, 2017
    Along with the floor lamps, consider uplights on timers. I have these in the corners of my room. Set the timers for whenever you typically use your living area. I use low energy bulbs and place the uplights behind plants that I have in the corners. Also, use light colors in your paint and fabrics. This will make the room feel brighter also.

  • Ronald Peters Ronald Peters on Jan 28, 2017
    Remember swag lamps? Nice retro look if you can find a cool shade for them.

  • Dfm Dfm on Jan 29, 2017
    swag lamps are a light fixture where the cord to plug it in is long, and the lamp part has a chain so it can hang on the ceiling hook. check the worlds largest on line retailer to see pictures.

  • Anna Anima Mundi Anna Anima Mundi on Jan 29, 2017
    OMG, thanks. Wow, swag lamps have come a long way from the velour shades of the 70s, lolz.

  • Deanna Nassar Deanna Nassar on Jan 29, 2017
    LED light bulbs. Rated says they last about 25K-30K hours. Screw into any lamp, do not heat up like old style bulbs, dimmable if you have a dimmer lamp....2.99 each or less if you buy in quality.
    Go to this link and then hang around to look at other stuff. NO I do not work for them but I buy quite a bit.

  • Skeg Skeg on Jan 29, 2017
    Twinkle lights

  • Ronald Peters Ronald Peters on Jan 29, 2017
    Well I posted a link but I guess its not allowed here. eBay has some vintage ones for sale and several companies make new ones with retro designed shades. Very nice stuff.

  • Assuming one story... one word - solatube
    I added two small ones to a kitchen, never needed lights on during the daylight & got enough light in from street & other lights at night to allow me to navigate the kitchen with ease at night
    Newer ones also have lights that can be added

  • KAREN KAREN on Jan 29, 2017
    LED lights in a florescence fixture, make sure its a plug in not a direct wire, I just put one in my craft room , and WOW lights up the entire room, surprised airplanes dont think its a landing strip!! Good luck

  • Mary Mary on Jan 29, 2017
    Hang a ceiling fan with lights on it. The fan will come in handy and it can be wired with an extension wire ask the fan guys at Lowes or Home depot. They come with decorative chains.

  • Judy Grecco Judy Grecco on Jan 30, 2017
    How about "Up Lights" they are a bucket type lamp placed on the floor behind something that shine from floor to ceiling for dim lit area. There may be another name for them, but I don't know what it is.

  • Patricia Probasco Patricia Probasco on Jan 30, 2017
    I had to put ceiling fans in the living room and bedroom. I live in a mobile home and those 2 rooms did not have ceiling lights. Love the lights and the fans.

  • Dl.5660408 Dl.5660408 on Jan 30, 2017
    We put tube skylights in, they made an amazing difference

  • Beverley Holland Beverley Holland on Jan 30, 2017
    Battery powered sconces

  • Dfm Dfm on Jan 31, 2017
    tube lights......had one put in my 1st vintage 50's house. there was a window in the shower enclosure, lots of rot. patched it up, had a new shower enclosure installed. I wanted natural light so i replaced the window with a solar tube.

    a friend came to town for a a continuing education event, stayed at my place. she got up early to shower . i wake up to slapping sounds. switch flipping sounds. I get up to see what is going on. "i can't find the switch!" I had to tell her- if that goes dark at this time of day we have bigger problems than a ceu... like run for cover a tornado on its way. there is no switch- it's solar light. :)

  • Jim L Jim L on Feb 01, 2017
    When I am working with a client, I do my best to make certain that they DO NOT have ceiling lights! They are horrible!
    Instead, have a lamp on every table, a lamp by every chair and maybe a pair of lamps on a credenza or chest. For close work, you can sit near a lamp and have light on your work. If you want to read, you have a great place to sit and read.
    I fully expect some folks to "take me to task" for saying what I have...I think that, except in a dining room, overhead lights are a great BIG "NO-NO!" They accentuate the lines on your face and create shadows that make you look like you have great-big bags under your eyes!

    • Mary jones Mary jones on Feb 08, 2017
      Jim, I totally agree with you! The only place where overhead lights are "acceptable" is in a bedroom. They would be so u can see to get in and turn on the bedside lamps! HATE overheads. When I built my new bedroom, I had a double switch. A switch when I came in to turn on my bedside lamp, and one on the wall next to my bed to turnoff the light when I went to sleep.

  • Sam Sam on Feb 01, 2017
    there are many lights that you can plug in the wall and have hang from the ceiling if you choose to do a ceiling light. though I thing what the previous person said about ceiling lights is quite funny, in a living room, I tend to agree. it takes away from the ambiance of the room. but if you must hang one, do it off to a corner.
    up lighting is a good bet to expand the light effect. it bounces off the ceiling yet, has a softer glow to it. LED lights... ugh! this is a living room, not a gas station. strategically placed lamps in dif sizes is a key to good lighting in a living room.

  • Jeanne Martin Jeanne Martin on Feb 02, 2017
    Hey Sam...I'm with you! I hate ceiling lights and use exactly what you describe. However, it can be tedious turning all of them on and off everyday (maybe I'm just lazy) so I put timers on all but the easiest (closest) one to me. When it's time to go to bed I only have to switch one off. The others have usually just turned off or will shortly. Works great for me...took a few days to get the on/off times set just like I wanted but other than that it's pretty easy. There's not many of us ceiling light haters out there!

  • Libby Libby on Feb 02, 2017
    Hi Hillela, You're a good friend to help find solutions for making life work!

    Mirrors in various places help bounce light around the room as well as add interest.(Along with the swag lights made prettier with chain covers, and additional lamps on timers).

    Regarding earlier comments:
    I suppose overhead lighting could add to my ugliness, but having light is by far worth the cost- no? There's tasks like reading and sewing. There's the gloom it immediately erases from the whole space on a winter's day or lonely night. I'm sure your friend has her own reasons for wanting bright light :-)

  • Janet Carey Janet Carey on Feb 02, 2017
    I have a nice decorative floor lamp behind my favorite chair, because the light is above makes for a great reading or whatever light

  • Diane stone Diane stone on Feb 02, 2017
    dI bought a wall sconce with on/of switch in cord. I turned it on and plugged it to a wall switch which is on/off.

  • Lou Devillon Lou Devillon on Feb 03, 2017
    Hello Hillela....Floor lamps with the "lampshade" pointing up will direct the light to the ceiling. Depending on the decorating style, scour used items stores (salvation army , etc.) for the floor lamps. Add table lamps as needed. Make sure the ceiling is painted bright white so the lamp lighting will be reflected. Also use "Bright White" light bulbs. Hopefully your friend has a good sized window to let in natural light. as someone else suggested , Mirrors!

  • Hat19678767 Hat19678767 on Feb 05, 2017
    Paint the ceiling white, put some led lights on the top of tall armoires or bookshelves or curio cabinets.

  • Joyce Joyce on Feb 09, 2017
    when building my condo I had all lower wall plugs wired to two wall toggles one as I walk in and the second by my bed room door.this was for living room den and dining room.I love not ever walking into a dark house.

  • Liv Liv on Mar 23, 2018
    If there is a window you can move anything that is obstructing the view of it.