Area lighting for low ceilings
February 2, 2017 8:31 PM   Subscribe

I have a small one bedroom apartment with fairly low ceilings. I have recessed lighting in the ceiling which is nice, but would like to add some area lighting as well. I was thinking about an arc lamp but concerned that that would make the ceiling feel even lower. What kinds of area lighting would you recommend for rooms with low ceilings? I like modern, clean lines - if you can link to examples that's helpful!

(I have low furniture - that's already covered)
posted by stewiethegreat to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Table lamps! The light they cast is a lot more flattering to people's faces than overhead lighting, and having different points of brighter light in a room draws the eye around a little. One big, bright table lamp can actually provide a lot of area light, but two will look better than one and three scattered around the room will look even better.

If you want something modern-looking, there are a lot of awesome, sculptural teak mid-century lamps out there -- try Etsy. Or modern ones in the same style -- check out this one.
posted by ostro at 8:59 PM on February 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

We have a lamp similar to this In our finished attic. In a smaller space with low/sloped ceilings it really works well to have the light diffused vertically, and I bet something like this would help your space.
posted by padraigin at 9:27 PM on February 2, 2017

It may seem anti-intuitive but you want to point the light at your ceiling. The light will diffuse and bounce back down softly onto the room, making the room feel larger and the light gentler. If it isn't already, think about painting the ceiling white or at least a very light tone of the primary wall color - that will make a huge difference in the perceived ceiling height and also bounce much more light around the room.

Try searching for torchiere floor lamps, which come in a million varieties and price points. In addition to the light being pointed in the right direction, the slim verticality of most torchiere lamps will help pull the eye up and make the room feel more airy.
posted by Mizu at 12:52 AM on February 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have a low ceiling as well - as I understand it putting any kind of non-recessed lighting in here would violate the building code/some other housing policy that is designed to make the place decently livable. I have a three bulb torchiere style floor lamp similar to what Mizu describes and I think it works well in this space. I do also have the bulbs pointed upwards and it does help even out the light distribution. The tall-ness seemed counterintuitive to me at first given the low ceilings but it seems to open up the room. I can't say if table/other style lamps would work better because I've never tried them in this space. Good luck!
posted by Verba Volant at 10:28 AM on February 3, 2017

I tried this arc lamp to make my 8-foot ceilings look higher, but it had the exact opposite effect. The pole "arched" right about eye level and totally looked weird in the space. Beyond that, I kept hitting my head on the thing, and it ended up in the garage sale pile a year later.

I've been eyeing this floor lamp for a while, and it might fit what you need. Adjustable height means that you can get it exactly where you want it. I think I've seen similar lamps at Target too.
posted by little king trashmouth at 3:41 PM on February 4, 2017

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