Low-cost ways to light up a rental apartment

NOVEMBER 29, 2016

Living the rental life has many benefits, including the flexibility to move, someone else to repair things when they’re broken and possibly even living in a neighbourhood that you would otherwise not be able to afford.

“However,” says Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, “unless you’re living in a luxury, designer building, chances are good that at least one room in your apartment lacks natural sunlight, suffers from an odd layout or has been painted a strange colour that defeats your aim of creating a bright and spacious look throughout your home.”

But help is at hand. Here are some expert strategies for lighting things up:

*Using ceiling lights and lamps is the easiest and most cost-effective way to change the look of the space. A bright, blueish-white, energy-saving bulb would be the quickest way to brighten the room, especially when there is no natural light to let in.

*Another quick way to enhance a tight space is to clear up the clutter. Make sure there are no extras in an area that already looks full. This will instantly make the room feel less cramped. The key is having good storage that keeps clutter at bay.

*Every little bit of space you can save by using smaller or foldable furniture will also help reduce visual chaos. Another valuable tip for small spaces is to use clear furniture (see picture). Glass, Lucite, and acrylic designs have made a huge comeback - and clear coffee tables, side tables, or even lamp bases can do wonders to maximize a feeling of spaciousness in a room.

*If you are faced with really dark walls, don’t be afraid to approach the landlord about re-painting, especially if you are planning to stay awhile. Take a sample of which colour you would like to use, and preferably stick to light neutrals like white, pale grey or cream as these shades reflect and enhance whatever natural light you do get. If your landlord still refuses to let you paint, your best bet is to pick pale furnishings.

*Mirrors can also help you create the impression of a bigger space. The trick is to use the correct size of mirror and place it well. Generally, the bigger the mirror the better, provided it is simple and clean-cut. And the best way to make the space look larger and brighter at the same time is to put it where it reflects a window – and maybe even a great view!