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While space is a challenge in most NYC apartments, so is the lighting solution. The most common issue with the light in NYC apartments is that there is not enough! With the help of New York City lighting designer Ryan Curtis of Marras Illumination Inc, we’ve compiled some creative, relatively inexpensive fixes NYC apartment-dwellers can make to help solve common lighting issues that won’t come at the cost of losing space.
Structural Lighting issuesStructural Lighting issues
Curtis says a significant problem with finding lighting solutions is the tangled web of regulations regarding electrical work in the city. These issues are often; structural, he says. For example, your ceiling is your overhead neighbor’s cement floor, and it makes drilling impossible and a violation of building code regulations.
So, what can residents do to detour around this type of roadblock?
Curtis says floor lamps are an easy fix. But make sure; the lamp has a shade or is torchiere style. Otherwise, you will experience glare. Another solution Curtis says is popular is to use fake sconces. These sconces hang and plug into an exterior outlet rather than run through an electrical line inside a wall. Curtis says the best general rule of thumb for placement on a wall for a sconce is that the center of the lamp should be at about 5 feet 5-1/2 inches high.
Lighting solutions for artworkLighting solutions for artwork
According to Curtis, lighting artwork with overhead picture lights is the best way to display your paintings. You can also work if you have ceiling gimbals (hanging track lights or adjustable recessed lights) pointing toward the art. However, many apartments don’t have gimbals, so displaying your artwork in natural light is another way. In this case, the painting will display beautifully, but Curtis cautions that UV rays from the sun will eventually damage the work. Some folks now light artwork (and other areas) with LED lighting, but this can be problematic, says Curtis. Because LED lighting; is manufactured lighting, it generally only reaches about 85 percent of brightness on the Color Rendering Index compared to incandescent or natural light.
Closet lightingCloset lighting
According to Curtis, most closet spaces have a light (if at all) in the dead center that shines down on your clothing. We’ve all had a closet that; is so severely lit it’s impossible to distinguish your black shirt from your purple one. An easy and inexpensive fix is installing a light inside the doorframe that shines upward to illuminate your apparel. A surface treatment that generally won’t run afoul of either electrical codes or building remodeling regulations.
Challenging lighting solutionsChallenging lighting solutions
To solve more challenging lighting issues, Curtis recommends turning to professionals. Hiring an excellent licensed electrician to do a job can be a make-or-break situation. Always seek permission from your coop or condo board, or landlord first. Since most walls are plaster and you don’t know what is behind them, those folks can guide your electrician to the right place for your new lights. While this type of job is relatively easy for a professional, says Curtis, it’s also very noisy. Opening a wall and doing the necessary electrical work takes a day, while closing the wall and replastering takes another day with an additional day for sanding and painting.
If you are lucky enough to have a terrace, one of the lighting problems you will likely encounter is the lack of outdoor electricity. However, because Curtis and his company are experts, outdoor lighting is best left to the professionals. Since there are now concrete conduits, you can light; your terrace; without metal lines and poles.
Hire a lighting designerHire a lighting designer
If you intend to hire a lighting designer, Curtis recommends reaching out to three different companies. Please find out how each works, their history, pricing, etc., and go with whatever firm matches your style and feel comfortable.
NB: How can you save money on lighting? A straightforward way is switching to Phillips energy saver bulbs in all of your lighting fixtures. These range between $4-$ eight at Home Depot and last a very long time. You will save on electricity and prevent the need to purchase new light bulbs continually.