Adding Light to Room

Cara BraudeMay 15, 2013
Hi all,
I just purchased my first apartment and I would like try and enhance the lighting of my den (this decor is from the previous owner). What are your thoughts on darkening the floors to a walnut brown and painting the walls a white or cream? Will the darker floors hurt the lighting?

I also need to get an electrician in to add lighting to the ceiling, has anyone every done this in a New York apartment?

I will also be adding a leaner mirror and the back wall where the photo was taken as a mirrored wall.

Thank you,

Any advice would be great, thank you!
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
You probably will not be able to add lights directly from the ceiling because I suspect your ceiling is concrete.
However I believe you could build soffits around the edges of the room, carrying the electrical power from the walls to the soffits. That would enable you to supply lights directed at artwork on the walls. A fake beam or two could spread light across the ceiling.

Lamps are a really wonderful source of light as evidenced by your photo, though I know the professional photographer helped it along.

Dark floors will show every little thing that you or a child or animal drops or sheds onto the floor. But, other than that, they would be lovely in your beautiful apartment. If you use the size rug that is shown in the room, then not much of the floor will be visible. With proper lighting you can have light walls or choose a darker color for part of the room without concern. With darker walls, choose lighter rugs and furniture. Note the huge dark entertainment center (or whatever) on the left wall. If that were not there, or were lighter, the room would be brighter.
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
1 Like    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 7:14PM
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Cara Braude
Thanks Caroline, do you have examples of soffits for interior purposes?

I will be removing the brown unit as it definitely detracts light. Here are some other photos of the room that I took with my iPhone which are much more realistic.

The current owner has one light installed in the ceiling and one in the hall, does that mean that the ceiling my still in fact be concrete?
    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 7:37PM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Here are two examples of lights in soffits.
Encino Modern · More Info

Lake front Basement Bar · More Info
    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 7:45PM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
It is good that there's a ceiling light in two areas. You'll be able to use those connections for chandeliers or track lights. The connections were supplied when the apartment was first built. You cannot now add more in the concrete ceiling.
    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 7:47PM
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Cara Braude
Do you know if this is an expensive option? Is this something that an electrician can do on his own? Or do I need another contractor? How long do these take to install?

Thank you!
    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 5:09AM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Soffits would require a contractor to come in to build, and also no doubt, building approval. The contractor would get someone to frame in the soffits (also called fir downs or bulkheads), then an electrician for the wiring, then drywall, paint, and finish of the electrical work, taking anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks or more.

Replacing existing ceiling fixtures would require you or your designer to select and order the new fixtures or buy them off the showroom floor. Then the electrician comes and installs them. So if you locate the fixtures in the morning and schedule the electrician for the afternoon, this could be done in one day. But more likely you'll need to consult with an interior designer in NYC, after first finding one you'd like to work with. Then plan your lighting, order items, and install. That could take one to three months or longer because the designer will want to have an overall plan for your apartment before selecting light fixtures.
    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 6:18AM
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Since you already have two conections in the ceiling, you can use them for track lighting. Today's track lighting is much more stylish and flexible than in the past. No construction required. Just buy fixture and install at the two existibg power sources. Also, for more supplemental light consider sconces. Many are available as pin-up, ie, don't need to to be hardwired. Recommend purchasing cord covers tht are usally available in the same finish. Try You can do the same thing with picture lighting.
    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 6:41AM
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Mona Ives
Darkening the floors would not affect the light that much since there seems to be a lot of natural light from this photo. The wall color is fine, or keep it lighter. What I would do is not have dark heavy furniture like the entertainment center pictured in the photo. Keep your furnishings light - perhaps white wood work - and that will make for beautiful contrast while keeping the space airier. I would use more lamps rather than hassling with the electrical work in your apartment. Sconces are also an excellent suggestion and honestly look nicer than recessed lights.
    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 7:33AM
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