The Idealist

Working in Low Light: What to do Without Natural Light

There’s really no comparison when it comes to natural light vs. artificial light. Natural light has a different look and feel to it—one that can really complement the furniture and accessories in your home. In addition to that, natural light is convenient; you don’t have to worry about flipping a light switch when you enter or exit a room.

Natural light isn’t always easy to come by, though. Depending on the orientation of your home, the trees and buildings surrounding it, and the placement of a given room, you may find it’s nearly impossible to let enough natural light into some rooms. Luckily, there are some style choices you can make to keep a low light room bright enough.

As you can see in this pic, white walls, white furniture, white doors and pops of colour all make what could be a dull corner into a modern style statement. But don’t feel limited by Eames chairs and painted floorboards. A careful choice of furniture and finish can work whatever your style direction.

Style a Room Without Natural Light

There are a multitude of techniques you can use to brighten a darker room, but most of them involve one simple concept: colour. For example, you can mix white with deep neutral colours to add some perspective and depth to the room.  Combining light and dark finishes on furniture in a darker room also helps brighten things up, like with this Tatsuma desk from Habitat.

The other way to style a room with low light is to add lighting. This may seem obvious, but creating a good lighting ambience with artificial light is not that simple.

Naturally, darker rooms tend to feel a bit smaller, so add some recessed lighting into the ceiling to brighten the room up without taking up too much valuable space. This 3 arm LED light from John Lewis is nearly flush with the ceiling to keep your office feeling spacious. If you don’t want to go that far, we totally understand—John Lewis also carries a great slim shade floor lamp that will save space to make the room look more open while providing gentle, yet effective light.

To add to the mix of dark shades and light, natural wood colours, be sure to save a spot for this Long Island antique column shelf. It features black metal to help the framework stand out and a four light wood trays where you can put your books, knick knacks, or any other useful items.

You may not need a new office chair, but if you do this is a good opportunity to add some colour to your study. This orange office chair from Habitat is the perfect mix of comfortable and sleek, plus it makes a bold statement.

Finish your office off with a nice rug. If the carpet or hardwood floor in your office is dark, get something light for contrast. This cream rug from John Lewis is a good choice.

If the floor is light, pick up this steel rug to provide contrast that still looks professional and doesn’t clash with your chair.

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All photos courtesy of respective brands.

  • Ben is a painter and DJ and loves all things concrete, urban and handmade. Based in London, when he’s not working on an interior renovation, he’s riding his scooter down some alley or other in search of the perfect cortado.

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