Happy Saturday everyone! And even better, happy long weekend to my fellow Canadians! Nothing like a long weekend and sunshine to put you in a good mood!
A few weeks ago though, I was feeling completely the opposite. Have you ever had one of those moments when all of a sudden, your home no longer works for you? And you feel the need to move out like, yesterday? Kind of like a bad hair day… One day your hair is fine, the next you realize you need an appointment NOW and how could you possibly have lived with it for that long?
Much to Shaun’s dismay, every once and a while I feel utterly defeated when it comes to our apartment, and really can’t see any other way of fixing it but to move out. I felt that way this past December. It just felt so dark, and old, and dark… I craved living higher up with sunlight streaming through our windows.
I was convinced we would soon be moving out until one Saturday, our living room was bright and sunny! I realized it wasn’t only the apartment that was bothering me… We don’t get enough light (being on the ground floor) because:
a) Canadian winters mean the sun sets before 5pm in December.
We don’t have any overhead lights in our living room which means evenings were DARK. I needed better lighting ASAP.
and b) our layout isn’t great.
In terms of light, our apartment does have a few things going for it: it faces south and has a wall worth of windows in our living room. The problem however is one that many apartments have: it’s not a corner suite, so we only have one wall of windows, and it’s long rather than wide. The narrow wall of windows can’t possibly light up the back kitchen, even on a good day.
So before going through the effort of moving, I decided to try an easier solution first: more artificial light. Rentals often have the simplest and cheapest lighting available: ours are a few cheap track lights scattered around our home.
Do you live in a rental apartment? I would absolutely recommend supplementing the cheap lamps your place comes with by investing in different types of lighting: overhead, task and mood. Adding more and varied light sources in our home has made such a difference, and when you move out, you can bring your investment with you!
First up, I added an Ikea Stockholm floor lamp in our living room.
At $120, it’s a bit pricey for an Ikea lamp, but it’s perfect for our space. I love the clean modern lines next to our credenza. Plus, it doesn’t scream Ikea. So much better than the one (which is VERY cheap Ikea) we used have in here!
(That one went to a good home: I donated it to our school’s counselling office which creates a much more inviting space for those troubled kiddos I work with.)
It has two light switches: a large one to brighten up a space and a second softer mood option. With both turned on, it emits so much light! I have one other table lamp in our living room and really, I don’t think we need another light source in here.
It’s hard to capture the colour of light accurately in a photo of course, but with LED bulbs, it gives off a very clean, white light. I worried it wouldn’t be warm enough, but with our other lamp, it’s a perfect balance. (Don’t mind my dog Bali in the corner…)
To hide the cords, I used a couple clear, command strips cord clips and tucked them behind the curtain. My only complaint about the lamp is that they have the cord on top of the stand instead of underneath. Oh well, can’t have it all.
Now, along with my laptop table, I have a perfect little blogging spot in our living room.
Another little issue I had was our kitchen. Like I said (and as you can probably tell from the quality of my photos!) there is no source of natural light in there.
A little while ago I was inspired by Dana‘s under cabinet lights in her kitchen. While I couldn’t have anything quite so permanent and beautiful (not to mention pricey) in our rental, I thought little task lights could make a difference.
Looking for a cheap light trick in your rental? Try battery powered cabinet lights from Ikea. For only a few dollars each, they’re great for an apartment. Super cheap and you won’t need to make any lasting changes like drilling into your cabinets, unlike most cabinet lights.
I stuck them directly to the cabinet, but if you were concerned about the surface when it comes time to remove them, I’m sure a command strip or velcro command strips would do the trick.
I’ve since found them in white, which would have been better, but I’m happy with black ones anyway.
Subtle, but it makes such a difference when I’m cooking in there!
I can’t tell you how much happier I am with more light in our home. I’m sure it won’t matter as much in the summer months, but for now, my floor lamp and cabinet lights make our evenings so much cosier! I don’t know how I lived without them.
What changes have you made to fight off the winter blues?
(Psst… Check back tomorrow for a little bonus blog post :) Thanks for stopping by!)