Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nest Request - No Natural Lighting

Today’s Nest Request centers around a common problem in urban living: “My NYC apartment feels like a cave – neither of my two dingy windows give much light. What can I do to fix this short of moving?”

Reader, I feel your pain. When I first moved to New York City, the only sky I could see was reflected off the opposing building’s windows. And we’re not even in the minority: Manhattan has over 1.6 million people crammed into just 23 square miles (that’s over 70,000 residents per square mile for those counting). As you can imagine, with no place to go but up, people on the lower floors or smaller buildings often have little to no light.

So unless you’re a vampire or enjoy living in a bat cave, here are a few things that are sure to brighten up your home:

Use mirrors. They’re built to reflect light, so what little light you do have is amplified. If you place it right, it can make a world of difference. This trick dates back to ancient Egypt, where giant tombs were illuminated by as little as one light hole. Strategically placing a series of mirrors, they managed to light up whole caverns. If they can do it, certainly you can too. For extra light, don’t forget to add floor and table lighting on a dimmer setting. Check our last posting on the Robert Abbey lamp.

Use light walls and fabrics. Dark items capture light; get rid of them (yes, this includes your chocolate colored sofa and black on black painting). Lightly colored items will naturally deflect more light. Don’t be afraid to use white draperies on white walls for a crisp and clean look.

*Images by House Beautiful
Use glass or windows in temporary walls. I know in a lot of apartments in NYC, 2 bedroom apartments are often legal 1 bedroom with a fake wall. To bring in light yet keep privacy, try using moveable partitions with frosted glass.

Thanks for the great Nest Request. Keep your design dilemmas coming! To submit a question, send an email to Nest Request at And as always, if your question is selected, you can get a 10% discount off your next room.

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