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Washingtonian’s “Ask a Designer” series takes readers’ home design questions and conundrums directly to the experts—interior designers. Struggling to find the best kid-friendly rug for your mudroom? Looking for a desk to fill an awkward space? Need exterior paint recs? Send your questions to [email protected]washingtonian.com and we’ll get them answered.
“Concrete ceiling = no light fixtures = feeling like I live in a cave. It’s a rental. Advice, please?”
We asked DC designer Byron Risdon of Byron Risdon LLC for his advice:
“There are actually a couple ways to address this, and all are rental-friendly and cost-effective. All of these solutions depend on the layout of your space and outlet locations. Personally, my go-to solution for this problem would be a mix of high- and low-level plug-in options. I would also suggest using smart plugs and bulbs so you can operate the lights from an app instead of relying on a cord or a switch.
“Second: try a mix of low-level lighting. For example, you could have a balance of table and floor lamps throughout the space. Since you have a cement ceiling, I’m going to guess you’re in a more modern space—an arched floor lamp might be a great solution. It looks sculptural and provides some overhead lighting, as well. You could pair this with your plug-in wall options, like sconces and picture lights. This would cast light from different angles, giving you the overall effect you need to lighten up the space.”