The $20 Way to Make Your Room Look Professionally Lit

dining room sconces 728
Photo: Malcolm Hunt

As anyone who’s ever looked at her reflection under fluorescent lights can attest, rooms need layers of lighting to be warm and hospitable.

The problem? Accent lighting (aka decorative lighting that’s meant to highlight objects or add interest) typically entails custom electrical work. Or in simpler terms, piles of money.

Enter: uplights. I recently rediscovered these indoor spotlights when working out a non-invasive lighting fix for the dark dining room in my rental apartment.

Here’s the scoop: Uplights are lightweight, portable, petite and discreet little plugins, making them ideal to stash behind a piece of furniture or stack of books in order to highlight your artwork or greenery. I tucked mine (which I found at LampsPlus) in the room's darkest corner, behind my faux plant’s woven basket container. 

I love how the light adds lovely shadow play, loads of warmth, and best of all, an air of professional polish. And at $20 (or less), it’s a fix that’s super easy to replicate.

Before & After How to Light a Windowless Dining Rooms


Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.