Compared to freestanding houses, new condominiums often lack distinguishing features.
Whether you’re in a high-rise or a two story town home complex, the units within the
same complex may differ very little. To complicate matters more, if you live in a condo
you may be restricted from doing major remodeling by building or association regulations.
This can be a problem, especially if you are trying to set your condo apart to help
it sell in a competitive market.
An easy, effective and often overlooked remodeling tactic for condos is a lighting
upgrade. With a lighting makeover, you can remodel and dramatically alter the appearance
of your condo without constructing a single wall. Even if you are not in the market to
sell, new lighting can create a completely new, refreshing environment. It can make
your condominium home appear larger, highlight its best areas and, in general, set it
apart from the one next door that was built just like it. Take time and plan your
new lighting design. Consider each room or area of your condo separately and plan
what type of lighting would most enhance it.
Lighting as a Focal Point
Basic design principles tell us that every room or large open area needs a focal
point, or a center of interest. In freestanding homes, this is often a fire place
or a nice view of a garden. Unfortunately, in many condos and town homes today,
the most common focal point is often the television. It is not uncommon to find a
television in the kitchen in addition to the bedroom, den or living room. Frankly,
the television isn’t a very interesting focal point in general but when a condo is
for sale and thus empty, even the entertainment center focal point is absent. With
some planning, elegant lighting can serve as the focal point of almost any room…a
focal point that will remain as a visible distinguishing characteristic while
potential buyers tour your home.
Types of Light
Overall, there are three types of lighting you can bring to bear to change the way
any space is perceived: general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting.
General lighting is illumination thrown evenly over an area. It is the basic light
in your condo that allows you to move around and find things. General illumination
should only be updated if your home is particularly dark (dark properties always show
poorly) or if your condo makes extensive use of fluorescent lighting. With the
exception of garages and utility closets, fluorescent lighting is rarely used in
residential applications today. The cold, harsh lighting inevitably produces a
depressing, uninviting atmosphere more appropriate above an office cubicle.
Task lighting is more concentrated light focused on a specific area so that a task
can be done. Reading light, for example, is task lighting. Task lighting, such as
under cabinet lighting in the
kitchen, is often easy to install and can be very
effective in drawing attention to functional surfaces in otherwise worrisomely
small spaces (such as galley kitchens or a small ‘closet’ home office.)