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Create your own unique lighting on a tight budget

One of the most important ways to up the WOW factor of your space is with proper lighting. Too many people use overheads, which don’t address lighting needs around the room, and fail to highlight areas that can really pop with just a little extra effort.

In my house, we have a great bay window, that provides tonnes of natural light to our living room, but is a challenging space to work with. The shape is such that you can’t really put anything against it, and since our living room (and whole house) is relatively small, it means you have less space to work with. So we turned this room into a reading nook. All it took was building a simple bench, and a novel approach to lighting it.

By day, there is loads of light, but at night, not so much. The overhead doesn’t reach it, there is no place to put a floor lamp, and because it’s all windows there is nowhere to stick a wall sconce.

We got around this by coming up with a lighting option unique to the space. What you are looking at here is a collaboration between my wife and I that cost us all of $15. It consists of a string of incandescent Christmas lights, origami boxes my wife made, and a really big stick I found in the woods. It doesn’t generate much light, but it’s enough to read by, and makes the space super cozy at night. What’s great about this is that it helps carve a very small room into different spaces, and makes our whole house feel bigger.

Is it safe, you ask? Well, barring any shorts in the wire, the lights are designed not to ignite dry Christmas trees, so we are prepared to take the risk that they will not get hot enough to ignite the paper origami boxes. That said, we would never leave these lights on when we go out, or go to bed, just to be on the safe side.

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