If a Room Lacks Overhead Lighting, Remember This Trick from a Paris Apartment

published Sep 1, 2022
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You can make your home as stylish as your heart desires. You can paint the walls an of-the-moment shade, or cover it in patterns that everyone is after. You can blend soft cushions with tougher fabrics, group books according to your preferences, and fill every blank corner with plants. But if night comes around and you can’t quite see the work you’ve accomplished, then that isn’t much fun at all. 

Lighting is one of those design details that’s more about function than aesthetics, although it’s possible to blend the two with a little finesse. In the home of Claire Arnaud and Julien Pasteau, who live together in a 645-square-foot Paris apartment, creating attractive and thoughtful surroundings was especially important. Claire is the founder of Arnaud & Delrue Architectes, and Julien is also an architect. They bought the home knowing it would need clever adjustments — it hadn’t been updated in more than 50 years — and set out to make them to suit their lifestyle. They kept the palette of the home cohesive, and drew on their building’s surroundings and its mid-century details to curate a stylish, variegated palette.

One of their design decisions — the lighting above a compact workspace — is a solution worth remembering if ever overhead illumination is hard to come by. Interestingly, the couple didn’t have any hard wiring in this space; instead of cluttering the already small layout with a floor lamp, though, they strung a pendant light across the ceiling and perched it above a desk (where there’s a small lamp, too). 

While Claire and Julien chose an Akari 50 EN by Nogushi for their workspace, you can use anything that matches your specific needs. Once you’ve devised a plan, suspend that pendant light using a cord kit, like this one, and S hooks to get it neatly across the ceiling (you can paint the S hooks the same color as your ceiling or the cord so that they blend in). You can also personalize your cord by using cloth or even macrame varieties. Remember that it’s always a good idea to hire an electrician if you’re not comfortable with installing a light yourself — and if you are, double check that the electricity has been turned off before getting to work. 

Centering a pendant light in a space that would otherwise lack overhead lighting is a great way to ensure that your home balances style and function at any time of day. After all, you should get a good view of the home you curated no matter what time it is.