8 Lighting Tricks for Small Spaces to look bigger, at least visually speaking

By Oscar Flores

Small living or working spaces can be a nuisance. They tend to restrict your movement, make you feel stuffy, and look boring without much room (no pun intended) for decorating them.

But, with proper lighting, you could make your small room functional and cozy at the same time without spending too much on space extensions or home renovations.

Here are some smart lighting solutions you can follow to add more width or height to your space, at least visually speaking.

1. Let bright light illuminate the room.

This may seem like an all too familiar hack, but it’s pretty incredible to see how a bright light can make small areas look bigger. Aside from spaces becoming wider, a bright light also gives occupants that roomy feel.

You’re lucky if you have a lot of natural light to brighten up your room, but artificial light fittings work equally fine in “creating” the extra space you need.


2.  Keep light evenly spread around the room

You can’t achieve the best results unless the light you use reaches all the dark corners of your room. An even distribution of light helps direct the eye toward all the areas in the room, so you perceive the room to be larger.

There are several ways you could spread light evenly across the room. But for starters, you may install recessed light fixtures across the ceiling or complement your ceiling light with wall lights and lamps.


3.  Check the direction of light.

Between downward-facing and upward-facing lights, you should choose the latter. Lights that run from the ceiling downward tend to gather all the light in a single area of the room, unlike uplighters that help bounce light upwards and outwards—giving spaces a visually larger look to them.

4.  Stay with clear lighting fixtures

Apart from direction, the appearance and shade of the light fittings can make or break how you could make your space look bigger. You can’t go wrong with light fixtures that use clear glass, as they allow the light to pass through and help reflect light.

In stark contrast, opaque and dark shades of light can only make small spaces look even smaller.

5.  Hang mirrors in conspicuous places.

Mirrors are one of the most inexpensive but highly reliable light-reflecting techniques used by many.

To maximize the use of mirrors in a room with limited space, try these tips:

  • Make sure your walls are well illuminated or painted white.
  • Place a large mirror directly across a window to take advantage of natural light bouncing off across an entire room.
  • Place a floor-to-ceiling mirror behind a small piece of furniture like a side table to create an illusion of extra space or a whole other room opening up right behind the mirror.


6.  Choose proper lighting for specific areas.

The type of light fitting you use will be determined by which part of the house you’re trying to illuminate.

It would be better, for example, to use recessed lights than floor lamps on the corridor or hallway since a floor lamp will obviously take up space from this already cramped area. Reserve floor lamps for those narrow corners in a room to make them look taller and compensate for lack of floor space.

Meanwhile, your favorite reading spot could use some wall sconces above them, and for the kitchen, an under cabinet lighting will be a great source of functional light for all your cooking exploits.


7.  Use dimmers.

Lights with a dimmer switch can do wonders in enhancing the look of your limited floor space, as they can increase the brightness of light in certain areas of your home or office.

Dimmers are also very handy in helping you create a special ambiance or effect during certain times of the day such as at nighttime when dimming your bedroom lights helps you wind down and get some shuteye.


8.  Know the dos and don’ts in lighting options.

Lighting techniques such as those that relate to the style, shape, and color of light fittings for small spaces have to be done right, so make sure to know at least these basic ones:

  • Do not use hanging fixtures such as chandeliers and pendant lights in a room with low ceilings.
  • Don’t scrimp on a single source of light in the center of the room. Make this area look fuller by tapping multiple sources of light.
  • Avoid placing lights on the middle section of a long and narrow room. Instead, place lights in a straight line along one of the walls together with wall lights.
  • Choose lamps with compact designs that don’t add clutter to the room.

At the end of day, we want our living or working spaces to be as comfortable as they can be. No matter how small of a space you have, you can always brighten things up in your little sanctuary.

About the Author

my pic

We feature an original post by our guest contributor, Oscar Florea,content contributor for Avida’s lifestyle blog Pursuit of Passion. He is an engineer by profession but a multipotentialite by destiny. Just like a normal dude in a basketball-crazy country, one of his passions is shooting hoops. Grant Hill is the older brother he never had.

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