8 Lighting Tricks to Make Your Small Room Seem Bigger

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Small home lighting can be tricky to get right, but we have some easy tips that really make your small space seem bigger.

Many people have small apartments and are always looking for new tricks to make them appear larger than it is.

Small rooms can benefit from well-known interior design tactics, including clever storage solutions incorporated into furniture, large mirrors on the walls, and optical illusions like stripy carpets on the floor.

In most residential apartments, built-in lighting keeps you from tripping over your feet but does little to enhance the area’s aesthetics.

Luckily, smart bulbs and other specialist technology aren’t needed to address the problem; you only need a simple understanding of electrical fundamentals.

When it comes to interior design, it’s essential to realise that homogeneous lighting can make a room feel smaller. With a powerful bulb, the “boob light” is the most typical example of flattening light when used in a domestic environment.

This light fixture reduces the visual difference between the floor, walls, and ceiling by casting a uniform illumination across the entire surface.

Smudges on the paint are easy to spot, but it isn’t good at highlighting the space between the walls.

Easy Small Home Lighting Tricks to Make the Space Feel Bigger

Below are a few small home lighting design recommendations for small spaces that will help you make the most of your lovely home.

  1. Consider the color of your light
  2. Light the room evenly
  3. Make use of natural light
  4. Install wall sconces.
  5. Consider recessed lighting.
  6. Layer your lighting.
  7. Use upward-facing lights.
  8. Add under-cabinet lighting.

1. Small Home Lighting: Consider Colours of light 

You can use colour temperature to define areas clearly. A room can also be divided into distinct zones using light sources with varying colour temperatures: warm, calm, and neutral. It would help if you illuminated workplaces with a cooler, bluer light since it stimulates arousal and alertness and is more like sunlight. Generally, “cool white” bulbs are advertised as having a bluish hue. Relaxation areas benefit from the use of redder, cosier hues. LED light strips with adjustable colour temperatures are ideal for spaces that need to serve many purposes, such as a home office hidden away in the corner of a bedroom. 

Another way of sectioning off areas of the room is by the use of curtain lights. They are particularly in an entrance way and create a moving wall of light. 

2. Light the Room Evenly

More often than not, a room’s light will be concentrated in a single location by a single spotlight ceiling light. Instead, attempt evenly dispersing light around the small space to elongate the perception of its size. The evenly distributed light is essential for illuminating dark corners and making a room appear larger. Using lights that throw light above and outwards will assist disperse light around a space. It’s also possible to generate an intense and even illumination with ten chrome recessed downlights. They can be placed over the ceiling to distribute the light evenly in a small room.

This is one of our favourite small home lighting tricks.

If you’re not sure what types of lights to choose you can always check out these Lighting Trends of 2023 for ideas.

3. Make Use of Natural Light

Small home lighting design is all about maximising daylight, and there are numerous ways to do it. In most modern houses, skylights or roof lights let in natural light. In the case of smaller homes such as cottages, however, this is not a standard solution. What are the remaining possibilities when it comes to maximising daylight? Adding a massive mirror to the wall directly across from a window can help bring in as much natural light as possible.

4. Install Wall Sconces

When it comes to lighting a small room efficiently and stylishly, consider installing wall sconces. These fixtures are mounted on the walls, saving valuable floor space and adding a touch of elegance to your decor. Wall sconces provide both ambient and task lighting, making them versatile for various room types. Placed strategically, they can create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

5. Consider Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is a modern and space-saving lighting solution for small rooms. These fixtures are embedded into the ceiling, leaving no visual clutter. They evenly distribute ambient light, reducing shadows and enhancing the sense of space. Recessed lights are particularly useful in low-ceiling areas where pendant or hanging lights may not be suitable. They can be dimmable, allowing you to adjust the light intensity to match the room’s function and mood. The minimalist design of recessed lighting contributes to a clean and uncluttered look in your small room.

6. Layer Your Lighting

Layering your lighting involves using a combination of different light sources to create depth and atmosphere. In a small room, this technique is particularly effective. Start with ambient lighting to provide overall illumination. Then add task lighting for specific areas or activities, such as reading or cooking. Accent lighting highlights features or decor elements, adding visual interest. By carefully balancing these layers, you can make the room feel more spacious and versatile, achieving both functionality and style.

7. Use Upward-Facing Lights

To create an illusion of height and openness in your small room, consider using upward-facing lights. These fixtures direct light towards the ceiling, which then reflects and diffuses it throughout the space. This technique not only makes the room appear taller but also helps to eliminate harsh shadows, creating a softer and more inviting ambiance. Upward-facing lights can be in the form of wall-mounted fixtures or floor lamps with adjustable heads. By incorporating them into your lighting scheme, you’ll add a sense of airiness and expansiveness to your compact living area.

8. Add Under-Cabinet Lighting

For kitchens and other workspaces in small rooms, under-cabinet lighting is a practical choice. These fixtures are installed beneath cabinets and countertops, providing focused illumination where it’s needed most. Under-cabinet lights not only brighten your work areas but also add a sense of depth by creating a subtle contrast between the illuminated space and the surrounding shadows. They come in various styles, including LED strips and puck lights, allowing you to customize the lighting to suit your needs. Under-cabinet lighting enhances functionality and can visually expand your workspace, making it an excellent addition to small rooms where every inch matters.

There are some common questions when it comes to lighting tricks in small spaces, so we’ve rounded them up with concise answers to give you more help.

How can I make a small room look bigger with lighting?

To make a small room appear larger, use light, neutral colors, install wall sconces for focused lighting, and add mirrors to reflect light and create a sense of space.

What are the best lighting options for small living rooms?

Opt for a mix of ambient and task lighting. Consider wall sconces, floor lamps, and use upward-facing lights to draw the eye upward.

Are there specific lighting tips for small bedrooms?

Use wall-mounted fixtures to save space, choose soft and warm lighting for a cozy atmosphere, and consider adjustable bedside lamps for flexibility.

What type of lights should I use in a small kitchen to maximize space?

Install under-cabinet lighting for task illumination, and use recessed lighting to evenly light the entire space while minimizing visual clutter.

How can I brighten up a small bathroom with lighting?

Use bright, white LED lights to create an airy feel. Combine task lighting around mirrors with ceiling lights for even illumination.

Are there any lighting hacks for small home offices or workspaces?

Install task lighting on your desk, consider adjustable fixtures, and use natural light if possible to reduce eye strain and enhance productivity.

What are the pros and cons of using recessed lighting in small rooms?

  1. Pros: Space-saving, even illumination.
  2. Cons: Installation can be costly, and changing bulbs can be more challenging.

How do I choose the right light fixtures for my tiny dining room?

Opt for a pendant light centered above the table to create a focal point. Consider dimmable options to set the mood.

Are there budget-friendly lighting ideas for small apartments?

Choose affordable fixtures like floor and table lamps. Use LED bulbs for energy efficiency and lower electricity bills.

Can smart lighting be beneficial for small room design?

Yes, smart lighting allows you to control brightness and color temperature, helping create different atmospheres in small spaces. It’s also energy-efficient and convenient with voice or app control.

Key Takeaways

  • We are tricking the eyes and the mind into thinking that your place is more significant than the standard operating procedure for anyone living in a tiny environment.
  • Changing the lighting is just one of several options available to you.
  • Even though we can’t expand our rooms, we can surely make them appear larger.
  • Besides being more welcoming, well-lit spaces are also better for mental health.

Further Reading: 27 Tips to Make your Small Home Seem Bigger

<< Small Bathroom Design Tips >>

<< Downstairs Toilet Decorating Ideas >>



Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram

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