For small space dwellers, making the most of your interior lighting can noticeably improve its appearance even with a limited area to work with. Unfortunately, one mistake with light could mean the opposite by literally not shedding the best light possible on your space and make it unappealing.
Some common problems associated with bad lighting includes:
- Unbalanced lighting - Not all lighting needs to be placed overhead.
- Not putting lampshades and dimmers to good use - Lampshades and dimmers might not be your style, but they can transform your room in many ways too incredible to ignore.
- Improperly installing lights - Using the right-sized lighting lamps and fixtures is often ignored in DIY design when it is so simple to choose correctly.
- Not being creative enough with your lighting - Lighting like the rooms they're in has a specific purpose. This means your lighting design needs to vary room-to-room.
- Not using lighting adequately - Plain and simple: you need enough light to fill a room. Executing this is the difficult part especially when you're low on both budget and space.
Now we've filled you in on the kinds of lighting issues that might dull your small space, the following are some brilliant ideas to maximize your light and make your home shine!
We realize many small space owners, especially if you live in an apartment or condominium, don't have many options when it comes to increasing the amount of sunlight coming into your home (except possibly putting in a new window). Much like decluttering and making the most of the space you do have, you can use the tips and tricks below to maximize the existing light in your house:
Use Mirrors – Sure, mirrors give decorators the power to create the illusion of larger space, but they're also quite effective at bouncing light around the room. Simply place it opposite a window or on a wall next to it. A mirror will literally add another window in the room. Apart from making the most of the available natural light, this trick also reflects the views from outside your home. Add enough mirrors in this manner to createthe illusion of more windows in the house.
Use Reflective Surfaces – This includes your stovetop/oven backsplash. Add a back-painted glass to also bounce light around beautifully. This, like the mirror trick above, gives the illusion of more light in the room even if you only have one window.
Let More Light in – Easy enough, right? You can start by making sure your window treatments like curtains and blinds don't block out the light. When shopping for shades, go with translucent ones that will deliver the privacy you need while letting the light in from outside. The warm glow it produces will beautifully bounce to the walls adjacent your window.
Paint Your Ceiling – Your ceilings should bea little lighter than your walls. In fact, we recommend going with a flat white even if your walls are already white. This can effectively manage your available light. On the other hand, if you have colorful walls, a white ceiling can make your lighting design go from just drab to dungeon-like. In this situation, we suggest going with a color just a bit lighter than your walls (but not much). Also, go with matte paints for your ceilings since they're discreetly reflective without being too glossy.
- Keep it Clean – Finally, you should keep your interior lighting sources like bulbs clean, so they shine at their best and brightest.
Of course, these are just the basics for maximizing the available light in a room. Now you're ready for decorating professional-level lighting techniques, room by room:
Living Room – Small spaces should use items that serve a dual purpose like ceiling fans that also serve as a central lighting source. Of course, if you do have space, a chandelier can bring in a lot of drama or muted minimalism depending on the style you choose. It provides a focal point that will maximize your living room. Make use of lighting fixtures on the wall like wall scones to add some creativity and variety to your lighting design to give it some theatrical-style punch.
Dining Room -Use mini-chandeliers or pendant lighting to run the length of your dining room table to make a bigger statement than a traditional chandelier. Since multi-use is a big theme when it comes to small space design, choose a chandelier with a downlight to give it more flexibility whether you're eating dinner, doing bills, or playing board games on your dining room table.
Kitchen – In this multi-purpose room (cooking, eating, entertaining, etc.), lighting needs to be both inviting and functional. Making use of various lighting options from the staple covered ceiling lighting to more daring ambient lighting (ceiling lights, chandeliers, recessed, wall scones, fan light), task lighting (under-cabinet, downlights, pendants), and accent lighting (pendants, wall sconces, LED linear). They will not only add more visual drama and depth but layer your kitchen lighting, so glare and shadows are balanced out.
Bedroom – In the bedroom, you can create a cozy, comfy atmosphere using lighting. Here, it’s all about your unique style so go Hollywood glam with a dramatic chandelier, minimalist modern with flush-mount lighting, or traditional elegant with oversized pendants. Don't ignore your closet lighting in the bedroom. A mini-chandelier will work fine in there too. Once again, small space dwellers have an ideal solution in a ceiling fan with light since it can cool your bedroom while providing a reliable lighting source. Consider lights with either a remote control or flexible controls. The last thing you want is to disturb your slumber to turn off the lights.
Bathroom – Space for proper lighting can be quite restricted in this room. Your priority should be task lighting such as for shaving, putting on makeup, and of course, brushing your teeth. Once you have taken care of task lighting, you can elegantly layer it with ambient lighting. Fortunately, your smaller space will require less overhead lighting than a larger bathroom so it’s easy to get creative with mini-chandeliers, recessed lighting, and above-cabinet lighting options. Finally, you need to consider how to light your bathroom for nighttime use when your regular use lights might be too blinding for your sleepy eyes. Sure, a nightlight will work in the bedroom, but low-voltage above-cabinet lighting might offer more relief for your not-yet-ready for morning state.