Small Space Living

How To Use Lighting To Make A Small Room Look Bigger?

Tricking the eyes and the brain into thinking your space is larger than it really is the modus operandi of any small space dweller. There are quite a number of ways to do this, and manipulating lighting is one of them. While we can’t make our rooms physically larger, we can certainly make them look and feel like they are. Plus, a well-lit space isn’t just more inviting—it can also improve your overall wellbeing. Here are a few tips on how to use lighting to make a small room look bigger.

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7 Ways You Can Use Lighting To Make A Small Room Look Bigger.

Use multiple light sources

Don’t rely on one single source of light in the middle of the room. That single hanging or ceiling light in your living room will just cast a pool of light in the middle of the floor. Use multiple light sources to spread light around the room. Create a layered lighting scheme with a mix of ceiling lights, wall lights, and lamps. This will help illuminate dark corners and brighten the entire room thereby making it look larger.

Photo by Heather Garrett Design

Use Lighting in Shelves

Casting light in all the corners and crevices in the room can not only brighten up the area but also accentuate decorative pieces or interesting items that would otherwise go unnoticed. Use lighting in bookshelves, entertainment units, cabinets with glass doors, and other dark areas. Strip lights (from Amazon) are perfect for illuminating dark shelving.

Direct the eyes upward

This is where tricking the eyes come in. To make your room appear bigger, create a vertical path of vision for the eyes to follow. When the eye is inclined to look upwards versus horizontally, the room will appear to be bigger.

The goal here is to take the focus off the actual width of the room and refocus the eye upward. Thereby creating the illusion of more height.

There are a few ways to do this:

1.Use uplights or Torchiere floor lamps that direct light upward.

2. Simply place wall lights or scones slightly higher than normal.

3. Try using tall spindly table lamps with small shades to help draw the eye upwards. Winnoby has some stunning and elegant table lamps for every budget!

4. Pendant lamps and tall floor lamps can create the same effect.


Use backlighting to give the illusion of depth

Backlighting does not only banish darkness behind furniture but also creates a sense of depth– A big plus for smaller rooms. This optical illusion will help stretch your interior design visually.

Backlighting is just another visual trick that adds depth to any space, making it appear more open. This technique often creates an elegant and sophisticated look and is perfect for highlighting special features in your design. Strip lights are often used for backlighting. Place them behind mirrors, TV screens, bed headboards, sofas, or plants.

Maximize natural light

Nothing can make your space feel bigger than a flood of natural, glowing light pouring in from windows. Try not to obstruct the path of this light with partitions, screens, or furniture. Also, curtains and drapes should be chosen carefully—as light as could be. Keep curtains pulled apart as often as possible to maximize sunlight.

small bedroom with natural light

Use mirrors to bounce light around

By now I’m sure you know that mirrors are essential for small spaces. When it comes to creating the illusion of more space, it’s the oldest trick in the book. Place a large mirror directly opposite a window to help spread natural light throughout the room.

Try combining mirrors and lighting to make a small room look bigger. Place mirrors behind table lamps or near chandeliers and pendant lights.

Wash walls with Light

Recessed lights or downlight is a light fixture that directs light towards certain features on your wall. This technique will appear to expand your room’s boundaries. Find recessed lighting here at Lumens.

Be careful though, downward lighting alone could make ceilings seem lower than they really are. Downlighting combined with other lighting sources will ensure that every corner of a space is sufficiently lit, helping open up your small space.

For Renters: Achieve this effect by installing track lighting or other multi-directional fixtures (Amazon). These types of lighting will not only bounce light around the room, but they also draw attention to positive aspects of your room, such as artwork or architectural accents.

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use lighting to make a small room look bigger
use lighting to make a small room look bigger

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