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5 lighting design tips to make a small room feel bigger

Small rooms can be difficult to furnish and decorate, as the more you add, the more compact the room tends to look. Painting the walls light colours or very dark colours is one way to open up a small space as well as keeping the look minimalist. Did you know you can use lighting design to achieve the same effect? Keep reading and find out how to use modern LED light fittings to transform smaller rooms into spacious-looking areas of intrigue.

Lighting design tips for creating the illusion of space:

1. Avoid bulky ceiling fixtures

Does the phrase ‘top-heavy’ ring a bell? In the lighting world, low-hanging ceiling fixtures tend to make a room look smaller. So, when planning the lighting design in your home, it’s best to keep your ceiling lights flush and recessed for optimum space to create an open feeling. If you’re now wondering where your chandelier fits in all this, we’ll just give it to you straight. If it’s more than a ruler in depth, it will never work in your small, low-ceiling dining area. Unfortunately, huge ornate ceiling fixtures make smaller rooms look cluttered. 

So, rather move the chandelier to an open plan foyer or a double-volume stairway, if you’ve got one. Trust us, you will appreciate it far more as it will complement the space, not consume it. If your heart is still set on large decorative lighting fixtures in your small rooms, the good news is you can still have them. Just only as long as they are large in diameter, not height.

2. ‘Wall wash’ with recessed and track lighting

Another effective way to make rooms appear larger is to ‘wall wash’ with your room’s lighting design. This technique is all about shining light directly onto wall features, like paintings, bookcases, cabinets, or aesthetic architecture. The light illuminates the objects of interest and makes them stand out, expanding perceived room boundaries and creating a sense of depth. You can use adjustable track lighting to achieve this effect. Their design allows you to position the beam to face any part of the room that you wish to highlight. 

3. Use uplighting to visually expand the room height

Directing the viewers gaze upwards is a sure-fire way to create the illusion of space. When the lighting design of a room directs the eye vertically, it makes the room appear larger. For example, a wall lamp or floor lamp that shines light upwards can serve this purpose. uplight fixtures positioned above cabinets and shelves, or on the floor around the outskirts of a room can too. If you’re going the floor lamp route, just don’t get carried away with too many fixtures, as again, ‘things’ can clutter up a small room. So, rather stick with a few per space and try using a mix of floor and wall lamps of smaller stature and maximum beam reach.

4. Use backlighting to create extra depth

Not only is backlighting ideal for lighting up the dark space behind furniture and cabinets, but you can also use it to trick the eye into perceiving extra depth, making a room appear larger and more open. All you need to do is add some strip lights or rope lights behind your home furnishings. We love this look in kitchens and bathrooms – behind cupboards, appliances, drawers, and even mirrors. It’s amazing how elegant these spaces can be with the right lighting design.

5. Use multiple light sources

Having many different light sources in one room eliminates shadows (which can make it seem smaller) and creates a layered lighting effect, making the room appear bigger. For example, you can have different light brightnesses and colour temperatures depending on whether an area is task-oriented, relaxation-oriented, or simply for decorative purposes. To achieve this sort of illumination, ensure you use a good mix of ceiling fixtures, lamps, and strip lighting. You will soon be well on your way to creating an inviting and open-looking home (regardless of room size). 

Are your lighting design choices creating a spacious effect?

Do you want to expand your rooms, but don’t want to renovate your home? Then why not just use lighting design techniques to make the rooms appear bigger? We’ve got every lamp and fixture you need to make it happen. Explore our quality range of LEDs.