Lighting for Small Spaces
From carefully selected paint colors to coordinating knick-knacks, your Pinterest board may be full of grand ideas for your remodel, but your matchbox-sized kitchen is unable to fit that 20-lamp chandelier. It’s time to embrace your small space and choose lights that will inspire your inner interior decorator without cramping your style. We’ve highlighted which fixtures are friendly for modest spaces.
Your Best Friends
These light fixtures have the most versatility in terms of style and occupy the least amount of space.
The wall sconce – These petite sized lights are permanently placed onto the wall of your choice and won’t hog valuable space like table and floor lamps tend to do. You usually install these fixtures in pairs, just above shoulder height. Rather than using a line of ceiling lights mounted down the center of a narrow room, add wall lights in a line along one wall to make your space feel wider, especially in bathrooms, on either side of your vanity mirror, or at your bedside.
The LED strip light/fluorescent T5 – For subtle cove lighting and under cabinets, there is nothing more flexible than LED strip lights. They come in sections as small as four inches and can make 90-degree corners, allowing it to fit inside many unusual places like dresser drawers and behind televisions. Many strip lights have an adhesive back so you can stick these “strips of light” anywhere you want in various shapes and designs. Almost as limber, the fluorescent T5 tube (or its LED T5 replacement) is slim enough to fit under most shelving, as long as you account for the extra height the accompanying fixture adds to the light’s profile.
The track light – In recent trends, professional interior designers prefer to use track lighting in small rooms rather than free-standing floor lamps. By using small track lights, like MR16s and PAR20s, you can angle the light where you need it without overwhelming the space.
Lighting Tip: Shine your lights at mirrors and reflective surfaces to create more light and make the room feel larger. Glossy, light-colored paint can also create a similar effect.
The following fixtures are adjustable and can vary to fit your tastes, but there some conditions to consider before you add them.
The table or floor lamp – You can’t go wrong with a well-placed table or floor lamp. They have the advantages of being narrow, portable, and vertical additions to your lighting. Place your floor lamps near corners to eliminate dark recesses. Use more than one lamp in opposite corners to ensure light reaches the middle of the room. However, table and floor lamps may take up surface space that you should probably keep free of clutter to avoid a crowded look, so proceed with caution.
The pendant – Pendants are a great choice—if you have the ceiling height for them. On average, you want pendants to hang 30 to 36 inches above a surface or 40 inches over your kitchen island to get an evenly dispersed light. Pendant fixtures commonly have adjustable chains or cords but rooms with low ceilings still might not have the clearance to hang them properly. You can lose the pendant shade and use bare frosted bulbs for a soft, widespread light or try a cluster of oversized antique bulbs for a nostalgic look.
Think very carefully before adding these light fixtures to your décor, the headache of installation might be bigger than room you’re attempting to light.
The chandelier – Yes, that magnificent chandelier is too large to fit in your efficiency apartment. In fact many chandeliers, due to their width and height, will overpower your room, making it feel unbalanced and crowded. You can try a trend popular in walk-in closets by using several mini chandeliers, with just three or four bulbs, to give you the glamour you want without risk of banging your head.
The recessed light – Recessed lights seem like the perfect fixtures for rooms with limited space. The fixture fits into the ceiling, giving you a neat and clean look, along with the light you need. Despite the extra head room recessed fixtures provide, they make the bottom of our list due to the lengthy and rather involved installation. With any recessed fixture, you’re going to need to put some holes in the ceiling. That’s fine when it’s a newly constructed space that you own and you can build in the lights as you go. However, your landlord may not be pleased by you hacking away at the ceiling to create enough space for a retrofit fixture. In addition to the new hole, you still need to wire the fixture to main power. If that sounds like a tiresome and daunting task, then you will feel less fatigued if you install track lights instead, which don’t require you to remove large chunks of drywall.
Ready to make your small space shine? You can add your own advice about lighting that packs a punch for pint-sized rooms in the comment area below. Our 1000Bulbs.com staff would love to hear from you, call us at 1-800-624-4488 for simple solutions to everyday lighting problems.