Layering lighting in small spaces

People have many reasons for choosing to live in a small space. Empty nesters, for example, often make the decision to downsize when their children leave home. The challenge is to live in a smaller space as effectively as possible without feeling cramped and claustrophobic. The last decade has seen an increasing understanding of the value of lighting. Planning it properly, choosing the right elements and using new, innovative technology can do much to transform a small home and make it a haven. Lighting has become crucially important to the appearance of a room and the mood of its interior.

1. A chandelier

A chandelier can play a key role in defining the style of a small space while providing functional lighting.  Just because a space is small does not mean you can’t have a chandelier. Its effect will depend on how you choose the size, shape and style to suit the space.  In a small open-plan apartment, a stunning chandelier hanging over the dining area can help to define the space. It will draw your eye upwards too, always a good idea when floor space is limited.

2. Table lamps

A room usually has a main source of light in the form of a ceiling light. This should not be your only source of light, even if a room is small. Adding table lamps enhances the atmosphere and they can play a variety of different roles such as providing light for reading or lighting up a dark corner.  Lamps made of organic materials like stone, wood, metal and glass are very popular today.

3. Pendant lighting

Emphasizing vertical height makes a small room look bigger, especially if it has a high ceiling.  A long pendant hanging downwards takes the focus off the width of a room by leading the eye up and down instead of horizontally. Pendant lights above a kitchen island or table capitalize on this idea and provide functional lighting at the same time.

4. Floor lamps

When choosing a floor lamp for a small room, you need to be conscious of scale. It should relate to the size of the room and the other furniture. You also need to be aware of where you will place it as well as its style and practicality. A well-proportioned floor lamp with a small base can enhance your decor and the overall lighting of the room without taking up too much floor space.

5. Wall sconces

Wall sconces are versatile and one of the most popular ways to use them is for accent lighting. They can highlight a work of art or turn a special architectural feature into a focal point. Twin sconces lend visual balance to a room – place them on either side of a chimney breast or a sofa.   Sconces work well in corridors to provide ambient light too.  If your small space has high ceilings, place them a little higher than normal to draw attention to the height.  Those that do not extend too far away from the wall are probably best for a small room.

Flooding a room with too much harsh light will destroy its ambience. Too little light makes it dull and uninspiring.   Through lighting, you have the opportunity to make your small rooms look inviting and to direct attention to what you want people to notice in your home. Lighting energises any home and compliments its other decorative elements. Layering your lighting by using different sources of light will give you more control over the atmosphere of the room and allow you to create the right mood for the right occasion.

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