Almost every house has some small spaces. And without the right light, these small spaces can feel like 16th century dungeons. A few tricks can not only make that space feel larger, but also offer the kind of light small spaces need.

Creating illusions of grandeur

There are many ways to use light to make a space feel bigger, and the key is to let your walls and ceiling help. Choosing a glossy paint in a shade of white, and fixtures where the light can be directed toward the walls and ceiling, will create reflected light that enhances the size of the space without adding a single square foot.

Instead of lamps that take up valuable floor space, select track lighting with narrow tracks and small lights. Track lights can be easily directed towards walls and ceilings. Wall sconces placed in a row along one wall of a narrow hallway, or ceiling lights placed in a straight line along the edge versus the center, will widen the hallway.

Recessed lights sit inside the ceiling, creating a neat, clean look that allows for extra head room.

Choosing transparent globes for pendant lights, or several mini chandeliers versus one large one, will help declutter a small space. Fixtures made of glass, shiny metal or plastic help reflect light.

Bulbs – finding the right light

Bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways are spaces that are often small and may lack natural light.

For bathrooms, the best lighting is accomplished using a bulb color of 3000K. This bulb gives off a cool but neutral light, just right for applying makeup and showing tones of skin. Older eyes may require cooler light to see details (4000K to 5000K).

Most hallways get little to no natural light. Because of that, choosing two to three fixtures to light a hallway, or a single fixture with at least three bulbs, is best. The color of this light should be at least 2700K, warm enough to be inviting, yet cool enough to see well. Floodlight-shaped bulbs are best at lighting the floors of hallways for nighttime navigation.

Bedroom lighting needs fluctuate between the need for bright, cool light to wake up to in the morning, and warm, soft light to fall asleep to at night. Cool light mimics daylight and causes our brains to release serotonin, giving us energy like the sun. Warm light mimics the light of a campfire, allowing our brains to release melatonin, making us feel relaxed and drowsy. Because bedrooms require vastly different light, they are a great place to try a smart bulb. Smart bulbs connect wirelessly to phone apps, allowing you to dim their brightness, change their color and control whether they’re on or off from remote distances. Some smart bulbs even play music, pulsating and changing colors with the mood of the music from its speaker. Smart bulbs in bedrooms allow you to blue the light in the morning, and warm it at night for a restful sleep. Some say cool, blue light is better at waking us up than that morning cup of joe.

Sprout new ideas with our home & garden newsletter!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.