Lighting for Small Spaces: 10 Tips, Tricks & Hacks

I'm gonna show you how I use lighting in my small apartment to really make the most of the space that I have. I’ve spent my entire life living in small spaces, so I’ve learned plenty of tricks when it comes to designing the perfect lighting for small spaces.

To help you do the same, I'm going to show you step-by-step how I incorporate lighting so that small spaces feel bigger than they actually are—because if you're living in a shoebox, it might as well be a cozy shoebox.

Zone lighting

1. Zone lighting

The right lighting can create different zones within your space. Similar to the way that a rug can define different areas, lighting can do the same thing. This is especially true if you're living in a studio apartment, and you have so many different activities going on in one area.

Try to incorporate alternative sources of lighting in as many areas as you can. That might look like adding a light to your desk area, adding nightlights to your bedroom area, or even lighting in your closet.

Mood lighting

2. Mood lighting

Secondly, lighting really helps shift the mood in your space throughout the day. Sometimes, living in a small space can really be a struggle and start to wear you down over time.

Depending on when you wake up, having a lamp next to your bed can set the right mood. And then, as the sun comes up, you can open your curtains and let the natural light shine through.

Later on, you can turn on your overhead light and use that to power through the day. Then, toward the evening, you can turn on different lamps throughout your house, which slowly changes the mood and creates a great calming effect before you go to bed.

Natural lighting

3. Natural lighting

Anytime you can incorporate natural lighting in your space, it's going to be really life-giving for you, and it's going to make your space feel so much bigger.

We can't always control how much natural lighting we're getting. Even if you just have a little sliver of natural light that comes into your space, try incorporating it. You can use one of my favorite ways of doing that while also protecting your privacy, and that’s using sheer curtains.

Floor lamps

4. Floor lamps

I rarely use floor lamps since I'm usually running short on floor space, but if you have enough space to spare, try adding floor lighting to make your lounge area lighter and brighter.

Tabletop lamps

5. Tabletop lamps

I think tabletop lighting is great, but truthfully, in small spaces, you might not have extra counter space or shelf space to spare. Don't feel bad if you can't do that. There are other ways that we're gonna get into later, but if you can spare any space, try adding a tabletop lamp to your desk area or maybe to your bedside table.

My personal favorite is to add a small tabletop lamp to your kitchen area. It really does so much for me in the morning when I'm making my coffee and there's espresso pouring. It smells so good, and then there's a little mini tabletop lamp. It creates a total mood in your small space

Hanging pendant lights

6. Hanging pendant lights

Personally, I love hanging pendant lights because they're renter-friendly, and they're very inexpensive. Pendant lights were one of my go-to's in Korea, and all you need is an outlet. I found really great options at IKEA, and even if you don't want to buy the full setup there, you can buy the cord for very cheap.

That's exactly what we did during one of our makeovers so that we could create a cozy reading zone within a studio apartment. We didn't have enough space to add a floor lamp, and just adding an overhead pendant light completely transformed the space.

Wall sconces

7. Wall sconces

My favorite way of incorporating lighting into my space is by using sconces. Wall sconces can really create a dramatic and very chic look to your space, but they only take up a small amount of wall space.

A lot of wall sconces do need to be hardwired, but you can get plug-in sconces as well. You can also just remove the light bulb and use those LED puck lights instead. I've even seen some people use USB rechargeable light bulbs in place of regular light bulbs.

LED lights

8. LED lights

LED lights are also fantastic for small spaces because you can stick them just about anywhere. You can get the small round LED lights or the long skinny ones, and you can place them throughout your house wherever you need them.

They make a great option for small kitchen lighting as well. Simply add these underneath the cabinets. A lot of them even come with a remote which lets you dim the lights.

I’m also a huge fan of adding LED lights to my closets.

Soy and wood wick candles

9. Candles

Let's not forget the difference that a simple candle can make. Everything looks better by candlelight. If you are in very small spaces, make sure that you have some type of air purifier going alongside that too because there's less area for the candle to diffuse itself. Choosing soy and wood wick candles is also better for your health.

Kelvin and Lumens

10. Light bulbs

With alternative lighting, it’s important to make sure that you're choosing the right light bulbs for your space. You don't want anything that is too cool or too bright.

Alternative sources of lighting are meant to put out a different amount of light and different temperatures of light depending on your preference, so pay attention to things like Kelvin and lumens.

Small-space lighting

I hope that this information helps you make the most of your small space. I know what it can feel like to just be stuck in a small box all of the time, which is why lighting for small spaces is so important. How are you going to incorporate these ideas for small-space lighting? Tell me down below.

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