Most of us recognise that having a single light source located in the centre of the ceiling is acceptable if the entire room is to be illuminated evenly. However, it is definitely not the way to go if you are looking to get creative and introduce a specific mood, create space or make a small room look bigger.
In order to make the most of the natural light flooding in through the windows it is necessary to spend some time considering the room’s colour scheme. Painting walls in light pastel shades will help bounce light around the room. Remember, darker colours absorb light and will make the room appear smaller. Natural light provides a link to the outdoors and its effect changes with the time of day.
Ambient lighting is the term used to describe the main source lighting in a room. This can take the form of a single overhead light, multiple overhead lights or a number of smaller lights pointing at specific parts of the room.
Accent lighting includes wall-mounted units, floor-mounted lamps and table lamps, which are used to achieve specific visual effects. It is usual for this secondary form of lighting to be substantially brighter than the ambient light source, typically by a factor of between three and five. Wall lights or sconces provide separation between different areas of a room, while high-powered floor-mounted spotlights and table lamps are used to illuminate pieces of art, such as wall sculptures, paintings and photographs.
Reflections can be used to great effect in smaller rooms, making them appear much larger than they really are. A strategically placed floor to ceiling mirror can give the illusion of almost doubling the size of the room by increasing its apparent depth. This type of mirror can be especially convincing if it is disguised by being partially hidden by a structural plant or piece of sculpture, or framed to look like an open doorway. If you feel particularly adventurous you might consider fitting mirrored tile to an entire wall.
Thoughtfully located wall-mounted mirrors are perfect for bouncing both natural and artificial light into dark recesses. Mirrored cabinets are another option to consider; as with wall-mounted mirrors they reflect light and therefore create an impression of more space.
Floors and ceilings
The apparent size of the room can be increased by fitting a light-coloured carpet or installing wood flooring in a light finish, for example oak or white ash, both of which look bright and open. Similarly, ceilings should be painted white or a very pale hue for maximum effect.
There are a number of extra tips that can help you achieve your objective of making a small room look more spacious. For instance, one large photograph, print or painting will be more effective than a collection of smaller ones at opening up space and glass topped tables add to the illusion of extra inches. Smaller pieces of furniture in light colours will work wonders, particularly if you keep clutter to a minimum and avoid opting for large brightly coloured elements such as feature walls.
For help or advice redecorating, post a job on Rated People in our Painter / Decorator category to receive quotes from our qualified and trusted tradesmen.