Lighting Ideas For Small Apartments

Small apartment lighting is arguably more challenging than big house lighting for multiple reasons. Too often when people feel unhappy and uncomfortable in their small apartment that’s not because the living space is insufficient but because it’s not lit well enough. We realize that this sounds silly at first but when the lighting is bad in a small apartment this can result in a lot of shadowing and unlit spots, a darker feeling, and an overall unwelcoming atmosphere. Let’s go over some of the factors that lead to that:

  • For one, while in a studio or a small apartment you have less space that you’ll need to keep lit, there is also less space for your lighting fixtures. Installing a huge chandelier in a small living room simply isn’t practical as it will take up too much space unless the ceiling is extra high.
  • Additionally, small apartments can often feel too small and claustrophobic, and it’s the lighting’s job to turn your home not just into a well-lit place but also into a pleasant place to live in. Having a lot of shadows and unlit corners in your home after dark can feel like the void is creeping in and the apartment seems even smaller than it actually is.
  • Moreover, small apartments and studios can often get overwhelmed with furniture and stuff, resulting in a lot of shadows and dark places that need to be properly lit. This means that one ceiling light per room is often not enough and using multiple smaller lights per room is a better choice.
  • Smaller apartments and studios also usually receive less natural light from outside because they have less and smaller windows. Studios, in particular, can suffer a lot from that problem. The tightly clustered furniture also often blocks the little natural light that’s coming in. Where a large apartment or a house can easily have lots of giant windows and open floor spaces for the light to pass through, in smaller apartments this isn’t so.
  • The lack of excess free space in a studio or a small apartment means that it’s hard to use accent lighting for decorative purposes. And while accent lighting is seen as mostly a luxury type of lighting it actually contributes a great deal to improving the overall ambiance in a living space.

There are likely other factors that make good lighting even more vital for smaller apartments than it is for larger ones, but let’s not dwell on the negatives too much and instead focus on some of the better lighting ideas for small apartments out there. Whether you’re living in a studio or a tiny apartment, here are some thoughts and suggestions that might help you out:

Maximize the natural light that’s coming in

By this we don’t mean that you should tear down your walls and enlarge your windows but simple that one of the best small apartment ideas is to change your window curtains or shades into ones that will let light in more easily. Look for types of curtains or shades that are easy to operate don’t restrict any natural light when you don’t need them to. Additionally, another good tip for maximizing the incoming natural light is to place mirrors on the walls opposite your windows. This may seem weird at first, but mirrors are great in that they will reflect the incoming sunlight from outside into the rest of your room or apartment.

Rearrange the furniture

Rearrange your furniture in such a way that it doesn’t block the natural or artificial light in your apartment in any unnecessary way. For example, placing a tall table in front of a window will make it so your floor isn’t getting as much sunlight as it could have. Similarly, placing a high shelf next to a wall light fixture will make it so a good 10 to 20 percent of the room isn’t getting light from that fixture. Whatever light sources you have at your disposal should be assisted by their environment and not be obstructed by them.

Try track lights

Track lighting is meant mostly for smaller apartments. A lot of people don’t visually like track lighting because it adds one big metal rod to your ceiling but when it’s done well it can actually look artfully and pretty. The main benefit of track light, however, is the fact that it can deliver multiple ceiling lights in a room while still being just one light fixture in and of itself. This will make it so all corners and sides of your rooms are well-lit from above without the need of multiple lamps.

Install recessed spotlights

Recessed spotlights are a good alternative to track lighting. If you don’t mind installing multiple light fixtures to your ceiling then you can go for recessed lights instead. They take no extra space which makes them great for low ceilings, they light up space beneath them from all sides, and as a result – they make your apartment or studio feel larger and more spacious.

Mix and match

One of the best small apartment or studio apartment ideas is the same as a general lighting concept – mix and match different lighting styles. This great for two reasons:

  • You’ll get the benefits of multiple lighting styles instead of just one.
  • You’ll diversify the feeling and atmosphere of your home. Having just one lighting style is simply boring and dull, regardless of whether you’re living in a small studio apartment or a royal palace.

Illuminate and accent objects

This is more than just a set of studio apartment decorating ideas – accent lighting can actually also provide a significant source of light, especially in smaller rooms. Not only are you going to be getting some excess light from the decorative accent lights, but by them lighting things such as plants, paintings, bookshelves, and so on, your apartment will feel more spacious.


Blogger, editor, developer who loves green living. Interested in photovoltaics and solar lighting. Reviewing solar products since 2013.

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