What lighting elements can be used to make a room look bigger?

Both lighting and colour can be used to give the illusion of space.

In narrow spaces, it is very important not to use central lighting from the ceiling as it will create an even longer and more tubular effect. Rather, you must concentrate on the walls in order to create a larger optical illusion. Mirrors help a lot too – just make sure that the lighting source does not reflect in the mirror.

What is the role that ceiling and floor lighting play in giving the illusion of a bigger space?

Floor lighting plays a very important role. However, this needs to be placed as close as possible to the wall in order not to create glare or optical intrusion.

When it comes to floor lighting I always suggest to use matt glass on top in order to diminish as much as possible the effect of disability glare. Light from the ceiling is more versatile – the less protrusive, the better.

In a small room, should light work vertically, horizontally or both?

This all depends on the dimensions of the room. If the room is small and squarish, then both horizontal and vertical light work well. In a small vertical space, such as a corridor, always choose horizontal lighting in order to reduce the tunnel effect.

In a small vertical space, such as a corridor, always choose horizontal lighting in order to reduce the tunnel effect

Is choosing the right lighting colour also important?

Choosing the right colour is very important. Even more important is colour rendering, which is the way the light source itself gives out the hues of colour and how they reflect on the colours of the wall such as wallpaper and paintings.

Choose lamps with a high rendering index, such as 97+, so that colours are true to daylight. This applies especially when lighting up paintings or other works of art.

What added elements does natural light add?

Natural light is one element which we should try to include as much as possible in our environment, and in all possible ways. This applies especially in a room which has indirect natural daylight. This has to be enhanced through the use of the right colour schemes and feature walls.

As a rule of thumb, walls receiving and reflecting natural light should have a neutral colour and texture, in order to reflect as much light as possible.

What colour schemes on walls, furniture and soft furnishings should be used to complement the light?

You need to plan carefully in order to make a room look complete. As a base, use a light and natural palette. Then accessorise according to your taste, from warm palettes such as bronze, taupe or mauve, to strong and dark colours such as burgundy and black. The choice depends on the purpose of the room and at what time of the day it is used most. Choosing a light base also helps you redecorate more easily from time to time.

Should glass and mirrors also be used to enhance the feeling of space?

Mirrors are a very important factor in making a space look bigger. However, although we sometimes even opt for wall to wall and floor to ceiling mirrors, you need to be careful not to overdo it.

It is essential to consider what will be reflected in a mirror. If you have a kitchen cupboard which tends to be cluttered most of the time, then don’t place a mirror in front of it as you would simply be doubling the clutter. Also, don’t place a mirror opposite a dark wall as this might make the space look dull.

On the other hand, when a mirror is placed in front of a beautiful object, this adds to the appreciation of the object.


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