A vase of flowers on a table

How to Use Lighting to Instantly Transform a Room

December 16, 2016

The clever use of lighting can transform a room in a number of ways. It makes large spaces feel warm and intimate, while small rooms become bright and cheery. It’s also an easy way to update a decorating scheme without a large investment. The key is to make the best use of the room’s natural light along with physical lighting sources.

A vase of flowers on a table

Illuminate a Room With Soft, Natural Light

You may not be able to move the windows in the room, but you can take steps to maximise the natural light that comes in. Here are some tips:

  • If you use curtains, keep them tied back.
  • Window blinds in pale woods and light colours can brighten the space.
  • Don’t put large pieces of furniture such as a heavy table in front of the window; it will block the light.
  • Try redecorating with an eye toward the windows. For example, turn chairs or angle the sofa so guests can take in the view from the full-length windows.
  • Keep in mind what direction the windows are facing. For example, you can set up a dining area in front of a West-facing window so you can enjoy the sunset over supper.

Enhance the Space With Physical Lighting

Lamps and other lighting accessories can also add style and functionality to the space. There are two main things you need to consider before making the purchase: placement and product.


Look around the room and note any darker spaces or areas where you don’t have enough light to work with. The right lamp or other lighting can make the room much more pleasant to be in. Some common problem areas include:

  • Hallways and entryways, particularly those with steps
  • Closets, especially walk-ins
  • The vanity or bathroom where you set your hair or put on makeup
  • Reading areas
  • Your computer desk


Table lamps

These handy little devices are a probably the most convenient lighting solution. They’re portable, generally affordable, and are available in a wide array of styles to suit any decorating aesthetic. They also don’t require complicated installation.


Where can you use chandelier fixtures within your home? You may be picturing a dining room or formal entry hall, but these lights have come a long way from the pricey, dazzling collections of crystal that they used to be. Modern chandeliers can be colourful, whimsical, elegant, rustic, or sleekly modern. They also come in a variety of sizes, making them a good fit for many areas of the home.

Fluorescent strip lights

These have a reputation for being a cold, industrial, thoroughly practical lighting solution. However, they are also inexpensive and can brightly illuminate areas like a work space. If you’re considering fluorescents, you may want to look at the coated bulbs or diffusing covers available. These can soften and warm up the light.

Recessed lighting

These are discreetly sunk into the ceiling or tucked behind room features like exposed rafters. When properly installed, they can fill a room with gentle, welcoming ambient light. However, they can be difficult to install. You may need to factor in the expense of hiring someone to place them.

Novelty accent lights

This broad category includes unusual items like tiny spotlights illuminating a focal point, or a playful neon sign that doubles as a fantastic piece of pop art. These lighting products can easily help to inject personality into a space. Because of that, they’re best used sparingly and with careful consideration of how they’ll affect the room’s decor.

You can do a lot with lighting, and depending on what effect you wish to achieve, you may not even have to spend money.

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