Lighting tips: high ceilings, small spaces, and more

Confused about how to light your home to best effect? We get the experts to shed some, yes, light on your frequently asked lighting questions. In this post, we focus on three types of spaces - and the common questions or problems that come with it!


(design: Design Intervention)

Have a small flat, but really want a chandelier? Don't fret. Although the large, crystal-laden fixture looks fabulous in grand main rooms, the smaller sizes of modern homes and the popularity of chandeliers have created a demand for smaller chandeliers: chandelettes or minichandeliers. 

These typically measure 22-30cm in diameter,but are as elegant as their larger brethren. You can’t use these smaller versions as a centrepiece, but they are good for accenting in a more subtle fashion. Depending on the style, you can even install one in your bathroom.

If you prefer a feature floor-lamp, don't worry about size. “A feature lamp should stand out, so size shouldn’t matter too much,” says a spokesperson from Lightcraft. Just remember that it shouldn’t be too high, as a fixture that nearly touches the ceiling will look odd.


(design: Project File)

If you are planning to purchase a pendant lamp to go with your dinner table, follow this general rule of thumb: The space from the bottom of the light fixture to the top of the dining table should be between 75 to 92cm. The size of the lamp, the view (if any) and the presence of centrepieces (especially candles) will also influence the distance.

When hanging the lamp, the table will be moved out of the way and the lamp’s height may seem very low (you might even bump your head into it). Don’t make any adjustments until the table is moved into place. Does your dining light seem overly bright?

You can cut down on glare by using anti-glare or frosted bulbs, and having additional light sources in the room. A sole overhead light source will be too harsh for a dim room.


(design: Platform)

Lighting a high-ceilinged area is always a challenge because of access for maintenance, says a spokesperson from Lightcraft. One way to avoid this, is to opt for wall lights that either cast light upwards or both upwards and downwards, at a serviceable height.

“Choose a fixture with good glare control; the light should have a robust output and preferably be dimmable.” If you don’t have a wall point, consider using a tall standing floor lamp with a high-powered spotlight to cast light upwards.

If ceiling lights are more your thing, heed these tips: “Changing the bulb will require a 3- to 5m-high ladder. Long-life LED lamps are now available for such pendants, eliminating the need to change bulbs too often.” Choose a fairly elongated hanging lamp and suspend it from a 2m-long cord. 

TIP! Don’t forget what your home already has: natural light. Make the most of it by:

  • Placing large mirrors to amplify the light streaming in.
  • Opting for gauzy window treatments instead of a heavy, opaque fabric.
  • Installing window films that cut down on glare and heat so you can keep window treatments open rather than closed.