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It’s a general misconception that buildings with low ceilings can be a dark and claustrophobic space. As experienced lighting designers, we know this simply isn’t true.

Whether you’re working with a living room, basement cellar, study or bedroom, with the right light, the space can be transformed to feel airy and inviting.

In fact, some clever tricks and strategically placed lighting can be one of the best way to visually heighten a room with low ceilings.

Here’s our expert guide to lighting a room with low ceilings.

What is the best type of lighting for a room with low ceilings?

It might sound obvious, but if you have low ceilings it’s better to avoid large, low-hanging light fixtures, like chandeliers. Not only will they shorten the room and make it look smaller, but they can be at risk of getting damaged if they’re in the way of any foot traffic!

Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives to pendant lighting, such as wall lights or floor and table lamps.

When it comes to lighting a room with low ceilings, the trick is to aim for an even spread of light across the room. You’ll want to avoid creating any dark corners or areas of light contrast.

To make the room and ceiling appear bigger, use a different variety of light sources, at both different heights and levels. This way you can draw the attention away from the ceiling above and instead focus on emphasising the wider space.

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How to layer light in a room with low ceilings

The best lighting design schemes will usually use a combination of different types of lighting, known as layering.

There are three main types of lighting: ambient, which is the overall lighting level in a room, task lighting, which is used to target specific areas, and accent lighting, which is used to highlight any features and create atmosphere.

Learn more about the three types of lighting in our recent blog “How to use ambient, task and accent lighting in your home”.

Ambient lighting

Uplighters can be a very effective way of lighting a room with low ceilings and will provide great ambient lighting. Uplighters include wall lights and floor maps.

Task lighting

Floor lamps and table lamps can provide practical task lighting. For that extra level of flexibility in your space, consider an adjustable style so you can really target specific areas.

Accent lighting

Finally, some strategically-placed accent lighting can highlight the wider space and will add depth at different levels. If your ceiling is low because you live in old house with ceiling beams, consider highlighting these with accent lighting! Not only will it look stunning, but you’ll make your room appear much larger.

For additional control, consider including dimmers so you can create the perfect atmosphere.

Can you use pendant lights in a room with low ceilings?

As we mentioned earlier, some pendants are a definite no when it comes to lighting a room with low ceilings. But, with some careful thought, there are still some options available.

If you’re set on having a pendant in your space, you’ll need to consider the size and style compared to the space you want to put it in. You’ll want to avoid choosing pendants that take up a lot of the ceilings, or those that have a large drop.

Instead, try a stylish pendant with a short or adjustable fitting. Also, make sure you opt for a lighting fixture that will cast lighting downwards and outwards for maximum light exposure across the room.

Working with lighting designers in Hampshire

For the last 20 years, our expert lighting design team have transformed a range of spaces in Hampshire, Surrey and London.

If you’re looking to work with an award-winning lighting design team on your project, we’d love to help. Contact our expert team today for a free lighting design consultation.


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