Play with Light to Liven Up Small Spaces

Leisure Pursuits

Bring holiday cheer into your home by getting creative with light

As winter closes in and daylight is in shorter supply, you can bring new energy to your rooms by getting creative with light. A new light fixture can liven up a room, but so can low-cost string lights, clip lights, and thin, lighted wire when used in interesting ways. Here are some simple decorating ideas that use light to brighten a dark space – no matter how small.

Shine a light on holiday cards

Display cards on a mantel or ledge, and use thin, lighted wire or string lights to show them off. You can also create a shape on a bare wall using string lights and small, paint-friendly clips or hooks. A star, tree, or gift box are easy shapes to try.  Use additional clips to hang your cards from the string of lights. Stars made from brightly colored felt can serve in addition to, or in place of greeting cards.

Consider color

Soft, white light is elegant, but adding a pop of color to your lighting scheme can really lift your spirits. Traditional Christmas colors like red and green, and Hanukkah colors like blue and silver are perfect for accents, and can help you get in a holiday mood.

Mirror, mirror

Placing mirrors near lights will reflect the light throughout the room, making small spaces feel larger. Group small mirrors together for greater effect. You can also use mirrors to reflect natural light from windows. Mirrors can also be used to reflect flickering candlelight. Consider battery-operated candles versus traditional wax candles to reduce any fire risk.

Go green (and white)

Fresh pine boughs from your local nursery or florist, paired with strings of lights and bright ribbon can brighten any dark corner. Place greenery flat on a mantel top, and weave string lights and ribbon throughout any way you like. The fresh scent of pine is a natural reminder of winter’s beauty, but if fresh boughs aren’t readily available, artificial greenery is a perfectly suitable stand in.

If you’re feeling crafty, you can create decorative, lighted accents by using white spray paint on long, slim branches, then wrapping them with string lights (with white wires) before placing in a tall decorative vase with greenery.

Brighten up your loving spaces with lights.Fill your glass

Any large clear glass bowl can be transformed into a stunning centerpiece or accent with lights and ornaments. Use thin, lighted wire or tiny battery-powered string lights to create a “nest” in the bottom of the bowl, then fill it with brightly colored ornaments. Consider the colors of your table linens when choosing the ornaments to use for your centerpiece for a polished, professional look.

Important indoor lighting tips

Safety is key when using any kind of lights for decoration. Follow these simple guidelines to avoid any problems.

  • Always plug in lights before starting a project. There’s nothing more frustrating than creating a beautiful design or arrangement, only to find that some or all the bulbs aren’t working.
  • Don’t string too many lights together or overload extension cords. Doing so may cause bulbs to burn out bulbs prematurely, or result in a blown fuse.

Any indoor space – no matter how small – looks larger and more inviting when filled with light. With just a little planning, and a few simple supplies, you can transform a tiny, dark room into a welcoming haven for holiday guests, or year-round enjoyment.