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Small Closet Lighting Ideas

Small closet with lighting over hanging rods

Gone are the days when closet lighting meant a single, overhead, bare bulb with a pull chain to turn it on and off. The advent of low voltage LED lighting systems has forever changed the way closets are illuminated. And the change is definitely for the better. Now you can actually see what's in your closet. Many people think these new lights are for large closets only, but every closet, no matter what size, can benefit from proper lighting. Check out these essential small closet lighting ideas to see what we mean.

Everyone starts and ends their day in the closet. As a matter of fact, in quite a few households, the bedroom closets rival the kitchen as the true "hub of the home." It's where we keep all of our essential stuff that we need to start our day each morning and end it before bed. That is why closet organizers have become so popular in recent years. But if you want to be able to find what you are looking for quickly and easily, you may need more than just a well-organized closet. You need to be able to see what's in it. That's where a good closet lighting system comes into play.

Use the low voltage LED cabinet lighting in your closet. This lighting is available with plug-in transformers and remote controls to turn the lights on rather than in-wall switches. This way, you won't have to do any rewiring in the wall. These lights work well, save on electricity, and eliminate the need to call an electrician. Most homeowners find the remote control to be more convenient than a conventional wall light switch.

Four of Our Favorite Small Closet Lighting Ideas to Brighten Your Day.

  1. Put LED light strips above your closet rods

    Under shelf strip lighting above clothes rod in closet illuminates clothes
    This closet has a flexible LED light strip installed above the closet rod. This is the preferred solution for illuminating your hung clothes. Install one light strip above each rod under the shelf directly above. The LED should be installed directly above the rod so that it lights the front of the garments. At Closet Works, we recommend this method of lighting a clothes rod. Alternately, clothes rods are available where the rod itself lights up, but these tend to break down frequently and require a lot more wiring to get them going.

    Closet lights have evolved beyond the single bare bulb with pull chain in the center of your closet ceiling. Nowhere is this more evident than with the new flexible LED light strips used around sections of closet storage. Place a flexible LED light strip above your closet rod to illuminate the clothing hung from the rod. It is relatively simple to install this type of closet light along the underside of a closet shelf directly above the rod. Try it and you'll find that it is instantly easier to find your clothes. All the shadows that make all your pants like one another will be gone. Each individual garment shows up bright and distinctive.

  2. Put lights on the bottom of the closet for your shoes.

    Under shelf LED strip lighting lights up the bottom of the closet so that the owner can find his shoes.
    This floor-based custom closet system includes a set of lower drawers that sit above a shelf. The underside of the shelf is equipped with an LED strip lighting system to light up the bottom area of the closet used for shoe storage.

    Don't forget about the bottom of the closet! If you use this area to store your shoes, it is very important to have some light down there. After all, you wouldn't want to accidentally show up for work with one black shoe and one brown one. Use the same LED strip lighting installed above your closet rods for the bottom of the closet. Use a single LED strip on either side of the shelves and run them from top to bottom so that all the shelves are evenly illuminated.

  3. Use Vertical Strip lights along your shelving sections and inside cabinets.

    small closet lighting ideas should include vertical strip lights on shelving sections
    This galley style closet is small for a walk-in, but packs in a lot of amenities, just like its cousin, the galley kitchen. All the shoe shelves feature vertical LED lighting strips to illuminate them. It works great for purses too.

    Nothing lights up a collection of shoes, handbags, sweaters, or other folded items than LED vertical strip lighting. Any items stored on shelves can be illuminated in this way, but it is especially helpful for shoe shelves. If your closet includes shelves, try and add vertical strip lighting on the panel sides rather than under every shelf. This will give a more even light (especially if it is installed about 4-5 inches from of the front of the shelf or cabinet).

  4. Choose puck lights to recess over mirrors, closet hutches, or display shelves

    small galley style closet with LED puck lights over a closet hutch
    This closet includes puck lights above the hutch countertop and over a set of display shelves on the opposite wall. This is in addition to the vertical strip lighting that highlights the shelves surrounding the hutch.

    If your small closet includes a closet hutch or cabinet above a bank of shelves, add a couple of puck lights above the countertop. The puck lights are great for both task lighting and decorative illumination. Use them to help put on your favorite earrings or to create a focal point with a display of treasured jewelry and other items. If you have a mirror above the countertop, you will absolutely need these lights in order to use your mirror to its fullest.

    Puck lights can be installed surface mount, but they always present a more polished, custom appearance when you recess them into the bottom of the upper shelf. To achieve this, install two shelves/cabinet bottoms with a small space between them to receive the puck light housing. Cover the gap with cabinet doors or trim out the edges of the shelves so that they appear as a single piece of wood.

    Use a double paneled cabinet bottom to recess the puck light
    Notice the double paneled bottom shelf of this cabinet. By building it this way, we allow just enough space to recess the puck light and wires.

Like these ideas for small closet lighting?

Small closets can really benefit from the same lighting techniques used on their larger, walk-in siblings. Think of the differences between big walk-in versus small reach-in closet lighting designs as a set of matching mother-daughter dresses. Although fundamentally different, they are basically the same in appearance. The trick is simply to go a little more modest and incorporate less drama in the smaller version so that it doesn't overwhelm. Overall, you want to go for an even lighting scheme that will bring illumination to all areas of the closet — even the bottom. Your best bet for closet light fixtures is the new low voltage LED closet and cabinet lights. They work off a transformer that plugs into an existing outlet. And the wires to the lights are easy to hide. Switches to turn the lights off, on, dimmer, or brighter are contained in a convenient remote control. It's economical, easy to install, and practical to use. Why not reach out and brighten your day with some LED closet lights in your own home?