Designing for small spaces means putting a huge amount of thought into how they look and feel when you’re inside them. The inside space in a Tiny House is hugely affected by seemingly small interior decorating decisions, like the use of partitions, textures and sidings, and the biggest one: lighting. Just like Trendy Trailer’s best brainstorming sessions are held in Ventura itself, surrounded by the tiny space that IS our design constraint, you can’t design for a tiny space without considering how its insides will feel as a home. Lighting – its colors and brightness, fixtures and shades, even the shadows it casts and spaces it illuminates – is incredibly important.
Keep in mind that task lighting (specific for reading spaces, kitchenettes, and dining areas) will quickly merge with ambient lighting in Ventura’s single-room plan. We plan to use LED strip lighting underneath the kitchenette cabinet (bright direct glare will be hidden by the edge of the cabinet), but two AC and two DC bulbs still need fixtures (aka sconces) and/or shades.
Ventura’s fixtures will be an interesting challenge; the Tiny House movement calls for eco-friendly materials (salvage if possible) and a strictly DIY approach, but the Playmor needs its vintage feel. Also, in a mobile home, aspects like weight, fragility, and space become new issues. To make this clearer, I’ve evaluated several creative options below.
This recycled-book lampshade is timeless, very creative, and physically light, as well as an easy DIY project. However, it takes up a large amount of space at head height and may be too fragile for a mobile home. It’s still a beautiful way to diffuse ambient light, though.
These are great examples of a very retro lighting idea: using salvaged, colored glass bottles of varying sizes as both a fixture and a shade for bulbs. This could also showcase the new, expensive LED bulbs in Ventura (which are almost works of art in themselves, just a little hard on the eyes without some kind of shade) for educational purposes when we present our completed Ventura. However, fragility in a moving vehicle is once again a concern (weight and space less so).
Another cool example of showcasing LED lights in recycled bottles!
The same idea, but with mason jars. Also very vintage (if not necessarily ’70s) and with an added benefit: lids and bulbs would be fixed, but the glass piece could be easily removed for cleaning.
These are plastic glasses covered in fabrics (somewhat flimsy, but they could be reinforced with cardboard or other stiff backings). As simple lampshades go, they have everything: they’re DIY, lightweight, can look vintage with the right fabrics, and are just the spirit of salvage.
These “punched-tin” lanterns are another appealing option (though I’m not sure how ’70s they are). Designs like these are easy to punch into painted recycled cans.
Finally, these are simple lampshade frames covered with vintage tablecloths cut to a pattern. They would be the most retro choice (also DIY), but more fragile and not in the “spirit of salvage.”
I hope this post has inspired you with more creative lighting and decoration ideas for what can be very specific requirements! None of these ideas are perfect and they all have pros and cons, but each one gives Ventura’s interior living a whole different feel.
Annalise Irby, Trendy Trailers Inc.