Why is lighting important in interior design?
Lighting can change the mood of any living space for better or worse. Bright lit rooms can make you feel alert and awake while darker, dim-lit rooms can promote relaxation and sleep-indulging. For these reasons, interior lighting is one of the most important aspects of creating the perfect home interior by controlling the flow, ambiance, and atmosphere of any room.
In this guide
This guide will teach you a variety of different lighting terms and provide expert advice through tips and techniques on how to effectively use light in your home interiors.
Types of Lighting
To start with, two main types of light encompass all lighting. These are natural light and artificial light.
Natural light from either the sun, candles, or fireplaces is both mentally stimulating and free of charge. However, it is difficult to control natural light and is an important factor to consider when assessing room interior direction. It is also important to consider that the time of day and seasons also affect the amount of natural light a room has.
Artificial lighting is used to highlight room features and add layers to spaces through highlighted portions of the room and should be considered according to the requirements of the room and mood. For example, red and yellow lighting tints create an intimate and warm feeling while blue and green-tinted light would create a cooler more peaceful feeling.
Types of Interior Lighting
Five main interior design lighting groups that always need to be considered when planning your lighting scheme are general, ambient, mood, task, and accent. Having a general understanding of each lighting group can help to plan an effective interior scheme.
As the basic foundation for any lighting scheme, General Lighting refers to the overall illumination glow across the entire room. This type of lighting is ideally used for more functional reasons rather than aesthetic. The defining characteristic of general lighting is that it’s usually direct through overhead ceiling fixtures and can be controlled by a dimmer switch to balance the light changing throughout the day.
The most common example of general lighting is a central pendant light. Luxury chandeliers for example make great visual statements. However, these need to be accompanied by other lighting layers due to central lighting sources casting unflattering shadows and giving no real lift to the room.
A partner to general lighting, Ambient lighting shares similar characteristics with the primary function to light the entire room. This particular lighting technique will usually be connected to a dimming system to control the light levels in relation to the occasion. For example, low lit lighting would generally be used for entertaining.
As Ambient lighting is a lot softer than general lighting, it doesn’t create unflattering shadows and when used correctly it creates an environment to relax from a stressful day.
Recommend product categories to create ambient light.
As the name suggests, task lighting is used when you are working on different tasks. This is for projects that require finer light such as cooking, reading, or writing. Task lighting tends to have a higher wattage than most other lighting and is a smaller, more concentrated light.
Combined with contrasting light such as a low light room, Task lighting can help naturally stimulate your brain and help you see more details while you work, creating higher quality results. Balanced-arm lamps are great for desk working whilst flexible reading lights fixed near a headboard are great for bedtime reading.
Recommend product categories to create task light.
Mood lighting makes space pleasantly inviting by creating pools of light which neutralise the shadows caused by general lighting. It is often the layer of lighting closest to eye level so it is important to hide any glare with a shade.
When choosing both floor and table lamps, the proportions of the shade need to be considered to its base as well as proportions to your furniture. If your room relies heavily on mood lighting, paler tones are best to allow as much light to shine through. For example, a darker shade is great for a darker, more atmospheric look.
Similar to task lighting, accent lighting has a particular function to highlight specific areas, artwork, or various sections of a room. For example, artwork, sculptures, and objects can be enhanced through accent lighting and prevent them from being lost in an under-illuminated space.
Accent lighting adds excitement to a room through visual enhancement and to be effective, requires at least three times as much light on the focal point as the general lighting surrounding it. For example, wall-mounted picture lights create an atmosphere that provides functionality and practically through accent lighting.
Types of Lighting Effects
Downlighting is the most popular form of lighting for interiors and is visible through most central light sources or spotlights. However, it casts unflattering shadows so it needs to be counterbalanced with ambient lighting.
Wall sconces are a great example of downlighting for creating a positive mood setting. It can brighten a hallway, provide additional lighting at a dinner party, or free up floor surfaces in a bathroom.
Uplighting is a much softer variation of downlighting and can make a room feel larger through bouncing light off the ceiling, reflecting back into the room.
As the name suggests, wall washing is designed to wash, or bathe walls with light and are extremely effective in bathrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, or bedrooms.
Similar to wall washing, wall gazing creates visual interest to a wall by effectively highlighting its texture. For example, a textured surface such as a stone wall can highlight key areas, drawing attention to the architectural design.
Spotlights are a very versatile way of lighting your home and can be effectively used to highlight a particular feature of a room. Spotlighting is extremely versatile and adaptable, introducing a very sleek, stylish, and atmospheric lighting scenario which works in a variety of different interior styles and can complement both modern and contemporary spaces.
Perimeter lighting makes the dimensions of a room more prominent through visually expanding its size.
Lighting Areas of your Home
One place that you should go to bright is in the kitchen. Hanging pendants over kitchen islands will light up space without taking up room for food preparation. Under-cabinet spotlights, recessed downlights over worktops, or long and low pendant lights over preparation islands are just a few effective examples.
Planning the perfect bathroom requires a lot of thought. Many people spend hours discussing the layout and have little input on the lighting scheme. You want your bathroom to have a good combination of low-level lighting to set the mood for a relaxing soak, plus strategically placed light fittings for illuminating areas for everyday tasks. A well-lit bathroom should include main downlights, wall lights and mirror lights to cover these requirements.
Dining Room Lighting
The dining room is one of the main rooms in view when guests are invited into your home. Lighting needs to highlight and bring out the best of this functional and formal space.
A sculptural centerpiece over a dining room table adds depth and creates a more intimate atmosphere. Spotlights pointed at the center of the dining table draw people in while wall lights washed upwards to create a softer ambiance. Finally, soft light generated by candles adds a welcoming and intimate glow.
Bedroom lighting needs to be both bright in the morning but a relaxing and intimate sanctuary at night. Using dimmable bulbs and bedside lights complement each other to provide the perfect solution for any situation.
Warm lighting creates a cozy environment for your bedroom while central chandeliers with discrete light-ups in the corners of the room create ambiance complemented with bedside lamps for reading.
There is nothing more inviting than a well-lit outdoors in the evening. Outdoor garden lights can be installed to highlight the beautiful areas of your garden come rain or shine.
Set a casual mood with hurricanes or lanterns to enjoy the warm glow of a candlelit outdoors. Consider solar lights as these require minimal maintenance.
Lighting is an extremely important aspect of interior architecture. Good lighting provides a warm, inviting and functional atmosphere to any space. Here you will find our selection of luxurious and high-end lights and lamps that will enhance any room. Take a look at our collection – All lighting, Cordless, Ceiling Lamps, Table Lamps, Standing Lamps, Wall Lamps, Other, Lamp Shades