Light and its importance in interiors

Updated: Apr 30, 2018

Amorphous, invisible, intangible Light often defines the space, mood and ambiance of our interior. For many of us lighting is an afterthought and we limit it to the regular table lamps and pendant fittings. In truth lighting can elevate pedestrian furniture to exotic decor or reduce an opulently furnished room into a dim and somber interior.



The general foundation of good lighting is level of background lighting that provides the primary light supplemented by area specific lighting. The greater the number of activities carried out in a room the more diverse the lighting has to be, for e.g. the lighting of the living room has to be extremely flexible and diverse, as numerous activities are carried out there, and they all have specific requirements.


The best interior lighting is that which emulates natural light. Specifically the changing quality of natural light. It comes from different directions and varies in intensity throughout the day. Artificial light should have the same quality – it should vary in different rooms, as every room projects a distinctive character and serves different purpose.


Selecting the right kind of lighting seems like a daunting task, but can be simplified by dividing lights into four main categories. Ambient light, principally used on background can be provided by an up lighters. Task lighting which as the name suggests is used for specified work, like reading or sewing. An accent light like a spot light is used for highlighting certain objects decorative lights like chandeliers or lamps. And kinetic light is a moving light whose best example is a candle.


We will focus first on what forms the foundation of lighting design.

Ambient lighting

Ambient light is a primary source of light for any room, and strictly speaking should have no recognizable source. Characteristically, ambient lighting washes the area in even shadow, less soft and glaze free light, an effect that can be easily achieved by using walls and ceiling as reflectors that soften and defuse the light from an artificial source. The resulting light is driving enough to comfortably watch elevation in but at the same time soft enough to make the room look more, specious.

Accent lighting

Accent lighting should be used with restraint unless you have a house of truly gigantic proportions as too much accent light can make a space look smaller. Every home has a few things to be highlighted for e.g. a painting which should be enhanced by a halogen down lighter or a low voltage and spot lamp placed in the soil of a pot plant to make light patterns.

Task lighting

Task lighting allows the light to throw on the specific task which increases your work efficiency. Task light if utilized well can improve the way you work and at the same time add character to a room. The best task light is one that is flexible with an opaque shade that sheds a bright clear circle of light onto your work, but not all over the room.


Decorative Lighting

These fixtures draw attention to themselves as objects. The Chandeliers is a classic example. New options include the low voltage pendants, Neon fixtures, Tiffany lamp shades & Fiber optics. Decorative strip lights can add warmth & sparkle to architectural lives & the candles are forever.


Plan your space

  1. Different areas need different treatment, so consider where you will be working, reading & relaxing. Your lifestyle will dictate the best layout & the type of lighting.

  2. Familiarize yourself with current trends & products.

  3. Keep your lighting flexible. Use adjustable spots to highlight sculptures& paintings. Make sure you have enough plug points for your table lamps and floor standing lamps. To be positioned around the room.

  4. Dimmers are great mood setters. If you connect them to certain plug points you will be able to switch on and dining table and floor lamps as u enter a room.

  5. Recessed floor plugs eliminate long trailing wires and are the neat solution to positioning a lamp on a table or next to a coach in the middle of the room.

  6. Allow for landscape lighting or small flowerbeds, there will be areas you will want to highlight. Plan one or two additional circuits switch to cater for future developments.


The real skill of lighting design is to maintain a judicious balance between the practical requirement of illumination and the desire of visual effects.

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