How to Light a Room the Right Way

Updated: Feb 17



Lighting is such an integral part of a home but it can often be overlooked in terms of decorating. In reality, lighting plays a major role in interior design. It sets the mood, maximises functionality, and adds to aesthetic appeal.


This makes it essential to prioritise this aspect of interior design; you don’t want to hinder the statement your indoor space makes just by compromising on the lighting!


If you’re wondering how to light a room for maximum effect, look no further. We’ve put together a quick and comprehensive guide on how to light a room the right way — let’s get started!


Layer The Lights



While setting up the lighting, the most important part is understanding the different types of lighting — ambient, task, and accent lighting. You can then layer them and create the right balance between each type.


Ambient Lighting



Ambient lighting is any type of general-purpose lighting you use in your interior. This is usually the light you’d switch on as soon as you enter a room, so it makes sense to start building the foundation of the layers of light from here.


The best ambient lighting constitutes two parts, natural and artificial light. Install large windows to allow in plenty of bright light during the day. You can also use light-coloured walls and mirrors so the light can be reflected, creating a more well-lit impression.


For artificial light, the best types to use are ceiling fixtures. Hang chandeliers, incorporate LED downlights, or even use wall sconces. Alternatively, you can opt for more portable sources of light, such as floor lamps and table lamps. All such types will provide sufficient light to illuminate the room, and will suffice for tasks that don’t require bright, direct light — more on this below.


Task Lighting



Task lighting is just what it sounds like — it is used to provide focused light for specific tasks. This includes everything you’d do in your daily routine, such as applying makeup, cooking, reading, and working.


The most suitable type of lighting depends on the specific activity you are using it for. For example, a table lamp would do the trick for your reading nook. Use undercabinet lighting for your kitchen to illuminate the cutting and cooking areas, and vanity mirror lights will give you the perfect setting to do your makeup. For your working table, you can opt for a floor lamp or hang a pendant light from the ceiling, depending on the amount of light you need.


Accent Lighting


Source: Mullan Lighting


Accent lighting is used to highlight a specific object (such as a piece of artwork or furnishings) and helps make it the centre of attention. So, if there’s wall art in your room that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, accent lighting is just what you need to make it the focal point. Additional benefits — it can be used to brighten dark corners.


Because it focuses on highlighting particular objects, accent lighting is almost three times brighter than general-purpose lighting. Floodlights, torchieres, wall sconces, and recessed lights — there are plenty of options to choose from. Our favourite is using a wall-mounted lamp to illuminate a painting on an accent wall.


This type of lighting, however, requires careful planning; you have to choose the option that would work best for the specific piece you are aiming to highlight.


Work According To Your Room’s Orientation



The orientation of your room (or house, for that matter) has a say in the type and amount of lighting to use. If your room faces north, it most likely receives less natural light than south-facing houses. So, be sure to use more and/or brighter light for spaces that receive less natural light.


If you receive less natural light, use recessed fixtures across the ceiling in addition to ambient and task lighting. In fact, you can use any type of lighting, provided it complements the standard light a room would receive. This ensures artificial lighting makes up for the less daylight received.


Always Use Dimmers



Dimmers make room for lighting flexibility, helping you create an ambience that lines up with the lighting needs during different times of the day. They’re also inexpensive and easy to install.


At maximum brightness, the lighting will illuminate the entire room. At low-light, it will create a relaxed mode (that can be used, for example, while relaxing at night).


Choose The Right Light Shades & Temperatures



White shades can create cold tones — not something you’d want for a relaxing bedroom. Instead, go for warm whites (3000 K) and very warm whites (2200 to 2700K) to create a cosier, more inviting ambience. Coloured fixtures can also help tint light, making it appear creamier.


Never Forget Bedside Lamps



Bedside lamps with warm lights are a must for bedrooms. They provide extra illuminance, make the space feel more like a bedroom, and of course, provide the added benefit of switching off the light before sleeping without having to get out of bed.


The Right Light Makes A Room Bright!


Lighting can really make or break a room. With the right type, you can enhance a moderately-decorated room, while bad lighting can ruin the ambience of even a well-furnished room. It’s about time you edit the lighting of your house to instantly uplift your interior!


Need help with the lighting in your space? Just book one of our Interior Design Gurus here! They can look at your space over video chat and give you tips, ideas and guidance on how to achieve your dream interior.