Interior Lighting Design Ideas


This document looks at some ways to make interior spaces more interesting using lighting design ideas.

The lighting design needs some planning to get it right. Too much light and interiors can begin to look like a plain uniformly lit office. Too little light and people become frustrated that they can’t do what they need to do.

Resist the temptation to add loads of lights. Wait until you have worked out what is required. You need to have darker areas to make the lighter areas look good!

Try to work through the different layers of light which designers use:

Ambient Lighting – General illumination for people to move around the space.

Task Lighting – Specific lights to illuminate a specific area so that people can do what they need to in a space.

Accent Lighting – To highlight ‘focal points’ such as paintings and statues.

Now you are thinking about which parts of the interior you light, here are a few techniques to achieve the desired illumination. You can trial some of these techniques using a lamp on a long extension lead – this is a really useful way of testing the likely results.

Decorative Lighting – Often unnecessary, but designed to catch the eye and impress visitors.

You can easily test out individual effects. Just take a similar light outside on a long extension lead and play around with where to place it, point it, and even try dimming it. If you are thinking of using coloured light then you can play around with different bits of coloured plastic to test the effects.


Downlighting can seem a little boring, but it is a great way of illuminating a general area. Use recessed lights if you can to reduce glare. They can also be used for accent lighting from directly above and task lighting in specific areas.


This can be used to reflect light from a ceiling in to an interior space. This is virtually glare-less as the light source is usually hidden. It can also be used to highlight architectural features such as arches.


This is basically accent lighting, but the light source is not located near the feature. Often used for pictures and art.


Washing a wall with light or colour requires an even coverage of light. To achieve this, the light source must be a little bit away from the wall so that the light falls on the wall.


Like wall washing, but with the light source at the bottom, top or side of the wall, so the light travels across the surface of the wall.  This highlights any texture as shadows and can be a lovely effect when used on stone or brick walls.


If you illuminate the area behind an object, the object will appear darker and have a sharp outline, creating a ‘silhouette’ effect. This has to be used very carefully as it can make the front of the object appear poorly lit.

Depending on the lighting effect, you could use dimmable lights and experiment with different settings for different circuits.

If you use a lighting control system you can save different combinations of brightness in to ‘scenes’ and recall them using a single button.

Please do plenty of research to see how the lighting effects you are considering have worked for others, and how they might be adapted to your project.

We are available to undertake interioe lighting design ideas for you. Please get in touch for a chat.