Every interior designer knows that the right lighting makes a world of difference to your decor. The different types of lighting are not just functional; by understanding how they work together and considering lighting at the planning stage, you can change the mood of a room at the flick of a switch, and create an elevated aesthetic.
Follow our interior design lighting tips to discover the art of illumination and bathe your home in beautiful light.
The 3 Main Lighting Types
Let’s start by looking at the three main types of lighting you’ll be working with: ambient, accent, and task lighting.
1. Ambient Lighting
Ambient lighting is your main light source: the general lighting that illuminates your room, in a similar way to natural daylight. While you can achieve this with a central ceiling light, think about recessed or surface-mounted fixtures too for a soft, all-over glow.
2. Accent Lighting
If ambient lighting provides the background, accent lighting starts to define your aesthetic and draws the eye to the focal points in a room. You might want to use a stronger downlight to highlight a piece of wall art, for example, or suspend a chandelier over a dining table.
3. Task Lighting
As the name suggests, task lighting enables you to perform practical tasks safely. It could be a desk lamp in your home office. A stylish floor lamp would be a practical choice for a reading nook or under-cabinet lights to illuminate your kitchen workspace.
Now that we’ve established the building blocks, here’s how to layer lighting to elevate your living space and bring your interior to life.
Why is Light Layering Important?
Layered lighting is crucial to making your home feel warm, inviting, and lived-in. If you focus on just one type of lighting, you risk ending up with a room that’s out of balance. Ambient lighting alone won’t help you when you need a stronger light to work or to read; however, if you rely solely on task lighting, you’ll end up with dark corners and harsh contrasts.
Layering light also makes your home more versatile, allowing you to conjure up a specific atmosphere depending on the situation. Ideally, your lighting design should include different types of light at varying heights, so that you can adjust the levels of illumination to change the mood of the room with ease.
Tips on How to Layer Lighting
Use Natural Light as Much as Possible
As well as the three different types of lighting, there’s one more light source to add to your layering toolkit: natural light. It’s a well-known mood booster, and your indoor plants will thank you too. Make the most of a large bay window or skylight during the day, and factor it into your final lighting plan.
Don’t Over Brighten a Room
While it’s tempting to flood your room with light, remember that you can have too much of a good thing. A room that’s too bright can look harsh and clinical; aim for a soft, welcoming aesthetic instead.
Invest in a Smart Switch and Dimmer
A dimmer puts you in control, allowing you to adjust brightness levels depending on your mood and the time of day. For example, while you might need strong illumination to prepare for a dinner party, you’ll want to tone it down to create a cozy, intimate atmosphere when your guests arrive.
Lighting Ideas for Every Room
From choosing the right accent lights for your living room to punching up your bathroom decor with a well-chosen light or two, here’s how to elevate any room in your home.
Bring Warmth to Your Living Room
When it comes to decorating your living room, the aim is to create a warm, inviting space to relax and entertain guests. Start with an even distribution of ambient light for a feeling of overall softness (a chandelier that spreads light around the room can be a good choice here) and to avoid any jarring shadows or contrasts.
Remember that this is one of the public areas in your home, so choosing accent lights for living room enhancement is an important element of your décor. Add wall lights to draw attention to a chimney breast or similar architectural flourish, or highlight ornate side tables with a pair of luxurious table lamps on top.
Brighten Up Your Kitchen
Sure, kitchen lighting has to be functional, but you can dial up the aesthetic level too. Choose practical downlighting for food preparation areas such as countertops; layer with decorative wall lighting for further brightness; and put your style stamp on the room with a statement pendant light.
Bring Your Bathroom Lighting to the Next Level
Like the kitchen, your bathroom is another area where practicality reigns – but that’s no reason not to invest in elegant lighting. While you’ll be restricted in some parts of the bathroom for safety reasons, there’s no reason why you can’t hang a dramatic chandelier or hero pendant lamp from the ceiling provided it’s sufficiently far away from water sources.
Pick the Right Light Temperature for the Bedroom
While it’s important to understand the different types of lighting and the various fixtures (pendant light, wall light, downlight, and so on), the lightbulbs you choose can also play a major part in the ambiance of a room.
Color temperatures are measured in degrees of Kelvin, with light appearing cooler the further up the scale you go. So to create a soft, warm light in the bedroom (and a more gentle wake-up call in the morning), opt for a temperature of around 2,700 K. Once you get beyond 3,100K, the cool, bright light will feel too harsh for your surroundings.
Light Up Your Living Space With Knot Home
Looking to get started with layered lighting? Explore our selection of decorative lighting and lamps at Knot Home. From elegant table lamps to contemporary floor lamps, you’ll find the perfect blend of beauty and functionality to create an inviting oasis of light in your home.