It takes an astonishing 81 hours to find your perfect light! That’s why we’ve put together 18 fantastic lighting ideas for every room in your house to help take the hassle out of finding that perfect light.
The importance of good lighting
Lighting is the air that allows your interior design to breathe. You might want it to be a central feature or a neutral background but the presence of good lighting is what allows every other element of your room to be appreciated and valued.
From garden lights, to the front door lamp which glows invitingly, all the way up to a beautiful stained glass bedside lamp to a post-modern wooden chandelier, your lighting choices should bring your home to life.
How do I get good lighting at home?
Before we provide some of our top lighting ideas we wanted to address the question of how to get good lighting at home! There are some general guidelines to follow that can be incorporated across the whole house to get the best lighting at home.
- Include a minimum of three light sources in a room. Your main overhead light, specific lighting at a lower level such as lamps or task lighting and some type of ambient lighting which can include decorative lighting, fairy lights or even a candle. This allows you to choose the best level of light to suit your needs, mood and time of day.
- Maximise natural light, if you’re blessed with a south-facing kitchen then if possible make use of large windows, sliding doors and light-textured window fittings to keep things light and breezy. Also, make use of reflective surfaces such as mirrors to bounce light around your space.
- Consider the purpose of each room and allow this to guide your lighting choice. Do you enjoy reading in bed? Then a soft but illuminating bedside lamp will be perfect. If you use your spare bedroom as an arts and crafts corner then you’ll need to consider a large ceiling light to illuminate your task as well as more direct light sources for more detailed tasks.
1. Ceiling lights
Designing the lighting for your home is sometimes focused around the specific objects you want to light. For example, the countertop, the sink, the painting or the dining room table. What this approach misses is that while all these things benefit from accent and task lighting, there is a general backdrop of light that needs to be established first: A canvas for your accents to build upon. A combination of ambient, task and accent lighting can achieve a balance of light that meets all of your needs.
Task lighting is any light that serves to provide light for a specific purpose or task, whilst accent lighting focuses light on a particular area or object. Ambient light is part of what gives a space it’s personality and the less direct, wide scope light of a ceiling light can be a lovely way to lift the room without harshness. A soft glow smooths out impurities but makes everyday tasks easier. A ceiling light is a perfect way to provide this.
It is important to remember that ceiling lights can take on many styles and the different choices can project many different effects and intensities of light. Most ceiling lights are placed centrally but if you are considering lighting that is made up of lots of smaller spotlights then you might find that you need to consider the placement of your ceiling lights too.
Ceiling lights come in many forms, but most importantly, they allow you to realise your vision for the room and form the basis of your lighting design. They should be the first step and your first thought as you design your space.
If you want a room that glows when you tell it to, dazzles when you want it to and lights up on command, then you are certainly in need of a lamp. Whether you want task lighting, accent lighting or just a little extra sparkle for your room, there is always a place for a table or floor lamp.
Lamps are an ornament as well as a functional object, so it is important to think about how they fit into your home and what you would like them to convey. If you have a modern interior aesthetic then you might want to go for a square lamp or a smoked glass globe light. For a more traditional interior, you could go for a ceramic base with a fabric shade in a chintz or floral print.
If you like a more mixed look with a combination of a traditional fringed lamp and other more plastic fantastic mid-century pieces then you could tie together your room with a choice of colour or pattern. For a minimal, clean aesthetic, you could go for wrought iron or a sprayed metal mount for a larger Edison style bulb.
You might want a large lamp to fill an awkward corner and act as a feature. Perhaps a large ceramic vase style base or a statue style lamp. Measure and consider your space to help you use it efficiently. These larger vase or statue style lamps are best used on a high enough table to make their decorative base visible and their design easily visible. Equally a small table lamp which you want as a compact addition to a bedside table needs to be small and not crowd the items that you want to light up.
A successful lighting design combines a number of light sources at different levels of the room, so combining a floor lamp with a table lamp is guaranteed to make your room brighter and more beautiful.
3. Pendant lighting
Pendant lighting might sound like a technical term, but all it refers to is a light that is fixed to the ceiling but hangs a distance down, like a glowing pendant. Some are suspended by a chain, a reinforced cable or several smaller, more delicate chains, not unlike a locket on a silver chain. The category is one that encompasses so many different types of light fitting, which is why they are the perfect choice for various rooms in the home.
Pendant lights can be round, square, made of almost any material and in a host of different sizes - they are a very versatile item that can be used in lots of different ways.
This style of lighting is often found to be an attractive option for indoor or outdoor porches, over staircases and centrally in dining rooms or bedrooms. They provide well-diffused light that spreads across the whole room, and they do not have to be one single central pendant light either. You could have pendant lights hung at different levels to highlight different areas of focus.
A major advantage of pendant lights is that some light is often reflected up onto your ceiling. White ceilings will then tend to reflect that light back down across the room, giving a good general level of light. It is the base layer of lighting design that eliminates wasted shady nooks and crannies.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that pendant lights are only for a base layer of lighting however, they are more than up to the task of accent and task lighting. A pendant light hanging over your dining room table can give an intimate, cosy feeling to family meals while a pendant light over your armchair in a reading corner can give you the light you need without the need for yet another side table.
When you think of lighting design, the definitive feature, the grande dame, the belle of the ball, has to be the chandelier. There is no better statement piece, no more attention-grabbing feature. Hang one over your dining table to create a glittering conversation piece or in the hallway to greet you as you come in. In one fell swoop, you can elevate your bedroom into a boudoir by adding the right chandelier.
Chandeliers come in a range of sizes and styles, so you don’t need a ballroom to bring the style into your home, they look especially good over a dining room table or in a spacious hall or entryway. If you are looking for a simple room with a few accent pieces, then they look especially good throughout pared-back rooms of the home.
From empire to stained glass, crystal to beaded, there are so many styles to choose from. Chandeliers are a beautiful, elegant statement piece which no level of spartan discipline should prevent you from installing.
5. Outdoor lighting
Many of us think of our gardens as somewhere to go in the daytime and only enjoy in full natural light. Consider how much more you could enjoy your garden if you viewed it as the outdoor living space it is. You could start to use your garden for parties or as a venue for a private al fresco dinner. Even as a space for solitary contemplation. For all these choices, you will want a suitable choice of lighting, to light your way, create an ambience for your guests to chat or glow quietly in the background.
Outdoor lighting can come in many guises. You might need a solar spoke light to show you where the edge of your lawn is or a porch light to guide you home. It could be a security light for safety or an accent light to make your garden into a chic little haven of design. Whatever outdoor lighting ideas you have, you will be able to use them to improve the appearance and use-value or your outdoor space.
Think about where you want to install your lights first. If you want to be able to walk up your path without the risk of tripping into one of your flower beds then lighting that marks the boundary of the path and casts enough light to see on an uneven surface will be the best choice. Electric wall lights are a way to add character to your home as well as add functionality, whilst a lantern style outdoor wall light adds a period touch to a home that needs character. For modern outdoor lighting, a globe light in your porch can give the welcoming golden glow that you’ll sigh with relief when you see, whilst post lights are very helpful for lighting your way home if you have a long driveway and you need to keep on the straight and narrow.
6. Task lighting
When it comes to needing to get a specific job done whether that be a fiddly DIY project, art project or day-to-day work there’s only one light for the job - task lighting. Task lighting does exactly what its name suggests, it enables you to carry out certain tasks. The most common rooms where you’ll need task lighting include the kitchen, bathroom, office and any hobby room or space where you carry out tasks that require direct lighting.
Task lighting in the kitchen takes the form of spotlights or under cabinet lighting. These forms of task lighting help to provide focused light when carrying out cooking tasks especially chopping.
When choosing spotlights place them directly above your work surfaces to reduce the shadows cast while carrying out your cooking and cleaning tasks.
Under cabinet lighting typically come in two varieties - strip and spots. Strip lighting is iften used as a form of mood lighting but also make excellent task lighting. Choose strip or spot lighting that is nice and bright and sit directly above your main worktop areas. Be sure to think through and plan their location before installing to give you practical use and to avoid unnecessary or shadow casting lights.
Often people mistakenly think that bathroom lighting either needs to be a handful of spotlights or one ceiling light but this is certainly not the case. Make use of a spotlight above the shower, an extremely useful light that is often missed. Undoubtedly, the task light which will be most useful in your bathroom is surrounding your mirror. Traditionally this has taken the shape of one single light above the mirror but this can cast shadows on your face making it difficult to apply makeup, shave or carry out other beauty tasks. Instead, opt for a light either side of the mirror.
7. Paper lighting
Paper lighting also more commonly known as paper lanterns are lantern style lamp shades most often seen hanging from a ceiling light. Originating in Asia these beautiful lamp shades are reminiscent of the magical paper lanterns often sent into the night skies.
This style of lighting works well if you’re hoping to achieve a Japandi or Scandi look within your home with the dominant colour being whites and creams. However, more recently there have been a wide range of colours available which make this a great choice for children’s bedrooms or playrooms to add a bit of fun to the ceiling.
Although more synonymous with a minimalist look you can still experiment with paper lanterns to create a point of interest. If you have high ceilings in your entrance way then a cluster of paper lanterns can create an eye-catching display. This style of lighting also works extremely well suspended above a spiral staircase or large stairwell adding intrigue.
8. Ceramic style
Ceramic style lighting comes in many forms from pendants and table lamps to flush ceiling lights and wall mounted lights. One of the best things about ceramic lighting is that it appeals to a variety of decor styles including but not limited to Scandi, modern, cottagecore and minimalist.
If you’re considering the addition of ceramic style lighting to your home firstly choose your style. Are you hoping to achieve a sleek look to complement a minimalistic home? Perhaps you want to add some patterns and textures to your space with the use of a handmade ceramic light? Maybe you’re just looking to add one feature table lamp with a ceramic base?
Once you have decided upon the style you’d like the next consideration is colour. Ceramics are well known for their vibrant colours so take time to consider what will work best in your space. If you have quite a neutral colour scheme then you can either complement this with a neutral ceramic light or create a point of interest with a bold, contrasting colour. Both options are hugely popular and it will come down to personal preference.
9. Industrial lighting
The industrial style as a whole has come a long way since its origins in New York loft style apartments. It’s now very easy to find beautiful, industrial styled items that bring that rustic, unconventional charm to your space. Industrial lighting features chrome, copper, metal, worn-in charm and oversized elements. Many of the latest industrial lighting designs feature details such as metal casing and pipes which add individuality and nostalgia to each piece.
Executing a full-on industrial look within a space can often be too much for smaller rooms but the addition of even just one industrial-style lamp in an otherwise simple interior becomes a real eye-catching piece!
The colour scheme of the industrial look is typically dominated by dark, matte tones. If your lighting options are on the darker side of the colour wheel and you’d still like some colour in your space then add pops of colour through bright fabrics, patterned wallpapers or pendant light in a contrasting bright shade.
Tripod lamps are a common industrial style light feature. Originating from camera tripods and studio lighting these lamps will be distinguished by open metal shades, three metal legs and filament bulbs. This style of lamp works particularly well in a dressing room or as a statement piece in your living area.
10. Fun lighting
Lighting doesn’t have to just be functional, it can also be used to add fun and joy to your space. Just like how you express your personality through the other items of furniture in your home, add your own stamp with the type of lighting you choose.
Novelty lighting can be a great addition to your children’s bedroom or playroom helping to add to the room’s theme or symbolise a particular interest that your child has. They are also a great addition to home bars and games rooms.
Often when we think of fun lighting we imagine garish colours, bold shapes and harsh lighting but this does not have to be the case! When used sparingly and in the right setting novelty lighting can really make you stop and look.
Another way to inject some fun lighting into your home is with fun table lamps. Whether flamingos are your all time favourite animal and so you opt for a flamingo light or you’re looking to add something quirky to your home like a monkey carrying a light bulb, there is sure to be a unique style of lamp to tick that ‘fun’ box.
11. Night lights
Nightlights have long been a source of comfort for the little ones in our lives. While many night lights still retain the basic principle of requiring a plug socket to be attached to, there are now a range of night lights in various shapes and sizes including many teddy bear and animal shapes that provide a safer and just as effective option.
12. Neon glow
Similar to fun lighting, neon lights are a fantastic way to inject some fun into your space. Mostly available as wall hanging lights this style of light works well in a games room, home bar, dressing room or in an art-deco, maximalist themed home.
Express yourself through the various designs and phrases on offer but limit yourself to one or two wow pieces to avoid your home feeling too much like a nightclub!
13. LED strips
LED lighting is energy efficient, longer-lasting and more versatile when compared to incandescent bulbs. Easy to use rolls of LED strip lighting allow us to transform any corner of our homes with beautiful light in a colour of our choosing. But where do LEDs work best?
Under wall cabinets
LED lighting works brilliantly under cabinets such as kitchen cabinets providing a well-lit workspace for you to carry out your cooking tasks.
If you have cabinets or shelves above your work desk then the addition of LED lighting on the underside of these areas will help to prevent you from straining your eyes while working. They also provide a less harsh light and are a great option to use when trying to wind down for the day.
Under floor-mounted cabinets
The addition of LED lighting underneath your floor-mounted cabinets will provide a nice underglow to your kitchen while also helping to stop you from stubbing your toe during those late-night trips to the fridge!
Under the bed
Placing LED lights under your child's bed can be a great alternative to the traditional night light. In your own bedroom, they can help to create a cosy ambience and be the perfect light source as you unwind in the evening avoiding the need for the sometimes harsh ceiling light.
The addition of LED lights to frame your screens will not only help to relieve eye strain but also adds a fantastic vibe to your home office, gaming room or living space. Choose white or amber tones for your working from home space and go bolder in your gaming space with tones of red, purples and blue to really bring the room to life.
14. Bold colours
You don’t have to play it safe with your light fitting, there are a fantastic range of colour options out there when it comes to choosing your perfect light, all you need is a little imagination! Lampshades are a great way to introduce bold, bright colours into your space. Perhaps you want to tie together a bold hue within your space using accessories, in that case, the use of bold coloured cushions, vases and lampshades of the same colour will really help to form a theme within the space and can be a great bold contrast to neutral tones.
Don’t be afraid to shake things up with the addition of a hot pink lampshade or a midnight blue table lamp which are sure to catch the eye of everyone who enters your home.
15. Fabric & textures
When we think of the addition of fabric and textures to our homes we often focus on the usual suspects - bedding, soft furnishings and curtains but why stop there? Lighting options can be a unique way to add more texture to your space.
The addition of a feather styled lampshade will take your space from bedroom to boudoir, a pleated simplistic light shade can be the perfect finishing touch to a Scandi, minimalist space while a simple pleated table lamp can add a sense of regency to your home. Just as with colour, don’t be afraid to experiment and to find the textures that will enhance your space.
16. Peace & Zen
Lighting plays a huge role in our mood. High intense lighting can stimulate alertness and activity while lower soft lighting helps to create an atmosphere of relaxation and restfulness. If you’re looking to create some peace and zen in your home then we recommend choosing lower intensity bulbs within natural styled lampshades and light features. Think rattan, light woods and linen with orange-tinged bulbs and you’ll be well on your way to feeling zen already…
17. Glass lighting
If you are looking for a stylish and elegant look you may want to consider glass lighting. Glass light shades and pendants are versatile when it comes to enhancing your home, with their reflective quality allowing more light into each room, making them a popular choice for many. Glass lighting is easy to clean, long lasting and never outdated.
18. Mirror lighting
Ensuring you have high-quality lighting goes a long way in getting ready for your day ahead, your night out or to perfect your skin care routine. Although most commonly associated with bathroom mirrors, mirror lighting is certainly not only suited to this room. Hollywood mirrors have become an extremely popular choice in recent years and make the perfect addition to a glamorous dressing room. Whether you opt for a mirror with built in lighting or stand alone wall lighting above or either side of your mirror, the addition of this extra light source will be hugely beneficial from a practical point of view.
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