Published: 07 Dec 2020
Filed in:

Lighting is key to an interior, not only allowing you to see clearly but also for creating ambience


In the same way that you layer in textures, colours and materials in a room to create a space that looks good and feels comfortable and welcoming, so you do with lighting – differing levels of light allow you to vary the mood of a room, transforming it from bright and energising to something cosier and more intimate; it also ensures you have adequate lighting when you need to achieve a task. How do you go about doing this? To successfully layer light in a room, you need to include ambient, task and accent lighting…

Ambient lighting

This is the general lighting that gives you enough light when needed so you can see well and safely. A pendant light that casts light around the room is the most common choice of ambient lighting, and if you wire it to a dimmer switch, you can control how much light fills the room.

Cayo‘s mix of vertical and horizontal lights, create a modern pendant for a luxurious feel. Made of opal glass, acrylic brass and black aluminium, its dimensions are L50cm x W20cm x H120 cm . It takes LED 20 watt bulbs. AJ Electric

Inspired by the decorative tassels that adorn the curtains of historical palaces, these pendant lights team modern design with decorative elements which can be combined in a variety of ways to create an eye-catching bespoke design. The metal frame is decorated with brushed brass details and the traditional textile tassels are recreated with gold metallic fringing. The lights are topped with a brass sphere and the wires connect to one another, creating striking geometric lines between them. Light Design Solutions

Finlin resembles a modern sculpture – in reality, it is a light designed using wafer-thin aluminium tubes that appear to float weightlessly in space, creating a minimalist design that can be put together as you wish for a simple or more complex bespoke design. Light Design Solutions

The Apus pendant has an elegance – with a twist. The statement light has a sandy black aluminium and acrylic finish with a dimmable light function. It takes an LED 45 watt bulb. AJ Electric

Floor and table lamps are also key. Dimmable floor uplighters in the corner of a room will bounce light back from the ceiling into a room for a soft, diffused light and are particularly good in the evening. Table lamps are excellent for adding soft light where needed as well as task lighting.

Task lighting

Practical lighting, it allows you to illuminate an area of a room so you can carry out specific tasks such as reading, working at a desk or preparing food in the kitchen, and should be at least 450 lumens (see below). Typical task lights include table or floor lamps placed for reading, bathroom mirror lights and under cabinet kitchen lighting.

An arched floor lamp in a black and chrome finish for a sleek and modern design.  1920mm x 1960 mm, it takes an E27 bulb. OK Home

The Navan floor lamp’s chic, slim design enables it to adapt perfectly to its surroundings. Made of matt black steel and aluminium, its dimensions are D32cm x H30cm x H150cm. It takes an LED 6 watt bulb. AJ Electric

Accent lighting

The third pillar of lighting a room, this type of lighting highlights an area in a room such as an architectural feature, artwork or ornaments and done well, draws attention to the what is being highlighted rather than to the light itself. As a rule of thumb, accent lighting should be three times the brightness of your ambient lighting. Accent lighting, combined with artwork or a table with a vignette, is a great way to add interest to a dull corner. Popular accent lighting options include track and recessed lighting or wall-mounted fixtures.


Kelvin Colour Chart

Instead of being measured in watts, light is now measured in lumens – the latter measures brightness while the former calculates the amount of energy used, and with LEDS and compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) now popular, the level of brightness is a more accurate measure of how much light a bulb will give you. For a basic idea of how many lumens you need for a room, start by multiplying the length by the width of your room to get the square footage. Next, work out the ‘foot candle’ – how many lumens you need per square foot. In general, a sitting room or bedroom need about 10-20 lumens per square foot, while a bathroom or kitchen requires stronger lighting, at 70-80 lumens per square foot.

Colour temperature is also important – it tells you how ‘warm’ (yellow) or ‘cool’ (blue) a light is. It is measured in Kelvins (abbreviated to K) and the higher the number, the ‘cooler’ the light, so 6500K is at the cool end of the spectrum and resembles daylight, while a wax candle has a very warm glow of about 1000K.

For living and bedrooms a Kelvin range of 2200-3000K is recommended whilst for kitchens it is 2700-5000K and bathrooms 3000 – 5000K.

Keep reading: