Principles of Good Lighting Design


Did you know that good lighting is among the most critical elements of an interior design project? Without it, your space might feel confined and uninviting, making it tricky for you or anyone to enjoy their time in it.

The first question to answer before selecting the best lights for your home is, “why is light important?”

Ideally, it adds brightness, brilliance, layers, depth and drama to a room, allowing you to perform different tasks efficiently and unwind after a long day. Light also enhances mood and energy levels, which could play a significant role in getting you through some of your worst moments.

Undoubtedly, every space requires lighting, no matter how small or large. Still, creating a grand lighting scheme for your home or work environment requires you to grasp good lighting vs bad lighting. You can do that by learning the main lighting design principles, which this blog elaborates on.

Let’s dive in! 

Embrace Natural Lighting

Natural lighting has always been the most efficient and reliable source of light for homes and workplaces. This could be because it’s brighter and more eco-friendly than artificial light sources. It’s also handy when you want to save some extra bucks and still enjoy all the perks of good lighting.

You can maximize natural lighting at home in a ton of ways.

To begin with, choose light, beautiful paint colours over darker ones—they reflect natural lighting instead of absorbing it, making your space brighter. If you long for a warmer effect, you can’t go wrong with an off-white shade. Some neutral and earthy tones like beige, taupe and grey might also help to bring more natural lighting into your home.

Expert Tip: Use a gloss finish for a more professional and attractive look. The lustre scatters the light to create the illusion of more space.  

Prioritize Light Layering

Comprehending the concept of layered lighting is key to a great lighting design. Typically, you must use different lighting techniques to illuminate a space, giving it depth, character and a unique feel to boost its visual appeal and functionality.

So, you can layer light by utilizing ambient, task and ambient lighting. Here’s a  breakdown of each of these essential lighting techniques.

Ambient Lighting

General or ambient lighting is vital in every space. It doesn’t highlight a particular feature in the room; instead, it ensures that you can move around without bumping into things. Usually, the light comes on every time you turn on the main switch.

You can get ambient lighting by installing multiple indoor lights, including LED downlights, chandeliers, wall-mounted fixtures and floor-lamp torchieres. Remember that you require 20 lumens per square foot to create sufficient general lighting.

Task Lighting

Sometimes, you need bright illumination to enable you to perform or entirely focus on particular activities, which is where task lighting comes in.

For instance, if you don’t want to chop off your fingers while preparing dinner, install a pendant light to direct light to your kitchen counter or cutting board. Desk lamps are handy for typing, while a bedside lamp allows you to read while still between the sheets.

Brightness is essential when choosing task lighting. You want fixtures that provide enough lighting to illuminate your workspace but not the entire room. Before making your pick, learn the difference between luminance and illuminance and how each correlates with our perception of how bright a light is.

You should also prioritize adjustability when choosing task lighting. This allows you to customize your workspace however you want.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is for décor purposes—it takes your space’s aesthetic appeal to the next level to make it more alluring. The fixtures you choose for this lighting technique highlight the noteworthy features of your room, such as fireplaces, pieces of art, pictures and other exciting furnishing details.

The most widely used accent lights are wall sconces, recessed lighting fixtures, floor lamps and adjustable spotlights.

If you hope to get the most out of accent lighting, only illuminate the elements you want to emphasize. This means that each light must be strategically positioned to serve that purpose.

Choosing lighting fixtures of different colours is also advisable, depending on the mood you want to create. For instance, red creates a calming effect, while warm shades like yellow and orange make you happy.

Choose the Right Lighting Color Temperature

Modern lighting fixtures come in varying colour temperatures, depending on the appearance of the light they produce.

Colour temperature is usually measured in Kelvin (K), in a range of 1,000 to 10,000. So, as the Kelvin number decreases, the more yellow/red/orange the illumination becomes. The best colour temperature range for residential lighting applications is 2500K-5000K.

Ideally, the colour of your lighting fixtures should match your home’s décor to create a harmonious look to boost your comfort.

You must also consider the atmosphere you want to create when selecting your lighting colour temperature. For example, a colour temperature between 2700K – 3000K is suitable for the cosy, warm and intimate spaces you want to share with your romantic partner.

A colour temperature of 5000K appears stark white and is best when creating the perfect environment to display art pieces.

Maintain Your Lighting Fixtures

Taking care of your lighting products is a vital lighting design principle you should observe. The truth is that lights always deteriorate over time, despite boasting top-notch quality at installation. And failure to maintain them can result in energy waste and other effects of poor lighting, including constant eyestrain and fatigue.

Clean your lighting fixtures at least once annually to maintain them. A lighting product’s output can decrease by 10% yearly due to dust accumulation, even in a clean space. So, failing to wipe it for several years could tremendously affect the light quality.

Another step to properly maintain your lighting fixtures is ensuring all replacement parts, such as the drivers and ballasts, match the originals. This prevents burnout and promises the same excellent performance. 

Use Lighting Control Technology 

Lighting controls are necessary, especially when you want power over your lighting and maximum energy efficiency. They deliver the right amount of light when and where you need it. 

Home lighting control systems leverage three types of controls: 

  • Motion sensors: These devices switch your lights on and off based on physical movement. For instance, if you install them in your warehouse, they’ll activate the lighting as soon as you walk in and deactivate it when you leave. 
  • Time switches: These are automatic timers that turn your lighting on and off based on your manual setting on the lighting system. Time controls can be overridden when necessary. 
  • Light controls: These sensors respond to changes in brightness or light received during various times of the day. For instance, they can turn on your outdoor lighting when darkness sets in and switch it off at dawn. 

As you consider lighting controls, remember to get dimmers too. They allow you to increase or decrease your lights’ brightness level to suit your needs or preferences. 

Develop Your Lighting Design Today

Creating the best lighting design can be a long, complex process, especially if you have little experience. You need to set a realistic budget and determine the finest lighting fixtures for your home based on the above principles and your unique space.

What’s more, your project needs a professional approach for the best outcome, which is where Toplightco steps in.

We offer a wide range of quality, modern lighting supplies in the UK. Our lighting experts will give you solid advice about the most suitable lights for your space and even guide you through the installation procedure, which we can also handle at your convenience.

Besides timely delivery, we guarantee a responsive support team available 24/7 to ensure your every query is answered on time, allowing you to complete your lighting project as soon as possible.

If you want to learn more about us, we’re only a call away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best lighting design for watching TV?

Dimmable overhead lighting is among the best options for enthusiastic TV watches. It keeps distracting hotspots out of your eyeline so that you can focus on your show or movie.

How should I plan my living room lighting?

Developing a lighting design for your living room requires you to use the three main types of lighting—ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. This gives you much-needed illumination while casting a glow on your beautiful décor items and setting the desired mood.

Why does every home require a good lighting design?

Homes need proper lighting to provide illumination, enhance security and décor, increase the property’s value and create a functional space.

What is the most important function of a great lighting design?

The primary reason every space requires a good lighting design is visibility.

Should I hire a designer to create my home lighting plan?

A qualified interior design lighting expert can be extremely handy when choosing and installing your home’s lighting fixtures. They can guide you through leveraging task, ambient and accent lighting to ensure your home is functional and perfectly lit.  



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