Sumptuous Room Lighting Ideas and Secrets

A lighting plan is essential to any interior design. Whether you want to improve the lighting for a particular living space or plan a lighting makeover for your entire home, we've compiled a simple guide to address your lighting design questions. So if you've been wondering, which are the best lighting fixtures to complement the architectural details, style and personality of your home, read on.

What type of lighting is best?

Lighting fixtures need to align with the setting, style and purpose of the room. There are three main types of lighting fixtures, all of which should be layered into your room lighting plan. These are: ambient lighting, accent lighting and task lighting. Thoughtful light layering helps bring a room to life with functionality and flexibility. Using numerous light sources and a handy dimmer switch allows for a seamless transition from brighter light for working during the day to a sophisticated environment for entertaining or winding down in the evening.

Ambient light fixtures

The goal of general lighting, often known as ambient light, is to illuminate a whole room. It offers enough light across the area, regardless of the presence of additional lighting sources.

Matuki Extra Long Wool Double Sheepskin Rug

Matuki Extra Long Wool Double Sheepskin Rug

Furthermore, ambient light ensures safe and smooth traffic around the room as well as providing a general perspective of the space. This type of lighting 'bounces' off the walls, filling the room with brightness. These types of lighting include:

  • Living room chandeliers

  • Overhead lighting

  • Wall-mounted fixtures

  • Traditional recessed fixtures

  • LED downlights

  • Track lights

  • Floor lamps

  • Table lamps

Accent lighting

This type of lighting is mostly used to draw attention to a specific area of interest or to generate a desired mood or effect. This style of lighting creates the illusion of a larger space or can brighten dark corners. It is most commonly used to draw attention to an architectural element, artwork, indoor plants, a sculpture, or a collection of artefacts.

This type of lighting should, as a general rule, be three times brighter than the ambient lighting for optimum impact. These types of lighting include:

  • Living room ceiling lights

  • Track or monorail ceiling light

  • Overhead light

  • LED strip lighting

  • Tape and extrusion

  • Directional recessed fixtures

  • Downlights

  • Wall lights

  • Picture lights

Task lighting

During at-home activities (such as reading, cooking and computer work), customised task lights not only allow you to see what you're doing, but also give the precise degree of concentrated, strong lighting needed to complete a specific task without strain. For these types of tasks, a stronger light at a smaller focal point of the space is necessary.


It's advisable to avoid strong lights or lighting that produces distracting shadows and instead opt for a more comfortable warm glow. Installing a single switch for focused lighting, separate from the room's general lighting switch, is also recommended. These types of lighting include:

  • Directional gimbal recessed lighting

  • Downlights

  • Pendant lights

  • Slimline bar and undercabinet

  • Tape and extrusion

  • Desk lamp

  • Table lamp

How do you plan a lighting layout?

An interior designer will explain it's best to proceed from general to specialised when choosing the forms of lighting you'll utilise in your setting. Layer your lighting, so that you start with your ideas for ambient lighting, then move into accent lighting and finally choose your task lighting.

How many lights do you need in a room?

This will depend on the individual room and what it's used for. As a handy rule of thumb, a sitting room or bedroom will generally require around 10-20 lumens per square foot, while a bathroom or kitchen will need a stronger level of lighting, at around 70-80 lumens per square foot.

How do I style quality living room lighting?

Living room lighting must fit the space's functionality. Ambient lights, accent lights and task lighting are the three forms of living room lighting that make up a lighting plan. Each form of light permits a distinct activity. A living space may be correctly lighted to satisfy any demand by layering these three lighting types.

Our favourite living room lights

We love sourcing beautiful lights to complement our luxury sheepskin furnishings in a contemporary living room or apartment living room.

Wall lights: These make a practical and decorative addition to an interior design. You might choose to:

... Opt for a playful neon light to accentuate your sense of style and fun

... Position a pillar light to illuminate a reading nook or cocktail bar

... Create a wall light feature with a cluster of back-lit plaster tiles, a light box or fabric-covered lightshade.

Wall sconces: Vintage, art deco, mid-century or a contemporary design... the choice is yours when it comes to finding the perfect wall scones to complement your decor.

Table lamps: For a sophisticated living room, select a sleek and chic table lamp or pair of two table lamps for your coffee table, bar or end table

Floor lamps: A sweeping arc floor lamp or a brushed brass standing lamp can make a gorgeous statement in a previously dark corner or floor space.

Pendant lights: Scour thrift stores to find an industrial pendant light as a centrepiece for above the dining table or build a kitset David Trubridge masterpiece to demark a zone and enhance the look and feel of your family room.

LED lights: Energy-efficient and oh so stylish. Choose these functional and decorative fixtures to bring a sense of glamour and pop to the entire room.

What lighting is best for a small room?

Lighting is an important part of interior design, and choosing the appropriate lighting can help you make a small space appear larger. Here are some tips for making your room look and feel larger:

Use overhead lights and a tall floor lamp or two to draw the attention up.

Make use of low-profile wall sconces as practical and decorative fixtures.

Remember the dimmer switch is your friend!

Embrace LED strip lighting.

Decorate the room to enhance the effects of your lighting.

How do you brighten and bring more natural light into a dark room?

Mt Gold Long Wool Designer Floor Rug

Mt Gold Long Wool Designer Floor Rug / Dublin Bay Stone Set

A common lighting challenge is brightening a poorly lit room. Luckily, there are many creative solutions for this issue.

  1. Use light tones for the walls and floor. Think Nordic style and paint your interior in Scandinavian hues.

  2. Add a light rug. At Wilson & Dorset, our collection of designer floor rugs features a gorgeous series of pale, ivory, cream and beige sheepskin wool rugs that are perfect for brightening a living space.

  3. Use mirrors. A modern or vintage mirror or cluster of mirrors can bounce light from nearby windows, reflective surfaces and sources of natural daylight.

  4. Incorporate bright art. Vibrant paintings or sculptures can elevate the mood and look of a space. Extra light from a picture light or even a lightbox will combine with diffused ambient light to brighten your space.

  5. Choose a door with a window. One of the most basic room lighting ideas for a dark room.

  6. Skip the curtains. Take away heavy, light-absorbing window treatments and instead opt for soft finishings or barely-there blinds.

How do you make a cozy lighting atmosphere?

The main strategy here is to vary your light fixtures. Remember to layer your lighting and plan for ambient, accent and task lighting. Then have fun with it!

How can I light an area without electricity?

If you are planning for lighting an entire room without a power source, opt for classic candles, solar-powered lighting, and rechargeable battery-powered fairy lights or LED strip lights.

The takeaway

Selecting your favourite room lighting ideas is all about finding the perfect combination of functional lighting and decorative lighting. Making a lighting plan is key for refining your ambient, accent and task lighting choices. Take inspiration from the lighting in living rooms you love and your home will be welcomingly aglow in no time.

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