Importance of Lighting in Interior Design

By Maria Dinshaw | May 2020

Why is Lighting so Important?

Lighting is one of the more crucial aspects to consider when designing the interiors of a space. Being an integral part of the interiors, interior designers focus on planning lighting in the very early stages of the project. Good and well-planned lighting can make an average interior look good and a good interior look absolutely great. No matter the amount of money that you spend on your interiors, lighting must always be given a very high priority.

Lighting also influences the way you feel about space on a conscious as well as a subconscious level. Many aspects of lighting such as color or brightness come into play to influence the way you feel. For example in the case of an office, a bright and evenly lit space makes people feel more energetic and positive. The same space if lit dimly or inadequately, can make occupants feel gloomy, depressed and generally unproductive.

Mood and Productivity – Well-planned and good quality lighting has a positive impact on both moods as well as productivity. This is as true in the case of a home as it is in the case of office space and the best interior designers in India always leverage good lighting to achieve a remarkable outcome.

The aim of lighting in a home is to provide an atmosphere that is warm, inviting, productive, flexible and happy. The aim of lighting in an office is to provide an atmosphere that is conducive to productivity, focus and energy.


Broad Categories of Lighting

Ambient Lighting – Ambient lighting can also be described as general lighting. The purpose of general lighting is to evenly illuminate the interior of a space. General lighting is planned by interior designers so as to ensure even spread of light across all surfaces of the room. This kind of lighting allows easy movement through space and allows for most general activities such as cleaning or working on a computer. Ambient light can be provided by recessed ceiling lights, track lights, wall lights or cove lights or a combination of some of the above.

Task Lighting – Task lights are those, which help accomplish specific tasks. Task lights are more concentrated on a particular working area and provide adequate illumination for that particular task. Under-cabinet lights in a kitchen is an example of a task light. These lights help with tasks such as cutting and cleaning. Another example of a task light is a desk lamp or a bedside reading lamp.


Accent Lighting – Accent lights are those lights that are intended to illuminate specific areas or objects but they also add a layer of character to the interior lighting. The best interior designers often use accent lighting to help bring attention to an object of interest such as a painting or a beautiful artifact.

Things to Consider

Color of Light – Color of light or Kelvin is an important consideration when deciding upon the look that you intend to achieve. The lower the Kelvin the warmer the light color and the higher the Kelvin the cooler the light color. When the intention is to create a warmer atmosphere, lights with a lower Kelvin rating are more appropriate. When the intention is to create an atmosphere that is more brightly illuminated a cooler Kelvin is advised. For use in homes, the best interior designers in Mumbai generally select lights of a lower Kelvin rating. Lights with a higher Kelvin rating are well suited to the office environment. Depending upon the intention of the design, your interior designer may decide to use a combination of different light colors.


Intensity of Light – The intensity of light is again as important as the color of the light. The intensity of the light should differ depending upon the coverage required. Too much intensity and you will end up with a space or a part of a space that looks too bright and unwelcoming. This also results in a strain on the eyes. When the intensity is too low, you will have a space that looks gloomy and unwelcoming.

Glare – Managing glare is important to keep occupants comfortable. This is true in homes, offices and other commercial establishments. Light glare is not only very uncomfortable but is also a strain on the eyes. In a workplace this could lead to annoyance and reduced productivity as well.

Evenness of Distribution – Brightness is not the only matter that interior designers consider when dealing with illumination. What is desirable is the correct level of brightness spread evenly across surfaces. Dark spots and shadows need to be avoided when planning the lighting of the interior. Areas that connect one space to another space must also be well illuminated.

Availability of Options

Lighting in Homes – For homes, the options of lighting is very varied and interesting. The best interior designers in Mumbai will ensure that diffused light is planned into the interiors at the design stage itself and this provides for the most flexibility and the best results. Hidden lights or cove lights are a great way of adding ambient lighting to a room without the use of bulky light fittings. When full interior design is not an option the use of sconce lighting or up-lighters can be considered to provide the necessary ambient light in a room. Recessed lights are another way to introduce even lighting and allow easy illumination in all areas. Floor lamps should also be used as a complement to the other ambient lights to create a warmer atmosphere in the room. Accent lights add a lot of character and allow you to highlight certain items of interest such as a painting or a collectible. Spotlights are a good example of accent lighting where the light is designed to illuminate a specific area or item.


Lighting in Offices – The singular purpose of lighting in an office is to increase or maintain productivity. Ambient and task lighting is equally important here. Ambient light can be provided by using a wide array of panel lights that are designed to fit into a modular ceiling and to diffuse light evenly. There is also an interesting array of suspended lights that provide both tasks as well as ambient light by spreading light both downwards as well as upwards.


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