The Importance of Light as an Element of Interior Design

Posted by Alex Wu on

Lighting is a very important element of interior design, yet it can too often be overlooked. It enhances the aesthetic appeal of all the design choices made in a room, and is imperative to setting the tone and creating mood, in order to achieve a healthier and pleasing environment. There are a few important aspects of lighting that make it a vital aspect of interior design:



Lighting, first and foremost is a functional component of a space. It makes a place liveable when there is no longer any natural light. There is also specific lighting for practical uses such as task lighting, and mood enhancing lighting such as ambient lighting. The former shows the functional aspects of lighting, and the latter shows the design aspects. How both of these different types of lighting can be integrated to create a well thought out, pleasing and functional space to occupy is an integral part of interior design.



Colours are one of the most important aspects of interior design. The colour of your walls, floors, furniture and fittings, all come together to coherently create a certain mood and atmosphere. When you couple these colours with an artificial light, the colour temperature of the lighting chosen will make a great impact on how these colours are interpreted. A pearly white wall for example can look yellowy under warm white lighting, but under natural white lighting can look whiter, and under cool white lighting can look stark white. The CRI of a light is also a very important aspect when it comes to depicting the true colours of an item/object. Normal lights have a CRI of >80, which is fine, but the higher CRI lights (>90) will have a much better


Highlighting Décor and Furniture

One of the main components we think of when talking about interior design is the décor and furniture. We think of selecting the larger pieces of furniture in a room such as a couch or table, as well as the décor that would match the style we are going for, such as a painting, sculpture or feature wall. When selecting these items, we need to think about how to highlight them in order to bring attention to the effort and beauty of our selections, and the placement of these items. To do this, lighting plays a major role. The type of lighting you choose to highlight these areas should be deliberate yet minimal, so that the focus is on the feature, not the lighting.   


Acting as Focal Points

Lighting can also be used as focal points in a room. Decorative lighting such as wall lights or pendants are perfect examples of this. When you have an area you wish to highlight, such as a dining room or a kitchen, you can use these decorative lights to attract attention towards those areas. There are many different designs when it comes to decorative lighting, so you can choose one that matches the overall style of the room.


Room Size

You can make a room feel smaller or larger in size, without changing the actual dimensions of the room. The main way to achieve this is to use brighter colours on the walls and ceiling. Another way is to use the placement of lighting. When placed correctly, lighting can help to make a room seem larger, which makes the space feel more welcoming.


Mood and Atmosphere

Mood and atmosphere are what interior design is all about! To create a space which enhances a particular mood in certain areas, and to create a good atmosphere where we humans occupy is the ultimate goal. Lighting plays a major role in this. As discussed in our previous blog, lighting has a significant impact on the human physiology. This impacts on how we feel, regarding mood, well-being, comfort and relaxation. Choosing the right lighting can mean the difference between a comfortable and healthy environment to a stressful one.



Lighting should never be overlooked, and should play an integral part of the interior design process. Lighting should also never be an afterthought, as you may find that when a building’s structure is already drafted and then built, it may be too late to implement the lights you eventually want, that can best describe your room, and you may end up having to settle for something subpar.

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