Factors to Consider when Choosing Lighting

by | Aug 21, 2019

Choosing lighting is a fundamental element in design. It can transform your space and effect its mood and energy.  Even if every other aspect is designed perfectly, it cannot be appreciated if there is bad lighting.  With that in mind, let’s shine a light (pun intended) on factors to consider when choosing how to light your space.

Lighting can be broken down into three basic categories:

  • ambience lighting
  • task lighting
  • accent lighting

Ambient Lights provide the overall lighting for a room

lighting design

It is both the natural and the artificial lighting.  For example, sunshine, light fixtures, larger wall sconces, and recessed ceiling lighting all provide ambient light. Natural lighting should be highlighted whenever possible. 

Many end their decision-making here; however, it is far from the only category to consider.  A well-decorated room will also include at least one of the other layers – task and accent lighting.


Task lighting is what it sounds like – lights needed to perform a specific task.

lighting design

 Examples include desk lamps, reading lamps, under counter lights and vanity lights.  Before choosing task lighting, consider your space.  How is this room being used for? Considering the tasks performed in each room will affect the level of brightness.  For example, low level ceiling lights are usually preferable in a living room for glare-free television watching.  However, a lamp could also be placed beside a couch if the room is also used for reading.

Accent or mood lighting

lighting design

Examples include a spotlight on a piece of art, or candle lighting to create a romantic tone.  To determine the kind of accent light to use, ask yourself what kind of mood you want to create. Additionally, what features of your design do you wish to highlight?  It may be a particularly stylish piece of furniture, an architectural feature or a piece of artwork.  Spotlighting or drawing attention to those aspects can also be helpful in drawing attention away from other troublesome areas.

Some other tips to consider:

  1. Dimmer switches can help create multiple levels of lighting. For example, a dimmer switch allows recessed ceiling features to be used as ambient light at a higher level, and as an accent light on a lower level to create a cozier vibe.
  2. Think about which bulbs to use. Energy efficient bulbs may be more practical and cost-saving for high-use lights.
  3. Do not combine too many different styles of lighting in one space. Keep your theme consistent.
  4. Statement pieces can also be used to add a pop of style or colour to an otherwise clean space.

Contact us to discuss choosing lighting for your next interior design project.

LESLEY WONG, Principal Designer

Lesley is committed to continuously keeping up with ever-changing trends and technology. But as every decorator knows, there’s no greater opportunity for learning than on-the-job experience. Lesley has worked in hospitality, commercial and residential projects and enjoys crafting customized and beautiful environments for her clients.

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