Lighting in the interior: 7 main rules and 64 lighting ideas

We have collected tips and ideas to help you plan functional and beautiful lighting in any room.

In the interior, lighting plays a key role. It depends on him whether it is comfortable to be in the room, how colors and textures are perceived, whether the space seems more spacious or, conversely, cramped. This article has collected the main universal rules that are suitable for creating lighting design in a city apartment or a country house. Take some notes!

All about lighting design

    General rules

    When planning the light in the interior, remember a few key rules – they will help you not to make a mistake and not to correct unsuccessful lighting scenarios later.


    One ceiling lamp is not enough for high-quality lighting of the room – with the exception of a tiny hallway with an area of ​​​​1-2 square meters. Even in a small bathroom, you will need at least two sources: the top and the mirror. Determine the number and location of lamps based on life scenarios in a particular room. It is important that the light sources are located at different heights, and the lamps are of different switches – so you can adjust the intensity of the backlight and illuminate only the part of the room that you want.

    Remember that the lower the lamp is located, the more intimate the light seems. Accordingly, to create a romantic or relaxed atmosphere in the bedroom and in the living room, a ceiling lamp alone is definitely not enough.

    First – layout

    Planning lighting design before the arrangement of furniture in the room is thought out is a fundamentally wrong approach. First, you need to draw up a design project and understand exactly where and what will be located. After that, analyze the result: which zones are well-lit by the window, and which ones, on the contrary, need additional illumination? Where will you cook, eat, read, work, and do hobbies? Are there large objects in the room that block the light (for example, a closet or a high partition)? Based on this, you will understand where and which lamps will be located, and you will be able to accurately plan the electrical circuit.

    Power, Hue, Color Rendering Index

    These characteristics are the “three pillars” on which high-quality and comfortable lighting rests.

    • Power(or intensity) – is responsible for how bright the glow will be. Choose light bulbs based on tasks: more powerful for overhead light, muted for local and decorative. And if you want to adjust the intensity within one lighting device, install a dimmer – the device is connected to the outlet and allows you to change the brightness of the lamps.
    • Colorluminous flux – can be cold, neutral and warm, measured in Kelvin. The feeling of being in the room depends on the shade: it can invigorate and, conversely, relax, add comfort or make the atmosphere more catchy. Different options are suitable for different rooms, but in general, a neutral tone is considered optimal.
    • Color rendering index(denoted by the letters Ra or CRI) – this indicator affects how accurately we perceive colors in the interior. Distortion of shades can “kill” a carefully selected palette and the entire design as a whole. 100 is considered the best indicator – such light will be close to natural daylight. Look for bulbs with a Ra/CRI of at least 70.

    Coverage range

    Another non-obvious point that many people overlook when buying is the coverage area of ​​the lamps. It can radically differ from your expectations, so be sure to pay attention to this when choosing bulbs and shades. Moreover, this rule works both ways: it is important not only to find a sufficiently powerful device, but also, for example, not to overpay for a model with a large glow radius if you are looking for a light bulb for a pantry or a micro-bathroom.

    Natural light

    Assess at the planning stage what the situation with natural light is in the apartment or in the house. Most likely, for each room it will be different. What is important to understand: which side of the world the windows face, what size they are, how much sun enters the room (and how much of it at all in your climate). Or maybe there is no natural light at all – for example, in the hallway , bathroom or dressing room.

    Try to make such a layout so as not to block the windows and not “cut” the sun’s rays. To do this, it is better not to place cabinets and racks perpendicular to the wall, but to replace blank partitions with light semi- or transparent structures. And do not forget about design tricks : use mirrors, a light palette, glossy surfaces, arches, doors with glass inserts, etc.

    Type of room

    Lighting scenarios for each room will be different – there is no universal scheme that will suit all rooms. For example, in the cooking area and in the workplace, you will need powerful lamps, and in the bedroom, the illumination should be soft and subdued, setting you up for relaxation. In the bathroom and hallway, the light bulbs should be bright enough and with a maximum color rendering index – there we gather, apply makeup and evaluate our appearance, so the perception of all colors should be clear.


    Do not forget about the decorative component. Lighting devices are the same full-fledged elements of the interior as wallpaper on the walls, furniture and decorations. And in some cases, they can even become a central accent or the only decor.

    Choose a model depending on the overall style:

    • For contemporary and minimalism – all sorts of inconspicuous embedded systems, concise spots and sconces, hidden  LED lighting .
    • For classics and neoclassics – graceful sconces, ceiling lamps, table lamps. All soft rounded shapes, with brass and glass elements. If the ceiling height allows, you can hang an accent chandelier.
    • For eco and scandi – simple lamps, both recessed ceiling and pendant ones are suitable. Choose models with paper or wicker lampshades, they look concise, but very atmospheric.
    • For the loft and industrial – massive pendant lights on cables or chains with metal and glass shades. Accent chandeliers, incandescent lamps,  tracks and floor lamps on a hinged base are also suitable. Spotlights look interesting (but this decor is only suitable for spacious rooms).

    Light design in the interior

    Now let’s take a closer look at what to consider when planning lighting design, with photos of lighting options for a house and apartment.


    This is the basis of the entire lighting system. The overhead light can consist of one or more sources, depending on the size and shape of the room.

    Most often used as a base:

    • Large accent shade or chandelier.
    • group of lamps.
    • Spots with directional light, which are usually mounted on a tire.
    • Spot built-in light bulbs.

    In large or elongated rooms, spot lighting is a good solution: for example, several spots or recessed lights or a powerful LED strip around the entire perimeter of the room. If you want to visually stretch the room upwards, use curtain lighting – it will create the effect of a floating ceiling, and the walls will appear higher. In the center you can hang an accent chandelier or a beautiful ceiling.

    Ceiling lights give a uniform and bright enough glow, which is suitable for any vigorous activity. But be careful with the location and design of the lamps: they should not cast too large shadows. Strong contrast will make the space uncomfortable and even gloomy.


    The next level is additional illumination. It includes all local illumination of functional areas.

    It will be different for every room. For example:

    • In the kitchenthe working and dining areas are separately illuminated. Sometimes there may also be a soft group or workplace. Above the tabletop there should be a bright illumination that does not cast shadows from behind. A good option is LED lighting. It is also often used to illuminate cabinets to make it easier to navigate the shelves in search of the right dishes or products. For a dining table or a bar counter, a beautiful accent lampshade on suspensions is suitable – or a group of several.
    • In the living roomuseful illumination of the soft zone and storage systems: walls, cabinets, home library. If there is also a mini-study, dining room or bed, highlight them too. Place a floor lamp with a soft glow next to the sofa or hang a couple of wall sconces – they will give atmospheric illumination and will come in handy if, for example, you want to spend an evening reading a book or watching movies – a bright overhead light can glare on the screen.
    • In the bedroomyou definitely need lamps near the bed: to make it convenient to read, lie down with a laptop or phone, look for the necessary items on the nightstand. If you have a dressing room or just a large closet, add a couple of built-in light bulbs or an LED strip to this area – it will become much more comfortable to change clothes and take things apart. Finally, lighting will be needed for the relaxation area, dressing table or work table, if they are in the bedroom .
    • in the bathroomit is important to provide a good illumination of the mirror so that the face can be seen when applying makeup and during beauty procedures. It can be built-in lighting or, for example, two interesting wall sconces on both sides. Choose light bulbs with a neutral glow: too cold or too yellow tone will give the wrong perception of colors.
    • In the hallit should be convenient to gather and look for the necessary things, so the lamps are usually placed near the mirror and hangers. It is also desirable to highlight the cabinet so that all shelves are clearly visible, including the farthest and topmost ones.


    Decorative lighting is no less important than top and local lighting – it is she who gives the space a finished look and is used for various design techniques.

    What can be done with decorative light:

    • Highlight the decor – paintings, posters, wall panels and sculptures in niches will look much more impressive if they are illuminated with spotlights or LEDs. They will not only become better visible, but the composition will become more voluminous and interesting.
    • Emphasize textures – for example, if the room has an accent wall with brickwork or embossed decorative plaster , additional light will attract attention and highlight a bright texture. This applies to any pronounced textured surfaces.
    • Visually change the proportions – correctly placed accents can visually make the room wider or taller. For example, in a room with a low ceiling, you can hang a few additional vertical sconces with light directed upwards on the wall.

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