The Importance of Lighting in Interior Design

Contemporary living room with accent lighting over fireplace and task lighting over large coffee table.

Lighting is a crucial yet overlooked area when crafting your dream home interior. Lighting affects how the size of a room is perceived, creates ambiance, and can influence your mood. There is more to lighting design than simply choosing a stylish lampshade. In fact, there are three fundamental elements of lighting design, and when implemented correctly, these elements can transform your space into a masterpiece.

The Three Elements of Lighting Design

Ambient Lighting: Ambient lighting provides the general illumination of a room. This light can create a sense of warmth and depth in your space. You can achieve ambient lighting by using dimmer switches in overhead light fixtures such as recessed lights, track lights, or chandeliers. Adding lanterns and wall sconces to your space can also render an ambient lighting effect.  

Accent Lighting: The main purpose of accent light is to add style and personalization to whatever space you are designing. Accent lighting includes anything from shelf or cabinet lighting to art and toe kick lighting. If you want to highlight the architectural features of your home, like a fireplace, collection of items, or a painting, accent lighting can help draw attention to those things.

Task Lighting: Task lighting is designed to create a shadow-free environment while performing daily activities in your home. Whether you’re cooking, watching TV, or reading a book, task lighting ensures everything is properly illuminated. This lighting can include desk lamps, floor lamps, cabinet lighting, and ceiling pendants.

Interior Design and Lighting

You cannot experience the interior architecture of a home to its fullest if you don’t have proper lighting. The three elements of lighting design work in conjunction with color selections, room size, availability of natural light and furniture selection.  

Here are a few ways lighting is important for interior design and how it can transform your space.


When it comes to lighting, it needs to serve a purpose, or else it is wasteful. Consider the style of lighting you want to ensure you get the best directional or luminescent type for that setting. Look into task-specific lighting for desks and other work areas where functionality is more important than overall room illumination. Chandeliers are used in large, open foyers, entryways, and rooms because of their centrally themed placement and because they provide excellent illumination for the room. Wall lights visually add length and size to an entryway hall while also lighting the way.

Color Management

Proper lighting can be used to enhance colors within a design. It can also add to or subtract from the colors in a room. Darker colors make a room feel smaller and cramped, while light-colored walls do the opposite. When selecting colors in the design phase, testing them with different lighting types is beneficial. Some lightings such as directional lighting may soften the wall colors, and the light emitted may be warm or cool depending upon the bulb type.


Both natural and artificial lighting help with the illusion of space. If a room does not have sufficient lighting, it will feel cramped. This can be worsened by close-proximity furniture arrangements in a smaller setting. Corner lamps, wall sconces, and centrally hanging lights on the ceiling help brighten a room if natural lighting is not available, and they help create a visually larger space. Natural lighting is preferred above artificial lighting because it shows off colors better and adds to the visual space of a room by bouncing off reflective surfaces. Consider skylights or large windows if you want more natural light or use sheer drapes and curtains to allow the maximum amount of light from your current windows.

Here at Sherwood Studios, we understand the importance of proper lighting when designing a space. That is why we offer modern and contemporary home accents that will light up your interior and breathe life into your space.

If planning out a home design project sounds overwhelming, there is no need to fret. Our talented team of interior designers can help you plan and create your dream space! We will assist you in mapping out a proper lighting plan to assure your home has practical and functional illumination.

Call us today at (248)855-1600 to speak with a design professional and learn more about our interior design services!

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