Design is defined by light and shade, and the appropriate lighting is enormously important – Albert Hadley

Selecting the right lighting for your interior design project is about more than just choosing a pretty lamp or a unique light fixture. While your light fixtures should reflect your overall style, interior design lighting has a much bigger impact on the look and feel of your home.

Lighting can change the mood or alter the perceived size of a room. The type of lighting and where it is used are important aspects of interior design. They should be selected to work with the existing natural light, the color palette of the project, the size of the room and the furniture that will fill it. The right interior design lighting can effortlessly provide comfort and practicality while showcasing your design project.

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Lighting plays a big part in any interior design project. You can choose all the right colors and the perfect pieces of furniture, but if the room isn’t properly lit, all those efforts will fall flat. Keep in mind, your lighting not only needs to look good, it needs to serve a purpose. Chandeliers are a great choice for entryways, open foyers and large spaces such as a formal dining room. Along with creating a certain ambiance in the space, they also provide excellent overall illumination. In addition to lighting the way, wall lights give a hallway depth. For offices and other work areas, functionality is essential. In these spaces, task-specific lighting is a priority.

Directional Lighting

Interior design lighting can be used for overall illumination or it can be used to highlight specific design elements in a space. Track lighting sometimes gets a bad rap when it comes to interior design. It has evolved over time and is available in stylish designs that are perfect for positional lighting that highlights a painting, sculpture or another focal point of the space. There are also picture frames and mirrors with built-in lighting that can illuminate specific areas of the space. Recessed lighting provides vertical beams of light which offers a more dramatic effect than the overall glow of centralized ceiling fixtures.  


Both natural and artificial lighting help create the illusion of space. This is true in any space, residential or commercial. If it is available, natural lighting is the preferred choice as it highlights colors without altering their hue. It shows off colors better and can expand the visual space by reflecting off surfaces around the room. To maximize natural light, use shears instead of heavy drapes. Adding larger windows or skylights is another great way to fill the space with natural light. For spaces where adding more natural light isn’t an option, avoid cluttered furniture arrangements. Incorporating corner lamps, wall sconces and centrally located ceiling fixtures can brighten the room and create a visually larger space.

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Effects on Color

Your lighting choices will also impact the colors in the room. Colors you like and seem to match well at the paint store or furniture gallery often appear different when you put them in their intended space. To avoid color surprises, paint color samples on each wall and pair them with fabric swatches. In the normal illumination of the space, live with them for a few days. If you feel the room is too dark, add lamps before making your final color choice. If the room seems too bright, you may want to change your lighting selections, tone down your color choices or consider adding dimmer switches.

Interior Design Lighting

This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun searching for the perfect lighting fixtures! Just make sure your choices not only look great but provide the proper lighting to make the most of your interior design project. Finding the right balance between style and functionality can be a challenge for a DIY decorator. To truly make your design project a success, its best to work with a professional.

CW Interiors was founded on a passion for design and specializes in creating interiors that are warm, inviting and timeless. Owner and designer, Carolyn Wesslen, prides herself on demonstrating integrity, courtesy, and professionalism when working on an interior decorating project with a client.

An Allied ASID member, Carolyn’s goal is not only excellent design but a pleasant experience as well.  Each project begins with a complimentary consultation, with the end result being a beautiful space that you’ll love and enjoy for years to come.