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How to Create a Cohesive Layered Lighting Scheme for a Beautifully Illuminated Home

dining room with cloud bubble chandelier hanging over the dinign table

Dimming the lights to create a calming evening ambience, your attention is drawn to the room’s beautifully layered lighting scheme. Incorporating varying light sources has allowed you to curate an inviting and multi-functional living space, ideal for seamlessly transitioning from day to night.

Moving from one remarkable lighting fixture to the next, your eyes take it all in. Dimmable wall lights bathe the room in a warm, relaxing glow, whilst statement ceiling lights add visual interest and illuminate practical activities throughout the day. Atmospheric table and floor lamps are the finishing touch, producing cosy pockets of light throughout the space.

When combined, each of these individual types of lighting work together to create a well-lit space that is both versatile and welcoming.

Discover how to layer your lighting to craft beautiful, atmospheric interiors in your home.

What is layered lighting and why is it important?

Layered lighting is all about incorporating different types of light into your interiors to create multi-functional spaces. The goal is to make sure you have sufficient lighting for every time of day and to produce any ambience with ease.

‘Layering up on lighting provides the most versatility for your space’, says Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, lighting expert and co-founder of Dowsing & Reynolds. ‘The more light sources you have (design wisdom says at least seven), the more options you have, which is especially important in multi-functional and open-plan spaces.’

modern kitchen renovation with layered lighting scheme

Creating a layered lighting scheme is also a great way to add depth and visual intrigue to your interiors. Having a broad range of different lighting fixtures positioned at varying heights draws the eye around the room and prevents it from feeling dull and lifeless.

‘Combining ceiling, wall, floor, and table lamps is a must, but remember fairy lights and candles, which are both great at providing a low-level relaxing ambience’, says Ally.

The three layers of lighting and how to incorporate them

glowing statement bubble light over dining room table

Layered lighting schemes are made up of three different types of lighting:

  • Ambient lighting: The general lighting that provides overall illumination in a room.
  • Task lighting: Accentuates specific areas of the room and illuminates tasks.
  • Accent lighting: Highlights certain features or areas within a room to draw attention to key elements of the décor.

‘Include lighting at all levels’, says Ally. ‘Lounging on the sofa might need low-level table lighting, whereas sitting at the dining table calls for overhead ceiling lighting.’

Ambient lighting to brighten your space

A medium frosted bubble chandelier in a peach coloured room.

Ambient lighting is essential in any room to brighten the entire space and make it possible to see clearly. It’s typically provided by ceiling lights and acts as the base layer for any layered lighting scheme.

When choosing ambient lighting, be sure to consider the following:

  • Room size: Make sure you have enough ambient lighting to illuminate the entire space. A large room may need multiple ambient lighting fixtures to achieve an even spread of light throughout.
  • Purpose: Your ambient lighting should align with the purpose of the room. Kitchens and offices often require brighter ambient lighting, whilst fixtures with warm light bulbs are the best choice for bedrooms. In multi-functional spaces like the living room, use dimmer switches to effortlessly set the right atmosphere for any time of day.
  • Aesthetic: Overhead lighting is one of the most noticeable features in any room. Make sure you choose fixtures that look beautiful even when they’re not in use, such as eye-catching chandeliers.

Product pick: Bubble chandeliers are an excellent addition to any living space, providing adequate ambient lighting and a captivating focal point simultaneously.

Image courtesy of @ramseyresidence

Ally’s design tip: ‘Having as many lights as possible on dimmer switches will give you ultimate control over the ambience you create.’

Task lighting to illuminate key areas

Add task lighting to your interiors to accentuate specific areas and illuminate tasks. Task lighting removes shadows and glares to reduce eyestrain and helps you stay focused on the task at hand, whatever it may be.

When choosing task lighting, think about the room’s primary function and how much light is needed to carry out tasks successfully. Some tasks require bright, concentrated lighting, while others require warmer, softer lighting.

Consider hanging bright pendant lights above your kitchen island to make cooking a breeze. Baton tube pendant lights are a great choice, providing adequate task lighting while also adding depth and visual interest to your kitchen lighting scheme.

Image courtesy of @studiofourinteriors

In the bedroom, opt for warm table lamps by your bedside – this will help you to relax and unwind before bed and allow you to read without putting strain on your eyes. With its calming shape and soft glow, the gold Waldorf table lamp is the perfect choice for your bedroom lighting scheme.

Accent lighting to emphasise décor

Accent lighting is the final touch that ties your layered lighting scheme together. It is used to emphasise specific features within your room, such as wall art, floral arrangements, or decorative vases.

Atmospheric wall lights are a great example of this type of lighting. Consider placing wall lights close to statement pieces of wall art to create a focal point within the room.

In some cases, the accent lighting serves as a decorative feature itself. ‘Neon wall lights are a great way to add personality to your room and a cheeky pop of colour to your walls’, Ally suggests. You could also choose table or floor lamps with unique and eye-catching designs to add visual interest to the space.

Product pick: With its stunning marble base and feature handmade drum shade, the rose pink marble table lamp will make a beautiful focal point in any room.

Show us your layered lighting schemes

We’d love to see how you’ve layered lighting in your home interiors. Tag us on Instagram @dowsingandreynolds – we can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with!

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