10 Most Effective Lighting Techniques for Great Interiors

There are many effective lighting techniques that can be used in interior design to create a desired ambiance, highlight certain features, and improve the overall functionality of a space. 

Here are the 10 most effective lighting design techniques for the very best interior design:

Table of Contents

Layering Lighting

Mood lighting
Colourful layering of light © Chris Orange Photography

Layering lighting involves using a combination of different types of lighting to create a cohesive and well-lit space. It is a sensitive combination of all lighting techniques, particularly ambient, accent and task light.

Task Lighting

Task lighting over tables @ Taj Hotel © Chris Orange Photography

This type of lighting is focused on a specific area or task, such as reading or cooking. It is used to provide illumination for a specific activity and can be achieved through the use of floor lamps, desk lamps, pendant lights, downlights, spotlights or any light source that can focus concentrated light onto a surface.

Accent Lighting

Buckingham Gate Lounge Lighting
Cornice uplight, table and wall lighting create accents © Chris Orange Photography

Accent lighting is used to highlight specific features or objects in a room, such as artwork or architectural elements. It can be achieved through the use of spotlights or recessed lighting.

Ambient Lighting 

Hairdresser Lighting
Bright ambient light from mixed sources in a hair salon

Ambient lighting is used to provide overall illumination to a room and can be achieved through the use of chandeliers, ceiling lights, pendant lights, and wall sconces.

Dimmable Lighting

Randolph Large Flush Mount Queens Gate Hotel
Mood lighting created from dimmed sources © Chris Orange Photography

Dimmable lighting allows you to control the intensity of the light in a room, creating a desired ambiance.

Wall Washing 

wall washing light across pictures
Picture wall washed with light © April Hamilton

Wall washing involves illuminating a wall from top to bottom to create a soft and diffuse light. It is often used to highlight art or architectural features and can be achieved through the use of recessed lights.


Cornice perimeter uplight from LED strip © April Hamilton

Uplighting involves illuminating a ceiling, wall, or object from below to create a dramatic effect. It can be used to draw attention to specific features or objects in a room.


Ceiling sculpture form accentuated from backlighting @ Nobu Monte Carlo

Backlighting involves illuminating an object from behind, creating a subtle and beautiful glow. It is often used to light up artwork or architectural details, as well as highlight furniture pieces.


Lights and darks create depth and forms 3 dimensions within a space @ Isleham Church

Shadowing involves using light and shadow to create depth and interest in a space. This can be achieved through the use of spotlights or directional lighting.


Grazing light across an exterior surface of a building
Grazing reveals the ryhthmn of the exterior oak boarding @ Isleham Church

Grazing is a technique that is used to highlight textures in walls and ceilings. It involves directing light across the surface of an object or wall at an angle, creating a striking effect.

In Summary

These 10 lighting techniques can help create the perfect ambiance for any interior space and help draw attention to specific features or objects within the home.

Using these techniques, you can find the perfect balance of light and dark to create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere.

It’s important to consider the overall design and functionality of a space as well as the best types of lighting fixtures and their placement

We would be delighted to help you with your project, let us know how we can help.

Andrew Orange, the owner of Orange Lighting qualified and worked as an interior designer in 1993 before specialising in lighting working on high profile projects based in London. Since starting Orange Lighting Ltd in 2003 he has been sharing his knowledge and unique teaching style mostly to his designer clients, offering practical real life advice born from running a busy consultancy and lighting supply business. Launching in 2020, his blog has evolved into Quick & Easy Lighting, curating some 25 years design experience into making the lighting choice and design process achievable and easy to understand for all.