10 Tips on How to Light a Space with a High Ceiling

When choosing lighting for a large room with a high ceiling, there are key considerations.

High Ceiling Lighting Title

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Lighting High Ceilings

There is much to consider to successfully light a space that has height yet you want to retain the right mood and functionality for a variety of times and uses within the room.

Here are the 10 most important tips to use for a professional outcome:

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First and foremost, you’ll want to consider the function of the room and how the lighting will be used. Do you need task lighting for reading or working? Will the room be used for entertaining, in which case you might want softer, ambient lighting?


Consider the style of the room and choose lighting that complements the decor. If the room has been decorated in light colors, you might want to choose light-colored fixtures or fixtures with a reflective finish to help bounce light around the space.


It’s important to choose lighting that is appropriately sized for the room. In a large, high-ceilinged space, you’ll want to use larger fixtures to make a visual impact and provide enough light. The scale of a light should always be bigger than you probably imagine as the volume of a space will engulf and over power the fixture.


Consider where you will place the lighting in the room. For a high, vaulted ceiling, you might want to consider installing pendant lights or chandeliers to draw the eye up and add visual interest. You can also use wall sconces or floor lamps to add layers of light and create a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Lighting Control

Think about how you will control the lighting in the room. Will you use switches, dimmers, or a smart home system? Dimmers allow you to adjust the brightness of the light, which can be especially useful in a large room where the lighting needs may vary.

Hotel Atrium with a high ceiling height and large pendant light

Use Multiple Light Sources

To create a well-lit, inviting atmosphere, consider using multiple light sources rather than relying on just one overhead fixture. This could include a combination of pendant lights, wall sconces, and floor lamps.

Consider the Color Temperature of the Light

The color temperature of the light can affect the overall look and feel of a room. Warm white light (2700-3000K) is softer and more welcoming, while cool white light (4000-4500K) is brighter and more clinical.

Think about Energy Efficiency

If you’re concerned about energy efficiency, consider using LED light bulbs, which are more energy-efficient and have a longer lifespan than traditional incandescent bulbs. This is particularly important for lower maintenance costs and to minimize the inconvenience of changing lamps at a height that may need a tower or scaffolding.

Use Layering

Layering your lighting can create a more cohesive and comfortable atmosphere. This could include using ambient lighting to create a general level of light in the room, task lighting for specific activities, and accent lighting to highlight specific features or areas.

Natural Lighting

In addition to artificial lighting, consider the natural light in the room and how you can make the most of it. This could include using sheer curtains or blinds to allow natural light to filter in, or installing skylights or windows to bring in more natural light.

In Summary

Scale and layering are the two most important factors to remember when lighting high ceilings. Some lights will need to become a feature to fill the space well, whilst others play an essential supporting role to build a beautiful and functional lighting scheme to suit such a space’s variety of functions.

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.