Light in interior design goes beyond mere functionality. When properly executed, light can be the element that adds aesthetic value to your interior spaces, creating visual interest in rooms that would otherwise be uninspiring. Furthermore, good lighting can elevate the ambiance in your living areas, making them cozier and more inviting. Designing with light is therefore key in the interior décor of your home.
When it comes to decorative lighting, style matters! Your interior spaces may be well illuminated with all three layers of lighting, but it is a touch of the decorative element in lighting that will put it over the top.
What is Decorative Lighting?
Decorative lighting refers to lights that are used to add an aesthetic feature to a room, beyond providing illumination. These can be in the form of chandeliers, pendant lamps, table lamps, floor lamps, accent lights, wall sconces, and any other fixture with an ornamental flair.
Decorative lighting allows you to express your personal style in the lighting of your spaces, evoking the desired ambiance, and leaving your guests in awe. It is as much about the aesthetics of light as it is about the ambiance of a space.
10 Ways to Incorporate Decorative Lighting into your Interior Design
Decorative lighting creates visual interest as well as focal points in a space. It also serves as an art piece that can complement a room's theme and add drama. Since there are many kinds of decorative lights available in various styles, finishes, and designs, choosing which ones will work best for you can seem like a daunting task!
This article explores ten tips on how you can incorporate decorative lighting into your interior design.
1. Statement Fixtures & Artistic Pieces
Installing decorative light fixtures with an artistic appeal is an amazing way to make a statement in your interior spaces. Decorative lighting is all about having fun with the look of the lighting fixture and how it accents the space in which it's displayed.
Whether you're looking for grand intricate chandeliers with crystal details, sculptural pendant lights with unique forms, vintage wall sconces with whimsical shapes, or distinctive light fixtures that are so stunning that they double as art pieces, there are so many options that you'll never run out of ideas.
Incorporate a statement fixture in a larger scale that is proportionate to the size of the space, to instantly make it the focal point of the room.
2. Color Pop
Brighten up your living spaces with a pop of color in your luminaire finish! Colorful light fixtures add a fun accent to any space, no matter the style. A painted colorful finish or a glossy acrylic lighting fixture can make a fashionable addition to your interior décor, adding lots of personality to your rooms. They are also a brilliant way to bring accent colors into a minimalistic space with a neutral palette.
3. Textural Appeal
When choosing a decorative light fixture for your interior design, it is important to consider elements such as texture. Textured lighting can be an important part of your decorative scheme since it adds visual interest to your space and makes the room more dynamic.
Glass is an especially popular choice for decorative fixtures because it comes in so many varieties such as frosted glass, opaque glass, iridescent glass, or multi-hued “art glass” that incorporates different hues.
Textured shades are another way to incorporate visual interest into your lighting design. Look for woven rattan, linen materials, or patterned fabrics if you want to add a soft touch to your interiors. Similarly, adding natural elements such as a woven bamboo lampshade or a feather pendant light will bring in a detail of textural warmth into your spaces.
4. Complementary Style
Opt for decorative light fixtures that elaborate the overall theme and design style of your rooms. Art deco pendant lights would look out of place in a modern living room, whereas minimalistic light fixtures would look too understated in a vintage or maximalist room design. Decorative lighting fixtures should add a beautiful touch to a space, ideally complementing your interior design scheme and adding an attractive focal point.
5. Patterned Light
When designing your home with decorative lighting, don't be afraid to get creative with patterned light! It combines bright light with patterned lamp shades to cast beautiful patterns and visual effects on your walls and ceilings. Patterned light fixtures allow you to create a beautiful sense of whimsy without overwhelming other elements in the room.
6. Lighting Controls
Light control is another crucial element of decorative lighting design. Using dimmer switches with your light fixtures allows you to adjust the light levels in your home, easily changing the mood and ambiance of your space. Whether you’re going for an intimate setting or an invigorating ambiance, you can simply adjust your lighting levels with a lighting control system, to set the tone for the desired mood.
7. Art Lighting
If your home is adorned with art, you can make it more alluring by accentuating your pieces with individualized art lights. Whether in a hallway, a home art gallery, or simply as part of a gallery wall, artwork that is highlighted using decorative lighting has its own sense of presence that brings it to life within the context of the rest of the room.
Perfect Picture Lights supplies a collection of quality handcrafted picture lights and high-performance track lights to get you started. Accentuate the artistic features in your home, from architectural details to sculptures, and wall art with exhibition lighting equipment. If you are not sure what art light fixture would work best for you, our lighting designer will recommend a personalized lighting system that will bring life to your precious artwork.
8. Colored Bulbs
Employing colored bulbs in your lighting design is another decorative direction you can take with lighting. You can install LED lighting with different color temperatures and color shades that complement the color scheme of your design. LED technology will additionally ensure the energy efficiency of your lighting design.
Warm light bulbs have a yellow glow that makes you feel cozy and relaxed. Cool light bulbs have a white-blue hue that stimulates productivity and creativity, while white light has a neutral output that emulates daylight. You can also use filters over your light source for an even more colorful effect!
If you’re feeling more creative and adventurous, adding a light installation is an exceptional approach to designing with light. You can draw inspiration from different light artists, such as the stage lighting and the neon fluorescent light installations by Dan Flavin, to create your own outstanding works of artificial light art.
9. Light and Shadows with Natural Light
Natural light can create an exceptional medium when used with consideration to light and shadows. Executing a clever play of light and shadows can add depth and interest to a room when natural light is allowed into the space. Just adding curtains, blinds, cutout panels, or decorative grills to your windows will create interesting shapes with natural daylight.
A room can be designed to maximize or minimize natural lighting. To create a bright space with lots of natural light, use reflective surfaces like mirrors, paint lighter wall colors, and install large windows, glass doors, and skylights. To keep a space darker and more private, use darker colors, heavy curtains, and smaller windows.
10. Lighting Techniques
Finally, you need to take into consideration the lighting technique you will employ when designing with light. While most decorative luminaires may be overhead lighting categorized as downlighting fixtures, you can opt for uplighting options for a dramatic feel.
Cove lighting can also add interesting decorative detail of diffuse light when done in an interesting fashion. You can also opt to backlight your mirrors and wall art to help them pop from the background and create an interesting glow around the edges.
While architectural lighting often entails ambient light, task lighting, and accent lighting as the three primary lighting layers, decorative lighting crowns it all as a secondary fourth layer that elevates the design. Designing with decorative lighting is a great way to make an impact on the overall look and feel of your home and landscape.
You will benefit from having a wide selection of unique light fixtures in your light design and being able to control your home's electric lighting levels to suit your mood. You can hire a professional interior designer to assist you with your lighting design and gallery interior design. However, with the above tips, you will be able to easily uplift your interior spaces with decorative lighting.
Winny Okoth is a practicing Construction Project Manager and Interior Designer. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Construction Project Management. Winny Okoth has a great passion for every form of design as well as 3D visualization skills for architectural and interior design.