What Factors are Important in Lighting Design?

What Factors are Important in Lighting Design?

With over three decades of experience in the world of interiors, we are often asked by our clients: “What factors are important in lighting design?”

From the way we see and experience a space to our mood and overall well-being, lighting plays a crucial role. But what exactly makes for good illumination? Is it simply about the functionality of brightening up our homes, or is there more to it than that?

In this blog, we will delve into the world of lighting design and explore the various elements that make it so important.

The three components of lighting design

Lighting design is the art and science of creating visually effective and efficient environments using different light sources. It involves three main components: task lighting, ambient lighting, and accent lighting.

1. Task lighting

Task lighting is specifically designed to aid in performing a specific activity, such as reading, cooking or working at a desk. It is typically provided by a focused light source, such as a table lamp at a desk or floor lamp next to a sofa, and is usually directed at the task area.

2. Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting provides general illumination in any given space. It is typically provided by ceiling fixtures, such as recessed lights, track lights, or pendant lights, and can be adjusted via dimmers to create different moods or atmospheres.


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3. Accent lighting

Accent lighting is used to draw attention to specific objects or areas, such as artwork, sculptures, or architectural features using fixtures like spotlights or wall sconces, and often adds drama or visual interest.

Each of these components is important in creating an efficient lighting scheme and will ensure a functional, cohesive space.

Types of light fixtures

There are many different types of light fixtures available for use in residential and commercial settings. Some of the most common include:

  • Ceiling lights: These are mounted on the ceiling and are typically used as a primary light source in a room. They come in a variety of styles, including chandeliers, suspension lights and pendant lights.
  • Wall lights: Typically used for accent or task lighting, these are attached to the wall and are available in different formats including sconces, picture lights, and wall-mounted lamps.
  • Table lamps: Designed to sit on top of a table, desk or other surfaces, these are typically used as task or accent lighting and can be found in both traditional and modern styles.
  • Floor lamps: These are lamps that stand on the floor and are typically used as task or accent lighting. They can be moved around as needed and help to add height and depth to any room.
  • Recessed lights: These are usually installed into the ceiling, creating a sleek, seamless aesthetic. They can also be used for general, task or accent lighting.
  • Outdoor lights: Designed for use outside of the home, outdoor lighting is made to endure the elements and comes in many different forms including porch lights, landscape lights, and security lights.

Each type of light fixture has its own unique characteristics and can serve different purposes. Finding the right one for your space depends on both your needs and the type of ambience and style you are aiming to create.

At FCI London, we supply a wide range of luxury lighting solutions sourced from high-end brands all over the world. So, whether you’re after a gorgeous chandelier like the delicately crafted Athena from our custom range or would prefer something more sculptural like the nature-inspired Gagnon floor lamp by Eichholtz, we have the right piece to suit your space.

What Factors are Important in Lighting Design?
What Factors are Important in Lighting Design?


Placement of light fixtures

Lighting can be used to highlight certain features in a room, create a desired mood, or provide luminance for specific activities but in order to do so, placement is key. Here are three design elements that will help you get your positioning right:

  • Find the right space for each type of lighting. Task lighting is essential in areas such as kitchens and home offices, accent lighting should be used to emphasise points of visual interest and ambient lighting is necessary for all areas of your home.
  • Take the height of your light fixtures into account. Generally, fixtures should be installed at a height that allows for optimal light distribution without creating glare or shadows. By rule of thumb, pendant lights should be hung at least 7 feet above the floor, while table lamps should be placed at eye level.
  • Consider the number of light sources needed. Most rooms require a combination of light sources in order to achieve a sense of balance and enhance functionality, so never rely on just an overhead pendant to illuminate your space. Layering your lighting will allow for greater flexibility and create a more interesting and dynamic visual aesthetic.

Combining all three factors are the key to an optimal lighting plan and will enhance the overall look of your room.

Effect of light on a space

Illumination plays a crucial role in shaping the ambience of a space. The way light falls on surfaces as well as its intensity and colour can all impact the way we perceive and experience a room. A well-designed lighting plan can make your space feel cosy and intimate or open and airy.

Natural light is often considered the ultimate option, as it provides a sense of connection to the outdoors, enhances your health and reduces energy costs. However, artificial light can also be used to great effect. Dimmable fixtures, for example, can create a sense of drama and add a layer of visual interest to a room.

The strategic placement of task lighting can also help to make a space more functional and efficient. Ultimately, the key to effective lighting design is understanding how light can be balanced to achieve both aesthetic value and functionality.

Colour temperature and its effects on a space

The colour temperature of a light source can have a significant impact on the overall mood of your room. For example, a warm colour temperature is often used in residential settings to create an inviting atmosphere, while a cool colour temperature is ideal if you want commercial spaces to feel productive and energising.

Colour temperature can also have an impact on your circadian rhythm and could therefore influence your general state of wellbeing. Warmer tones will make you feel relaxed and calm and will help to induce sleep, while cooler lights are more likely to keep you awake and alert.

It is therefore important to think about the purpose of each space and its surrounding environment when selecting an appropriate colour temperature.

Choosing the right light bulbs for your home

When choosing light bulbs for your home, there are several factors to consider before making a decision:

  • Brightness: measured in lumens, this tells you how bright the bulb will be.
  • Colour temperature: measured in Kelvins, this tells you the colour of the light the bulb will emit. Warmer tones are more yellow, while cooler tones are more blue.
  • Energy efficiency: measured by the bulb's wattage, this tells you how much energy the bulb will use. Look for bulbs with a high lumen-to-watt ratio for the best energy efficiency.
  • Bulb lifespan: measured in hours, this tells you how long the bulb will last before it needs to be replaced.
  • Bulb type: incandescent, LED, CFL and Halogen are the most common types of bulb available in today’s market. Out of all of them, LED lights are the most long-lasting and energy efficient.
  • Dimmer compatibility:If you plan to use a dimmer switch, make sure to choose a bulb that is compatible with it.

In conclusion

In lighting design, it is important to consider the function of each space, your aesthetic goals and the impact it will have on your health and visibility. To find out more about how to make the best of your natural and artificial lighting options, get in touch with one of our professional designers today and let’s schedule a consultation.

You can also browse through our stunning portfolio for some inspired ideas for your next refurbishment project - we’ve been designing beautiful spaces for over 30 years and are experts at implementing modern lighting solutions that will bring your dream home to life.

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