The importance of lighting in interior design importance of lighting in interior design


As a lighting designer as well as an interior Designer on many projects I have been commissioned to design I’ve been surprised how underrated the lighting element is. Clients are willing to spend money on expensive furniture or a beautifully finished kitchen but give very little consideration to the lighting element. The most expensive materials & interiors are never shown to their fullest without a good lighting scheme behind them. Incorporating the lighting as part of the scheme considering how the light works with the materials & finishes & creates different moods within the space is essential to a successful interior. The lighting design should always be considered as early as possible as part of the overall scheme.


I also like to illustrate to clients through light samples the amazing effects that can be achieved and show them how colour and light can transform a room as I find that its only because clients don’t understand lighting that they don’t realise how effective and important it is within an interior it can transform a dark basement or create a spa like environment in a bathroom and it can be controlled through simple systems to allow for a day versus evening feel.


I always find that the lighting design is much more successful when integrated within the overall interior scheme such as insetting lights into a bespoke piece of furniture such as a TV unit or to a headboard of a bed or highlighting the curve of a wall by insetting LED around the bottom. Lighting is also something that needs to be considered for artwork and I always speak to clients at the beginning of a project about where they are thinking of hanging art or displaying a sculpture so we can cast adequate light in that area as its very costly to try to integrate lights after a project is complete.


I also like to create art through the use of lighting and we have completed many projects for clients where we are created sculpture bespoke chandeliers or art pieces behind beds using fibre-optics or even combining canvases with inset lighting. Lighting projects can vary greatly from designing an overall scheme to one specific bespoke feature & from internal to external projects. The external space can be integrated with the interior through the use of specialist lighting. I have illuminated fish tanks, water walls with edge side lighting, designed internal pool lighting to colour wash the water as the client goes for an evening swim lighting. Lighting adds an element of excitement & vibrancy to a scheme.


Lighting can be used to great effect to add character and different moods to a space by the use of different colours red to invigorate to a relaxing blue for chilling in the evening. One of my favourite projects was a cinema room where the client wanted me to bespoke design the whole room from the curved love seats to the Audio Visual system & lighting. I used textured black wallpaper, rich purple velvet fabrics and installed a fibre-optic star ceiling as well as vibrant glowing LED strip lights inset between the steps & blue LED fittings to highlight the client’s artwork. The whole room is a cocoon away from the stresses of everyday life.

Written by Susan Quirke, Managing Director at

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