8 Clever Lighting Design Ideas

copper pendants over dining room table in renovated period home
(Image credit: c/o Tom Dixon)

Whether you are renovating your existing home or building a new one from scratch, you need to consider your lighting design from the outset. Here are ten great lighting design ideas to help your home to look its best and work for your lifestyle.

1. New Looks for Bedtime Reading

Ordinarily, a couple of lamps placed on bedside cabinets are the default option when it comes to bedrooms. Planning your lighting scheme from the outset of a self build or renovation project provides the ideal opportunity to do something a little different.

Framing your bed with LED lighting and hanging stylish pendants either side of the bed are both interesting ideas (it goes to show that planning where your furniture is likely to be placed before starting first fix is important). In this scheme by John Cullen, low glare LED Polespring downlights light up the headboard, pin spot the end of the bed and wash light down the front of the cupboards to create a cosy bedroom.

bedroom lighting scheme

(Image credit: John Cullen Lighting)

2. Backlit Splashbacks

The eye-catching splashback is a real talking point in this Second Nature in-frame slab and Shaker kitchen; the Meditteraneo quartz splashback is backlit with LEDs to stunning yet subtle effect.

Meditteraneo quartz splashback is backlit with LEDs

(Image credit: Second Nature)

3. Shedding Light on High Ceilings

Spaces with high and/or vaulted ceilings can be difficult to light. Often pendant lights fail to direct light upwards towards the ceiling. Uplights are a good solution, as this example in a converted mill goes to show — warm LED strip lighting casts a soft glow and makes a feature of the space above.

uplights to light vaulted ceiling

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

4. Layering Light

A good lighting scheme will include layers of light: task, accent (used to highlight features) and ambient (general) lighting. Nowhere is this perhaps more important than in the kitchen diner — as this scheme by John Cullen goes to show.

Here, at low level, Cazalla floor washers light the floor, Minos Spotlights on the beams provide task lighting to the kitchen island and a Contour HD24 LED strip provides uplight above the kitchen units to emphasise the ceiling.

lighting scheme in kitchen-diner

(Image credit: John Cullen Lighting)

5. Integrated Lighting

Integrated lighting has been big news in the kitchen for some time, but the latest generation of bathroom cabinets have also followed suit. This Duravit New Vero illuminated vanity unit and mirror, for instance, lends a soft glow for an ambient dip.

Duravit New Vero illuminated vanity unit and mirror

(Image credit: Duravit)

6. Illuminated Treads

Staircases and the surrounding circulation space can be difficult to light. Spotlights, positioned above each tread, can be a good option, particularly for nocturnal visits to the kitchen. Another option is to illuminate the treads themselves — it’s one way to make a statement of your new staircase (this one is by Bisca).

illuminated staircase by Bisca

(Image credit: Bisca)

7. A Solution for Day and Night

Large roof lanterns or rooflights are a great addition above dining tables — bringing natural light flooding in (great for working from home or weekend lunches); the arrangement also brings a pleasing symmetry. But how do you introduce light when the sun goes down?

This scheme by John Cullen proves that pendants aren’t the only lighting solution for dining spaces; the John Cullen Lighting Wall lights provide a soft glow and Mini Starlights light up the rooflight above.

illuminated rooflight above dining table

(Image credit: John Cullen Lighting)

8. Statement Lighting

In addition to playing a functional role in the home, a good lighting scheme should enhance the aesthetics. In some instances, lighting can be used to make a bold statement — a striking pendant hanging delicately above a staircase being one example. In this extension and renovation scheme to a period home, three Tom Dixon copper pendants help to make the dining area, set beneath high ceilings, feel more intimate and bring a contemporary touch to the interiors.

copper pendants over dining room table in renovated period home

(Image credit: c/o Tom Dixon)
Claire Lloyd

Claire is Editor in Chief of Homebuilding & Renovating website and magazine. She became Editor of Homebuilding & Renovating in 2016 and has been a member of the team for 15 years. An experienced homes journalist, her work has also appeared in titles such as Real Homes and Period Living.

She has a particular interest in green homes and sustainability, and interior design is a passion too; she has undertaken qualifications in this area. 

After finishing a major renovation of a period cottage, she is now onto her next project: overhauling a 1930s property in the Shropshire countryside.