Room Lighting Design Ideas



The most important concept in creating a good room lighting plan for your home renovation or new build is to use an array of different types of lighting. At Style Plus Renovations Auckland when we undertake a renovation or new build we rely on the tried and tested use of three distinct layers of lighting to add character to rooms. Here are 4 key room lighting design ideas to consider for your renovation :

  1. Creating Your Lighting Layers
  2. Ambient Lighting Options
  3. Task Lighting Options
  4. Accent Lighting Options
Lighting design



Just as an interior designer would layer colours or fabric, lighting designers use three layers of light to enhance a room’s visual appeal. These are ambient, accent, and task lighting.

When you start thinking in terms of these three kinds of lighting you can plan how to balance your layers of light to create a particular mood or feel.

You can also plan flexible combinations of light to suit different moods and uses, using dimmers and zoning lights to achieve the mood or feel you require.

For example, if you are renovating your kitchen/dining area you will need plenty of task lighting for food preparation. However, you can supplement this by soft ambient light and accent lighting when entertaining guests for dinner.


When planning the layers of light in a room, it usually makes sense to consider the ambient lighting first, then consider task and accent lighting.

Ambient lighting is light that illuminates the whole room and can be thought of as the indoor equivalent of natural sunlight outdoors. Ambient light for a room typically comes from general purpose ceiling and wall fixtures. However, light from other sources like task lighting and windows also contribute to the total ambient light in an interior space.

Typical sources of ambient room lighting includes flush mounted ceiling lights, ceiling fan lights and chandeliers. Additionally, some wall mounted lights and recessed wall lights can be used for ambient room lighting.

When planning the ambient light in a room for your renovation or new build, here are a few helpful design tips from the Style Plus team:

  • Avoid using only ceiling mounted lighting fixtures for ambient light. Consider ways to combine it with wall lighting, indirect lighting, and even up-lighting to produce light that shines from multiple directions. Multi-directional ambient light is not only more effective, it is aesthetically pleasing and helps make a room feel spacious.
  • Ambient lighting does not necessarily need to be bright. Use multiple sources, strategically placed, to create a warm glow throughout the space.
  • Try to use more than one source of ambient light to avoid excessive lighting in some areas and not enough in others.


Task lighting is the next layer in your home renovation or new build lighting plan. This is where the lighting illuminates specific areas or tasks in your interior space.

Typically, pendant lights over a kitchen island or workspace will help the home chef clearly see culinary tasks such as chopping, slicing, mixing and rolling. Alternatively, other lighting fixtures such as an adjustable floor lamp beside a favourite chair provides ample lighting for reading, and can be moved around easily to change the placement of light.

Table lamps on accent tables highlight objects and photos placed there, as well as providing a decorating opportunity to add an element of style to your room’s décor.

Wall mounted lighting in a bathroom provides task lighting for a mirror to see makeup application and tooth brushing clearly. Under cabinet lighting in a kitchen or laundry room provides additional lighting to counter spaces. These are all ways to add an intermediately places layer of lighting to your rooms. As ambient light changes throughout the day, task lighting also benefits from being dimmable to adjust the level of lighting and to create the mood setting in your interior space.


Accent room lighting is the third layer in your room. It is used to highlight or draw attention to particular objects or spaces of interest in your home. For example you have a collection of artwork in a hallway of your home. In this case you would use a picture light as accent lighting to specifically light these pieces hanging on your walls. Also, bookcases can be lit with recessed accent lighting, creating a dramatic decorative effect in these defined boxes and spaces.

Adjustable spotlights and track lighting give the flexibility to change the focal point of this very useful type of accent lighting. Step lighting to accent a stairwell adds beauty and drama to this architectural focal point in a home. Other architectural features or sculpture also benefit from well-thought placement of accent lighting.

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