Brighten up your home: how to ensure the right lighting in every room

A woman sitting with her laptop in a warmly lit living room
It’s easy to create a cosy atmosphere with the right lighting. © istock

Are you in search of the right lighting for your home? In this guide, we explain what kind of lighting is best for the bedroom, kitchen and other areas, and how to correctly combine different types of lights. Plus we reveal the latest lighting trends.


What kind of lighting is right for which room?

First and foremost, the right kind of lighting always consists of multiple light sources – and that goes for all rooms, whether it’s the living room, kitchen or office. Ceiling lights provide background lighting, while smaller lamps can provide additional light for reading or working. If wall lighting is installed indirectly, it can create a cosier atmosphere. Spotlights or accent lamps are great for framing beautiful furniture, plants or pictures. And depending on what a room is used for, you can play around with the brightness, contrast or temperature (colour) of the lighting.


Generally speaking, lights vary in terms of their brightness, contrast and temperature. Brightness is measured in lumens. The higher the number, the brighter the light. Desk and reading lamps should be as bright as possible, whereas dimmer lights create a cosier atmosphere. If a light creates a lot of shadows, we talk about high-contrast lighting. Colour doesn't refer to lighting in different colours; it’s more how warm a light is (its temperature). Temperature is measured in kelvins. For example, a warm white lamp with a high red content (so with a lower number of Kelvins) is particularly homely. Daylight white or even cold light bulbs have a high blue content and appear brighter. Alternatively, you could opt for something in between and choose a neutral white light.

How does indirect lighting work?

You can make a room particularly warm and inviting using indirect light. To achieve this effect, simply position lights in small alcoves or behind furniture – anywhere the source of the light isn’t visible. The light will then reflect against the wall and be disseminated softly in all directions. This will also help avoid shadows or contrasts, and make the room seem even more snug. For extra cosiness, you can use coloured lighting, such as red hues.

What kind of lighting is right for each room?

First you should consider where you want to relax in your home, and where you want to be able to work or concentrate. Depending on this, you can then decide whether a room should be lit warmly or brightly.

The right lighting for the living room and bedroom:

The lighting in your living room and bedroom should be as indirect and warm as possible. For example, you can add indirect lighting to your bedroom by installing some track or rail lighting to the head of your bed. Dim bedside lamps can provide even cosier light sources. Use multiple light sources to make your living room homely – for example, floor lamps with colourful lampshades, or warm fairy lights. Carefully positioned reading and desk lamps, which are somewhat brighter, can provide additional light in places where you like to work, read or enjoy other hobbies.

Neutral lighting in the kitchen:

When it comes to the kitchen, you need the most light over the oven and worktops. Neutral white LED lights are most suitable here. Ceiling or recessed lights can provide basic lighting over a wide surface area. You can make the kitchen more homely with floor or wall lamps.

Versatile bathroom lighting:

The bathroom is also one of the most challenging rooms to light properly – because you need cold light to wake up to in the morning, and warm light to wind down in the evening. This is best achieved with dimmable lights (dimmers).

Brighter light in the hallway:

A wide light dispersion is particularly important in the hallway, so it’s best to use bright lamps or spotlights here. You can also use spotlights to highlight particularly pretty pictures or plants.


Generally speaking, you’ll find three different types of light bulbs on supermarket shelves.

LED stands for light-emitting diode. LED lights come in all shapes, sizes and temperatures, including the classic bulb variety. They are energy-efficient and reach their full brightness as soon as they're switched on.

Halogen lights are mainly used to light up particular objects. Despite being entirely natural, they are capable of emitting very bright light. However, compared with the other types of lights, they also use more electricity and need to be replaced frequently.

Actually called compact fluorescent lamps, energy-efficient bulbs last significantly longer. They contain a gas that lights up when it comes into contact with electricity. So compared to traditional light bulbs, it takes a little longer until they reach full brightness. Additionally, older models emit a cold light; but newer models emit a more attractive light. When throwing away old energy-efficient bulbs, bare in mind that they contain mercury so must be disposed of as hazardous waste.

Our top four lighting trends

Do you need some inspiration? We’ve compiled the latest trends in interior lighting for you.

1. Retro light bulbs

Some retro light bulbs hanging from the ceiling with wire.
Retro light bulbs contain a filament that glows, usually in a very decorative, warm light. They’re often attached directly to the ceiling. © istock

2. Fluorescent tube art

An art installation made from multiple fluorescent tubes lights up a dark room.
Installations made from fluorescent tubes are particularly popular in designer circles and can give rooms a futuristic look and feel. ©

3. Concrete lampshades

A ceiling light with a concrete lampshade.
You can even make your own lights or lampshades from concrete. © REHFORM

4. Tripod lamps

A tripod lamp standing next to a contemporary rocking chair, against a grey wall.
Sleek, stylish and state-of-the-art: the tripod lamp is often seen in homes for a minimalist, industrial look. © Roman

Every light bulb socket has a maximum wattage (W). The light bulb you screw into it shouldn't exceed this number – otherwise it poses a fire hazard! Wattage is a measure of electrical power.

The brightness of a light is measured in lumens. The number required depends on the size of the room. For a kitchen, bathroom or office, around 280 lumens per square metre is about right. Bedrooms and living rooms should be fine with 140 lumens per square metre.