The right way to decorate with light

Decorating with light and lighting is an easy way to both create the right atmosphere in a room

The right way to decorate with light

If you read interior design magazines, wander around shops that sell home furnishings or are looking for inspirational pictures on how you can use lighting in your home, you will find lots of stylish rooms that feel inviting. Decorating with light and lighting is an easy way to both create the right atmosphere in a room and to get good lighting that is right for your eyes depending on what the room is used for. It can be difficult to know how to use light in the interior, something that Frida Ramstedt, a renowned interior design blogger, testifies.

The function of lighting is important

Ramstedt says that the most common thing that people forget when choosing to light is to think about what function the lamps should have. A lot of people only buy lamps to be decorative, but forget that lighting also has another purpose - to make it easier for us when we stay in the space where the lamps are.


Ramstedt has been mentioned as an author after her book on interior design as a function was translated into 25 languages. In the book, she emphasizes the fact that interior design is not only aesthetic but must also be functional. One of the chapters in the book is about lighting, and Ramstedt thinks that it is extra important to decorate correctly. This applies not least to us who live in the USA because this is a country that is dark for large parts of the year, and it has been proven that human well - being is affected by the amount of light. Nevertheless, our health and well-being are also affected by how well we can see. 

Review the lighting during the fall

According to Ramstedt, in order to achieve the best possible lighting, it is wise to review the choice of light sources during the autumn when it starts to get darker. When it is darker outside, it is easier to see how the light works indoors, and also to get a sense of how the rooms feel if they are not lit.

According to Ramstedt, all rooms should have ceiling lighting that can provide light to the entire room without any shadows. She calls this type of lighting even waiting room lighting and should be used when, for example, looking for something or cleaning. In addition to each room having such ceiling lighting, you should also invest in functional lamps. Their purpose is to provide lighting for the activity to be performed in the room.

Lighting in different rooms

Something Frida Ramstedt has noticed when she looks in interior design magazines and gets acquainted with interior styles in housing ads on Hemnet is that many choose to hang a lamp directly above the dining table. This can be wrong because the luminaire often has bare lamps and is open, which means that you will be dazzled by the light coming from the lamps. 

Correct lighting just above the dining table is when you choose a lamp that has a downward-pointing light so that you define how wide the lighting is. Ramstedt also says that it is important to find the right height of the lighting. Just above a kitchen table, the absolute best height is somewhere between 55-65 centimetres above the table surface. In the kitchen, you also need lighting above the workbenches so that you can see what you are doing without getting tired in the eyes. 

When choosing to light for your living room, do not just have a lamp in the ceiling. You should also consider having a reading lamp by the sofa. If you perform other activities in the living room, you should also keep in mind that you should be able to illuminate them with function lights, for example, if you usually sit in an armchair and work by hand or solve crossword puzzles.

In the bathroom, you need to think about having lighting that makes it easier to, for example, put on make-up, shave and apply lenses to the eyes. You should avoid having a bright light coming from above because it will make you look hollow-eyed, which makes it difficult for the activities you have to do in the bathroom.

Invest in several light sources in each room

Having lighting in different places based on activity is thus what is called function light. In addition to having function lights, you also need to invest in mood lights. Such lighting should make dark corners a little brighter and contribute to a cosy atmosphere. If, for example, you have paintings on the walls or art at home, you can advantageously choose to spot-illuminate the objects so that they come into their own. 

According to Ramstedt, each room should have between five to seven lamps for it to be enough. Many people think it sounds like a lot, but Ramstedt wants to clarify that not everyone needs to be used at the same time. Another thing Ramstedt thinks is important is not to place all the lamps at the same height, because then a form of the light waist is created in the room. By spreading the light sources at different heights, you instead get a more varied and wavy light.

Choose the right luminaire

Location and the number of light sources are not everything. You must also choose the right luminaire. Ramstedt suggests that it is possible to look at pictures of what the lamp looks like when it is lit, or to look at what the light scattering looks like when the lamp is switched on in a dark room. A good luminaire must fulfil its function and provide an appropriate spread of light, and this requires that the company has knowledge of how to create good designs for luminaires. An example of this, according to Ramstedt, is that for Poul Henningsen it took a whole decade before he finished the PH lamp.

Get help from experts

There is a lot to keep in mind when planning your lighting and if it becomes too overwhelming, it is good to take the help of experts. Most lamp stores can do consultations in your home to help you achieve the right lighting. You can also take pictures of what your home looks like and show them in the store where you will buy your lighting. 

You can always keep a few simple points in mind when choosing to light:

  1. In the bathroom above the sink, choose a light source that comes straight from the front.

  2. You do not need to use the ceiling light when the whole room is not lit. The lamp in the ceiling should give light to the whole room.

  3. Use spotlights to highlight paintings.

  4. Install reading lights where you want to be able to read or do another activity that requires good lighting.

  5. When you choose cosy lighting, you can invest in soft and warm lamps to get a diffused light. 

  6. By the bed, you should have a directed light.

  7. Install lamps above the kitchen counter so you can see what you are doing when preparing food.

  8. The lamp should have a height of about 55-65 centimetres above the kitchen table.

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Fundy Footpath: The right way to decorate with light
The right way to decorate with light
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