Light inspiration for 2016

  • 15 December 2015 | Rebecca Nattar

Different types of lighting used in conjunction to create a beautifully illuminated space. From our Atholl portfolio

Whether you’re moving into a new house, renovating your existing abode or redecorating for 2016, lighting is a key component to creating a comfortable home.

Decoratively, lighting lends character to a room by creating a particular mood. On a functional level it prevents you from groping about in the dark by providing safe mobility at night and adequate light for specific tasks throughout the day.

With so many lighting options available, it may be difficult to ascertain just what works best in your space, let alone decipher what is on offer! Here are some common terms used to describe different types of lighting and some inspiration on what to use, how and where.

Ambient light

This is usually the average light within a room, often provided by a ceiling light. The intensity of these lights can be controlled by installing dimmer switches. It’s very important that ambient lights are subtle and easy on the eye and that they don’t produce great contrasts and shadows in a room.

Ambient lighting should be subtle and easy on the eye, creating a welcoming space. The Villa De Fleur home from out portfolio

Concealed light

Concealed lighting refers to light fixtures that are generally hidden from sight – all you see is the light they emit. This type of lighting can also be used to provide ambient lighting in a room. Concealed lighting lets off a subtle glow that illuminates a space without casting sharp shadows and contrasts. It’s versatile as it lends itself to being used in conjunction with other light forms like lamps and chandeliers.

 Concealed lighting lets off a subtle glow that illuminates a space. From our Mooi Kloof portfolio

Pendant lights

These are suspended lights that dangle gracefully from the ceiling by a wire or cord. The most popular silhouette for this type of lighting fixture is the bowl silhouette. However they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, designs and materials. Chandeliers can also be included in this type of lighting.

Pendant lights are elegant and add charm to a room. With anything from modern to rustic designs on offer you’ll definitely find something to suit your style. They’re great in just about any room and form subtle centrepieces on their own.

Pendant lights (including chandeliers) are great in any room and form subtle centrepieces adding charm and elegance to a space. From The Ridge portfolio

Recessed lights

Recessed lighting refers to lighting that is set deeper into the ceiling, making the lighting fixtures only partially visible.This type of lighting normally requires a false ceiling that allows for the fixtures to be recessed.

Recessed lighting actually makes a room feel bigger as it takes up less visual space. There are also no big features or hanging bits to interrupt the continuity of the ceiling.

Recessed lighting often requires a false ceiling and refers to lighting that is deep set and mainly hidden from direct view. From The Ridge portfolio


Downlights project light downwards and take the form of ceiling fixtures and wall fittings. They’re a desirable look because they’re compact, neat and simple, and are most suitable in rooms with low ceilings.

Downlights from our Glass House portfolio


Spotlights are a more specific form of lighting that directs light to a focal point rather than lighting an entire room. They’re great for drawing attention to spaces or objects. Use them to highlight a feature wall or artwork, or just to create added brightness in a small area.

Spotlights direct light to a focal point rather than illuminating the entire room. They're great for highlighting points of interests like artwork and feature walls.

Wall lights

Wall lights are lighting fixtures attached to walls and used to either cast light upwards or downwards. They’re an awesome space-saver since they are fixed on the wall and are a nice accompaniment to other forms of lighting. Some wall lights also project patterns that give them an added artistic function.

Wall lights, like their name suggests, are attached to walls and project light either upward or downward. From our Waterstone portfolio


These are either floor-standing or wall-mounted fixtures that cast a light beam upwards to reflect the light off the ceiling. They’re great at creating a glow and feeling of warmth in a room, and can be a decorative feature as they come in a host of colours.

Uplights cast a light beam upwards to reflect the light off the ceiling. From our Waterstone portfolio

Rise-and-fall lighting

These height-adjustable lighting fixtures are stylish and designed to shed just the right amount of light into a selected space. Most commonly used in dining rooms and positioned over tables, when lowered they shine light directly onto the table, creating the perfect ambience for family meals. You can even add a dimmer switch to soften the light for a romantic feel or to enjoy more subtle lighting.

By adjusting rise-and-fall lighting, you can determine just how much light you want shed in a specific area. Tandem by Grok