Lighting planning: Something about basic, area, accent and indirect lighting

Lichtplanung leicht gemacht
Lighting Tips For Transformative Spaces

Knowledge about basic/area/accent/ indirect lighting

Lighting planning is a professional process that involves the conscious design of environments or rooms with light and must comply with European and national standards and guidelines [1]. The correct selection of lighting in the planning phase of a new building or renovation plays an essential role in adequately illuminating different rooms, providing orientation, creating areas and influencing moods [1][2]. Careful consideration of various factors such as type of lighting, intensity and distribution of light as well as color temperature is crucial [1][3].

This series of articles covers the various aspects of lighting including basic, area, accent and indirect lighting, which is fundamental for interior designers to create energy efficient smart home solutions [3][6]. A combination of different lighting strategies can not only achieve an optimal lighting atmosphere, but also make a significant contribution to energy efficiency in buildings [5][6].

Basic lighting

Basic lighting, is the foundation of every lighting design. It ensures uniform, comprehensive illumination of the room, which provides orientation and provides light for everyday tasks [8]. The intensity of the basic lighting depends on various factors, such as the size of the room, the colors of the walls, floor and ceiling and the intended use of the room [8].

Light sources and placement: Multiple light sources or lamps are often used to create effective basic lighting. A typical approach is to use indirect, diffuse light, which illuminates the room evenly without creating shadows or glare [9][11]. LED lamps are preferred due to their energy efficiency and longevity [10]. High-quality LED lights can spread the light further using diffusers and filters to achieve better illumination [12].
Adaptation and use: Basic lighting can be dimmed for use as backlighting, allowing a room to be divided into different zones [12]. At full strength, it serves as functional lighting for cleaning work or in emergency situations [12]. The right lighting for each room depends on its function and the desired atmosphere [13].
By simulating the illuminance directly at the workplace, the minimum number of luminaires required to meet the standards according to DIN EN 12464-1 and the workplace directive can be determined [1][14].

Area lighting

Area lighting uses various light sources to create balanced lighting that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing:
Pendant lights: They provide even lighting but can create shadows. Therefore, it is best to use them in combination with other light sources. Ideally, they should be dimmable so that the light intensity can be adjusted as needed [15].
Recessed Lighting: Suitable for areas where focused light is needed, such as over a kitchen countertop or in a bathroom. They should always be used in combination with other light sources to ensure balanced lighting [15].
The choice of lighting type depends largely on the desired atmosphere and the functional requirements of the room:
Direct incident light creates strong reflections on surfaces and is therefore suitable for work areas where clarity is required [3].
Diffuse reflected light distributes light evenly and is ideal for creating a soft and inviting atmosphere [3].
Oblique side light highlights textures and creates a darker, grainy edge, which is particularly useful for accentuating wall textures or artwork [3].
Flat light from all sides reduces shadows and provides even lighting, ideal for general living areas [3].
Transmitted light creates a silhouette of the object and can achieve dramatic effects, especially when combined with other light sources [3].
The correct combination and placement of these light sources make a decisive contribution to effective and atmospheric area lighting.

Accent lighting

Accent lighting plays a critical role in lighting design by creating visual interest, directing attention, and evoking emotions through the strategic use of light intensity, color, and direction [17]. By highlighting specific details, pieces of furniture, objects or architectural elements in a room without being too bright, it creates a cozy atmosphere and emphasizes the desired zones [15][2].
Areas of application of accent lighting:
Works of art: Targeted lighting can accentuate and highlight works of art [19].
Furniture and architectural elements: Specific pieces of furniture and architectural details can be emphasized using accent lighting [19].
Kitchens and bathrooms: These rooms benefit from accent lighting by creating a unique atmosphere [19].
Light sources for accent lighting:
Spotlights and spots: Particularly suitable due to their directed light output [19].
Picture lights: Lights designed specifically for works of art [19].
Dimmable and swivel options: Allow you to adjust light intensity and direction [19].
The illuminance of accent lighting should be higher than that of general room lighting to stand out and create contrast and harsh shadows that attract the viewer's attention [19]. The correct combination and placement of these light sources not only achieves effective accentuation, but also creates an atmosphere that highlights specific areas or objects in a room.

Indirect lighting

Indirect lighting plays an essential role in interior design by helping to avoid constant eye adjustments to harsh contrasts between light and dark areas [20]. This type of lighting is achieved by redirecting and diffusing light from a light source such as a lampshade, wall or piece of furniture [20]. Various types of table, floor or wall lamps that do not emit light directly from the bulb can be used for indirect lighting [20]. An example of indirect lighting is seasonal lighting, such as during Advent or Christmas [20].
Modern lamps for indirect lighting:
LED ceiling floodlights: Reflect light from the ceiling and are available in dimmable versions and with warm white or extra warm white light [21].
Wall lights: Ideal for low ceilings and can highlight pictures and wall decorations [21].
LED strips and LED light strips: Narrow bands of LED lights that can be cut to size, often used for baseboards, under kitchen cabinets and to illuminate shelves. LED light strips are a more advanced version of LED strips where the LEDs are already integrated into the profile, available for various applications such as ceiling, wall and furniture edges [21].
Indirect lighting can be used to highlight architectural features, create focal points, or simply add warmth and depth to any space [22]. It is ideal for areas where people gather, such as living rooms or dining rooms [22]. The lights should be strategically positioned to achieve maximum effect while ensuring that they do not interfere with other elements in the room [22]. The intensity should be adjusted based on the desired mood in the room [22].

Combination of different types of lighting

Combining different types of lighting is crucial to creating both functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces. Careful planning and consideration of different lighting levels can ensure a harmonious and efficient lighting environment:
Multi-level systems:
Ceiling lights: Provide basic lighting and can illuminate rooms evenly [18].
Wall lights: Provide additional lighting and can highlight architectural details [18].
Floor lamps and decorative lighting: Create atmosphere and can serve as accent lighting [18].
Light intensity adjustment:
Dimmers: Allow you to adjust the light intensity for different activities and moods in the room [18].
Local lighting: Provides targeted light for work areas or reading zones and should be combined with backlighting [18].
Color temperature and light color:
Warm light (2700 Kelvin): Recommended for a cozy and comfortable atmosphere [18].
Cooler light: Stimulates concentration and can be used in work areas [2].
The correct planning and combination of lighting types, taking into account factors such as light color, intensity and distribution, are essential to create a pleasant and functional environment [28][2]. By using different light sources at different levels and with variable intensity, dynamic and adaptable lighting can be achieved that meets both aesthetic and practical requirements [18].


The importance of well-thought-out lighting planning that integrates different types of lighting such as basic, area, accent and indirect lighting cannot be overestimated. Not only does it create an aesthetically pleasing and functional environment, but it also contributes to energy efficiency. By carefully selecting and combining light sources, an atmosphere can be created that meets both the practical needs and the well-being of the users.
Considering that lighting design is a complex field that requires expertise in design, functionality and energy efficiency, our wide range of lighting options are available to you to optimally design your spaces. Whether you are looking for the ideal basic lighting or specific accent lights, we offer you the opportunity to effectively implement your lighting planning and create an inviting atmosphere. Make your purchase today to take your lighting design to the next level.


How do you create a lighting plan?

To create a lighting plan, follow these five steps, which take into account important factors such as the incidence of light, the height of the room and the use of the room:

  1. Create room plans.
  2. Set the basic lighting.
  3. Plan mood and ambient lighting.
  4. Add selective accents. 

What does indirect lighting mean?

Indirect lighting refers to a light source that does not direct its light onto objects or surfaces. Instead, the light is reflected from walls or other elements in the room, resulting in a diffuse and even distribution of light.

Which lighting is suitable for creating decorative lighting accents in the house?

Floor lamps or spotlights are suitable for creating decorative lighting accents throughout the house, as they provide high-contrast and targeted light. Such lighting promotes concentration. In addition to the background lighting, there should always be functional lighting.

What aspects should you pay attention to when it comes to lighting?

When choosing lighting, you should make sure that the basic lighting in the room ensures uniform illumination. Ideally, you should use a ceiling light, a wall-mounted spotlight or an uplight. The light should be low-contrast, soft and not dazzling and should cast as few shadows as possible.


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