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Interior design terms: direct and indirect lighting

We try to make our articles as exciting and interesting as possible for the unprofessional reader. With us, every homeowner should develop their own design skills. At the end of the day, we want comfortable living to be easier for all of our readers.

Creativity and suitable examples are usually sufficient. That's why we fill our website with it.

However, at certain points it helps if we are more familiar with the relevant terms.

For this reason we decided to discuss them in between. As always, we do it in the most understandable way possible. Today we're going to talk about the terms direct and indirect lighting.

Indirect lighting in neon looks even more effective

Direct Lighting

Direct illumination is emitted from a source and is not reflected from any other surface. This term is used both in interior design and in nature. In the second case, it means that the light came to us directly from heaven. No mirror surfaces changed its direction.

In interior design, the term usually refers to the hanging lights on the ceiling, which direct their light downwards.

Refined and discreet

The main advantages of direct lighting are the following:

  • It is very effective;
  • It is ideal for illuminating zones and specific areas in the room;
  • You can clearly see the features of three-dimensional objects;
  • You can create a very attractive ambience in connection with attractive light-shadow patterns.

The main disadvantages of direct lighting are:

  • It alone cannot brighten the ambience sufficiently.
  • If the angle is bad, it can blind the view on screens.
  • It doesn't show objects and people in their best light.

This is what your home cinema could look like

Indirect lighting

The indirect lighting comes about through the mirror effects. It is so in nature as well as in interior design. Walls, furniture, floors, windows, etc. serve as mirror surfaces.


These are the main advantages of indirect lighting at a glance:

  • It creates a gentle, non-disturbing ambience, which is ideal for concentrated work.
  • Reflection on screen is much easier to control.
  • When many people gather, the indirect light makes faces appear better.
  • It can be installed on ceilings without damage (this is especially important for historic buildings).

Successful combination

The disadvantages of indirect light are:

  • If the ceiling is lighter than the other surfaces, it can be distracting.
  • The details of three-dimensional objects are difficult to see.
  • Boring appearance due to too little contrast.
  • Not particularly energy efficient.

The interaction between direct and indirect lighting

This should be in everyone's home, designers believe. It means we have installed lights of both types. The same objects could provide direct and indirect light at the same time.

Track lighting is highly recommended for your living room


  • A good light balance is achieved.
  • By switching between the two light sources, you ensure energy efficiency.
  • You can choose the appropriate option depending on the situation.


  • Relatively expensive to install and maintain.
  • Users need more detailed instructions on how to use it properly.

Design your bedroom exclusively with indirect lighting

To the lighting design

Let's finish with a few words about the lighting design. This is the art and skill of illuminating an ambience. Lighting design is divided into two main areas: for daylight and electric light.

Daylight design deals with the integration of daylight into space. It is looking for ways to spread this as well as possible in the built interior. It does not affect all areas of construction. Daylight design is both in building planning and interior design relevant.

Electric Light
Generally speaking, this term refers to the ability to illuminate the interior and exterior of buildings with artificial light.

Very sophisticated with Far Eastern flair

You can use indirect lighting in any furnishing style

Minimalist furnishings with a 50s touch

Perfect balance between indirect and direct lighting

Don't forget the stairwell

Medium lighting and soft, curved lines

Indirect LED lighting and masculine appeal

Daylight blurs into modern indirect lighting

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