Interior lighting decisions often come at the end of the design process. But lighting has a dramatic effect on the overall look and feel of a space. When considered as part of the overall vehicle design phase the results can be amazing.

Lighting effects, colour temperature, glare, shadowing, as well as areas of the interior that could be enhanced or hidden should all be considered in order to create the desired outcome.

It’s also important to consider the different times of day and the range of activities undertaken within the vehicle, to identify all the lighting requirements for the interior. 


So how do we use lighting to meet all those requirements? The first step is to consider the five layers of lighting and determine the right combination for the vehicle. What do we mean by lighting layers? Read on to find out.


This is the main illumination source for your vehicle. It’s the practical lighting for everyday use.

caravan interior



A great partner to general lighting, it’s primarily functional and is used to light a complete area. This is typically used on a dimmable circuit and is a bit more adaptable to the needs of the user.


Typically, this is a focused light source which is there for a specific need.



This is typically used for eliminating shadows that may be caused by the general and ambient lighting. Uplighters, and strip lighting can be effective methods for achieving this in most applications.


This is used for making a feature of something in the space. We typically use a focused spotlight for this purpose.


How are the lighting layers created in reality? This is achieved through installing different lighting effects.  There is a range of lighting products that can be used for each.


Downlighting is a very useful and most popular form of lighting in interiors – most central light sources or spotlights will be downlights. It does cast unflattering shadows (especially for people) so it needs to be counterbalanced with adequate ambient lighting.




Uplighting is a much softer alternative to downlighting as it indirectly introduces light into a room by having it bounce off the ceiling and reflect into the room.


Wall washing evenly illuminates a vertical surface in a soft way. Placing the light at an adequate distance ensures the beam reaches the entire surface.



Wall grazing places a light intentionally close to the surface it’s to illuminate, effectively highlighting its texture.


Spotlighting is used a lot in task and accent lighting to highlight a particular feature of a room.


Perimeter lighting accentuates the dimensions of a room and expands its apparent size. Coving or cornice lighting is an effective way to do this and is used often by interior designers and architects.

What else is important to consider when choosing interior lighting?


Colour temperature is measured in Kelvins and determines how warm or cool a light appears. In a working environment cooler colour temperatures are proven to increase productivity and concentration. While in a living space, warmer lighting may be more appropriate. It’s important to determine the desired colour temperature within a space and ensure all the lighting in that space is the same temperature to create a harmonious environment. LED lighting gives much more flexibility on colour temperature than traditional incandescent, halogen of fluorescent lights, which have a fixed colour temperature.


Colour should be used carefully but can enhance the environment well. Low level, low power accent lines could add an interesting dimension to a vehicle for example. Coloured LEDs can create a certain look and feel and colour changing LEDs can change the environment as required.

There are many ways of using lighting to create the desired look and feel. Incorporating a mix of lighting effects to achieve the different lighting layers at the right colour temperature is key to bringing an interior to life. Injecting some colour can enhance it further. Having lighting on different circuits and using dimmers are effective ways of adapting the lighting to suit different activities and times of day. Different lenses can also be used to create different effects, for example dotless strip lighting to reduce glare and give a softer effect.

Don’t be afraid to try different things with lighting. Bear in mind however that you can have the most beautiful design, surfaces and finishes but if it's illuminated badly, it's wasted. Lighting ultimately makes or breaks the design of an interior.

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