How to light a loft conversion

Loft conversions are notoriously tricky to light – but with a bit of clever thinking the right lighting scheme can give you a loft space that’s practical, bright and beautiful…

Loft conversions can pose some devilish challenges from a lighting point of view, with their low ceilings, quirky layouts and interesting nooks and crannies… Of course that’s all part of their charm – and the good news is there are plenty of different lighting options to help you make the most of your loft space, whatever its size or shape. 

Find out the best way to light your loft conversion, with our expert guide… 

What’s the best kind of lighting for a loft conversion?

Loft conversions can be used for a whole range of different purposes: a recreational space, a study, a playroom or perhaps an extra bedroom. Whatever you’re using your loft conversion for, the same basic principles apply when it comes to your lighting. 

The best lighting schemes use a combination of different types of lighting: this is known as layering light. There are three main types of lighting: ambient lighting, which is the overall amount of light in a room, including the main light and any natural light; task lighting, for specific tasks such as reading or working; and accent lighting, which is for highlighting particular areas or features within your space, and creating mood and atmosphere.

When lighting a loft conversion, use a range of different light sources, including flush-mounted or low ceiling lights, wall lights and freestanding lamps. By combining different types of lighting, you can provide plenty of practical light while banishing darker areas and creating a space that’s stylish and welcoming. 

Find out more about layering light here: Home lighting design: A guide to layering light. 


Maximising natural light in a loft conversion

Natural light has many benefits, not only practically but also in terms of our mental health and wellbeing, and when it comes to loft conversions with their sloping ceilings and unusual angles, you should aim to make the most of the available natural light wherever possible. 

If your loft conversion is in the early planning stages, prioritise natural light in the design from the outset. Dormer conversions allow for full-size windows as well as adding some useful extra head height. Other options might include floor to ceiling windows, sky lanterns or light tunnels, which are great for lighting up those harder to reach areas in a loft conversion. Skylights can usually be easily added to a sloping roof, and will help to flood your loft room with direct natural light during the day.  

Attic room by Vickie Nickolls, Interior Therapy


Using ceiling lights to illuminate a loft conversion 

Ceiling lights supplement the available natural light in a loft conversion, and provide plenty of good ambient lighting. 

If your loft room has low ceilings it’s best to choose a style of light fitting that doesn’t take up too much headroom, such as flush or semi-flush mounted lighting. Recessed spotlights are one simple and unobtrusive option, which can be fitted among roof beams or in eaves or recesses to provide plenty of bright, practical downlight. 

However, just because you have low ceilings doesn’t mean you can’t still make a statement! A semi-flush or low ceiling light with a small drop will really add to the aesthetic: and if the vertical space is limited, opt for a light with a wider fitting for a bigger impact. Meanwhile, if your loft conversion has more generous headroom, why not create a focal point with a striking full-sized pendant light (or even a show-stopping chandelier) for that extra wow factor? 

See also: How to light a room with low ceilings

Finally, to give you flexibility in setting the mood in your loft conversion, install a set of dimmer switches. 

Attic bathroom by Anna Haines

Adding atmosphere to a loft conversion with wall lights

Wall lights are a beautiful and effective way of lighting a loft conversion, while also introducing an additional layer of warmth and atmosphere. If the ceiling in your loft space is very restricted, wall mounted lights offer an excellent alternative to ceiling lights.

One of the (many) great things about wall lights is their versatility.  As well as providing effective ambient light, they can also be used for practical task lighting in key areas: a set of wall lights placed above a desk or table will provide plenty of light where it’s needed, while adding a sense of balance and symmetry. 

Wall lights are also ideal for providing softer accent lighting and creating depth and atmosphere in a loft conversion. A pair of matching wall sconces placed on either side of a sofa or bed will provide a lovely soft light for relaxing and unwinding. And when it comes to lighting those dark corners or awkward alcoves, a well-placed wall light can really help to make a feature of them, adding focus and a touch of drama!

Our designer wall lights are available in a wide variety of styles, from traditional candle and lantern styles, to vertical torchieres and contemporary flush-mounted sconces which cast a lovely light up and down the wall. 


Creating accents in a loft conversion with freestanding floor lights and table lamps 

Freestanding lamps are another fabulous way of helping to illuminate a loft conversion. As well as contributing to the overall ambient light, floor lamps and table lamps provide excellent task lighting, and they’re also perfect for creating accents. The fact that they’re portable also brings extra flexibility to your lighting scheme. 

Floor lamps or standard lamps are particularly good for lighting up darker areas and adding character to a loft conversion. Placing a set of floor lamps in the corners of the room will add ambience and will balance the spread of light across your loft space. Floor lamps can also be used to create different zones within a loft conversion: to create a cosy reading nook, just place a stylish floor lamp beside a favourite armchair or recliner. 

Meanwhile, a set of table lamps will introduce another layer of warm, low-level lighting into your loft space. There’s something rather lovely about the warm, gentle glow from a table lamp, and whether you’re using them to light up a workspace or illuminate an alcove, some strategically placed designer table lamps will add a lovely decorative element to your space. Table lamps come in a huge range of different styles, so you can choose something that complements your existing decor, or alternatively choose something striking to make a bold design statement. 

What’s more, cordless rechargeable table lamps offer the ultimate in flexibility – with no leads or plug sockets to worry about, you can literally place them anywhere you like, making them an ideal candidate for any loft conversion!

Bedroom with picture window by Lauren Gilberthorpe

Image top: Penthouse by Barlow and Barlow