Lighting and entertaining – how to wow (and flatter) your guests with the right light

Great lighting can make all the difference when it comes to entertaining. From making a dramatic style statement, to helping your guests feel (and look) their best, find out how to design your home lighting with visitors in mind...

What’s the best lighting for entertaining?

With the right lighting, you can create an inviting atmosphere which casts your home – and your guests – in the best possible light. When entertaining, you should avoid overly bright, direct lighting and include plenty of warm, low level light from a range of sources, including wall lights, floor lamps and table lamps.

By using multiple light sources, and layering your light, you can provide the perfect mood and ambience, while also creating that all-important wow factor. 

Flatter your guests with soft, indirect lighting

If you’ve ever found the fluorescent striplights in the shop changing rooms a tad unforgiving, you’re not alone. The first rule of lighting when you’re entertaining is to avoid using overly harsh or direct lighting. A bright light shining straight down from above will create glare and cast shadows which are less than flattering to your guests’ facial features! Aim instead for layers of warm, low level light which emphasise the horizontal space and offer a more natural angle of illumination.

The ‘colour temperature’ of your lightbulbs can also make a real difference to how you look and feel. The colour temperature of a modern LED light bulb is measured in Kelvins (K) and the lower the number, the warmer the colour – just think of the lovely soft, golden glow you get from an open fire or a beautiful sunset. For entertaining, we advise that you aim for a flattering ‘warm white’ light with a colour temperature of around 2,700K-3,000K. (Find out more about warm lighting and colour temperature in our guide.)

standard 6 watt led bulb with amber coatingModern LED bulbs - like this dimmable 6 watt, 600lm bulb with amber coating - cast a lovely warm light. 

Finally, installing some dimmer switches will give you ultimate control over the light levels. This means you can use the space for a range of activities during the daytime, and then dial down the lights as the evening develops, to set the mood and encourage your guests to relax and enjoy themselves. 

Use portable table lamps to create accents and atmosphere

When it comes to entertaining, table lamps are an essential part of your lighting scheme. They’re great for creating accents and atmosphere and setting the mood – and they’re also gorgeous things in their own right, adding a beautiful decorative element to any space. 

phileas portable table lampPhileas rechargeable table lamp in antique brass finish - no cord means you can place it strategically for maximum guest-flattering

For a magical, intimate feel, try placing a set of decorative table lamps around the room at eye level on cupboards or shelves, or in alcoves. Or set a pair of matching designer table lamps on the dining table to provide a beautiful, flattering ambient glow.

Tip: with rechargeable cordless designer table lamps you can place your light anywhere for the best possible glow, with no need to worry about those pesky cables getting in the way of your guests, or your evening.

Browse Pooky's range of affordable designer table lamps.


Creating a warmly welcoming environment 

Thinking a little more long-term, you can design your home lighting to make a generally warm, welcoming environment for visitors.

Wall lights and sconces are a lovely way of introducing a layer of warm, diffused light. Used as an alternative to overhead lighting, they will create a beautiful wash of light across the wall and add a soft, welcoming glow to any dining room or living room. 

Think of your walls as a canvas, which you can use to reflect the light and create soft accents. A set of downlights will cast the majority of light down and across the wall, highlighting the horizontal space and providing a cosy and intimate feel. You can introduce some more targeted lighting, such as picture lights, to showcase artwork or architectural features and create depth and interest. (Find out more about layering light in our expert guide.)  

long roddy ip44 wall light

The Long Roddy wall light in nickel with glass rods is an Art Deco style wall sconce - and its IP44 rating means you can use it any room including bathrooms

Wall lights come in a wide range of different shapes, styles and materials, from traditional style sconces to striking contemporary designs, so you can find something that hits just the right note.

View our range of beautiful designer wall lights. 

Make a wow lighting statement

As well as providing a warm welcome for your guests, your lighting is also an opportunity to make a statement. A striking pendant light or cluster light can add some real wow factor to your night: a statement pendant light suspended low over the dining table will create a beautiful focal point, around which you can then build the rest of your lighting scheme. 

Meanwhile, chandeliers are surely the ultimate show-stoppers (not to mention conversation starters). These days they’re available in a huge range of different styles and materials, from traditional crystal dazzlers which will reflect the light beautifully, to state-of-the-art metal and industrial designs, so you can make exactly the kind of statement you want to. 

You want to flatter and impress your guests - and there's nothing wrong with creating a teeny bit of envy too, is there?...

Check out our affordable designer chandeliers here.

Pooky's spectacular showpiece Saturn chandelier has 140 hand-finished solid glass pieces and 12 bulbs

Pooky make beautiful lighting for beautiful homes. See our full range of designer lighting.