I am trying to create dim lighting at my lounge. The problem I am facing is lack of knowledge or understanding of the light positioning, intensity and light reflection. I made a few experiments but failed miserably.

I would like to create enough light at the couch, so I can read a book, but at the same time I don't want to have a bright source of light as it will mess the ambient atmosphere. I tried using halogen bulbs, but looks like I need to use a dimmer with them.

I have a single ceiling light and 3-4 floor and table-standing light sources with no built-in dimmers. I was trying to use low power bulbs, but that just create irritating lighting - semi darkness.

Could anyone answer or recommend books/blogs on how to create dim cosy lighting?

  • 3
    Light reflected off a surface (eg, ceiling, wall) is generally softer than any type of direct lighting. More lights that are dimmed down and providing indirect light will feel 'cosier' than a single light providing the same overall illumination, however for reading you may want direct task lighting (eg, small lamp). Pay attention to color temperature of bulbs as well. You haven't stated in your question, but are you installing permanent fixtures? If this is just about putting lamps in a room, it's probably decorating advice and off-topic here.
    – gregmac
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 13:34
  • 1
    You're asking to accomplish two tasks here: mood lighting and task lighting. They can't easily be accomplished with the same light source. For reading, you want a task light...a reading lamp would be idea. For the mood lighting, you have any number of options. I'd focus on indirect light (can lights, under counter lights, etc...)
    – DA01
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 18:21
  • I suspect you would find good information in architecture design books that discuss residential lighting. In the US, AIA has bookstores in various cities. Their staff would be a prime resource for locating your reading materials. In your parts, RIBA has a book store in London. In the US, community libraries generally have excellent inter-library loan services for free that draw on university and college libraries across the nation.
    – mike
    Commented Sep 29, 2013 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


There are numerous plug-in dimmers that can be used with floor or table lamps, for example

plugin dimmer

These can be used with incandescent or halogen bulbs. If you are considering CFL or LED bulbs, you need to select dimmable versions of the bulbs and a dimmer specially designed for those type bulbs.

You also might consider using a wall mounted dimmer replacing the existing switch for your ceiling light.


This would allow you to set a level and turn it on or off, maintaining the same level.

In general, when trying to create a cozy atmosphere, people tend to use indirect lighting and multiple, low level sources rather than a single source. This obviously is a much bigger project, but something to consider. Also, using lampshades on floor and table lamps that are opaque and only cast light up and down (not sideways) helps to create an atmosphere.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.