How-To Articles

How to Light Rugs and Carpets

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A beautiful rug or carpet is a work of art. Whether it's a classic Persian, a handwoven dhurrie or a more contemporary plaited denim and jute piece, rugs and carpets deserve to be illuminated in a way that ensures they are enjoyed and appreciated. 

The right lighting works to enhance the colours in the rug while also making it look luxurious and welcoming, whereas poor lighting can have the opposite effect by creating shadows that can make the carpet look cheap and dull. 

Floor carpets need different lighting to wall carpets, as they are experienced differently. Here are some simple steps for using lights to bring out the best in your rugs. 

Lighting floor carpets 

Floor carpets are best illuminated with downlighters as these have excellent colour rendering properties and offer an even spread of light across an area. Opt for downlighters with a tilt so that the pool of light can be positioned to fall where you want it. 

Generally, standard 50W low-voltage downlighters work perfectly in spaces where the ceiling is lower than three metres.

Low-voltage downlighters require a transformer, which makes their installation more expensive, but the benefits of this option are manifold: 

Up to three times more light output 
Better quality light, i.e. the colour of the source is truer
Beam angles range between 24 and 60 degrees
Various fittings and lamps available - colour, output and beam angle/intensity can be customised
The running cost of low-voltage downlighters will be recovered within a year, compared to that of mains voltage 

Note that dark carpets tend to show up the dirt more easily when they are illuminated so keep them clean to ensure they look their best. 

Lighting wall carpets 

Wall carpets play a very different role in a room to a floor carpet, as their exclusive purpose is visual appeal. 

To give a hanging carpet the focus be sure to light it from two sides. A single light source shining onto the carpet will create shadows, resulting in distorted colouring. 

In placing the lights on either side of the carpet be sure to avoid washing the surrounding wall in light as this will divert attention from the main attraction. 

Lighting is the best way to elevate your carpets and rugs from an item of practicality to a piece worth admiration.