15 cottage lighting ideas – pretty ways to brighten your cottage

From task lighting to beautiful pendant shades, these cottage lighting ideas create the perfect ambience

Cottage lighting ideas
(Image credit: Future/Dan Duchars)

Cottage lighting ideas are one of the most overlooked aspects of renovating a room, often added in as a finishing touch rather than a key consideration. However, given the vital role it plays in creating the perfect atmosphere in a room, it is essential to consider from the start. 

'Begin by thinking about how you use the room,' says Period Living magazine editor Melanie Griffiths. 'If it's a space where you like to relax, then create layers with dimmable lamps and wall lights that can be adjusted to suit your needs. Alternatively, if it's somewhere like the kitchen, then good task lighting is a must.'

Continue scrolling for cottage lighting ideas sure to brighten every room in your home. 

See: Cottage decorating ideas – 13 ways to get a charming, characterful look

1.  Consider the size of the room when choosing your cottage lighting ideas

Cottage lighting ideas in a bedroom

(Image credit: Future/Emma Lee)

'Consider proportions,' says Hannah Thompson of Lam Lighting. 'The overall size of the space and the height of the ceiling should guide you. For example, pendants can still work well with low ceilings, providing they are not oversized and the cable has been adjusted to suit the ceiling height.'

Where there is a low ceiling, consider lower level pendant lighting, as in the bedroom above, or do without ceiling lights and wire table lamps to the main light switch for efficient but homey lighting.

See: Cottage curtain ideas – inspiration for a pretty, cozy home

2. Opt for reclaimed lights to add character and charm

Cottage lighting ideas kitchen Devol

(Image credit: Devol)

A large part of being a conscious consumer is thinking about the life of your purchase beyond its time with you. Similarly, if you buy a piece secondhand – let's call it vintage – you are lessening your impact on the environment. The upside? A reclaimed piece will add character and charm that a new cottage lighting buy can't.

See: Cottage kitchen ideas – design inspiration for homely spaces

3. Use wall lights in rooms with low ceilings

Cottage lighting ideas living room ideas

(Image credit: Future/Polly Eltes)

‘Let yourself be led by the natural architecture of the room. The key is to find a healthy balance. You don't want to ‘over light’ an area and make it feel artificial. Where it might be difficult to install overhead lights, wall lights are a fool-proof go to.’ Cassie Rowland, creative director at Jim Lawrence

4. Illuminate your cooking with task lights in the kitchen

Cottage lighting ideas in a kitchen

(Image credit: Future/Lizzie Orme)

When you're cooking, the light levels are essential but this needs special consideration in cottage kitchens, which are notoriously dark. Installing pendant lights over your worktops offers focused task light.

However, you can boost that with spotlighting. If you want an unfitted look that complements the style of your cottage kitchen, you can have clamp lights like this mains wired. 

This feature was created by H&G's sister brand, Period Living magazine 

Subscribe to Period Living for more inspiration  Period Living is the UK's best-selling period homes magazine. A subscription provides you with all you need to know about caring for and improving a traditional house and garden.

5. Use pendant cottage lighting to brighten your kitchen

Cottage lighting ideas in a cottage kitchen

(Image credit: Future/Polly Eltes)

When you are redesigning a kitchen, the lights can often get overlooked, even though it is critical to both the atmosphere and functionality of a space. A pendant light makes a striking feature over an island or dining table, and adds to the authentic personality of the space begin the true engine room of the home. 

Pick a shade in a color that contributes to the color scheme – here, the green is part of a pretty, multi-colored scheme that's reflective of florals.

6. Create an cozy ambience with lamps 

cottage lighting ideas – susie watson designs lamp on wooden bureau in a living roo

(Image credit: Susie Watson Designs)

'Lamps are the key ingredient to any scheme, the light is more comfortable and relaxed then overheads. In a cottage this will have the effect of dialling up the cosy cottage feel.' says interior designer Susie Watson of Susie Watson Designs 

'Using warm white bulbs at eye level will draw everything in, making the feel of the room warm and inviting. Position your lamps around precious ornaments and much loved artwork you want to showcase.'

7. Consider bulb color as well as shades and design

Cottage lighting ideas

(Image credit: Charlotte Gaisford)

While the look of the shade and fittings are very important, don't overlook the bulb itself as this can have a huge impact on effect the lights has on a room.

'The color of your light can make or break the scheme,' says Lam Lighting founder Hannah Thompson. 'New LED's offer a much wider range of color, from cool blues to very warm yellows. For a cottage we would recommend a warm bulb, reminiscent of traditional filament bulbs – somewhere between 2200 to 2800 kelvin.'

9. Be inspired by layered cottage lighting ideas for a relaxing bedroom

cottage lighting ideas - bedroom in attic with pendant light and beamed ceiling

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

Of all the rooms in your home, the lighting in the bedroom is one of the most important. A glass pendant is a great choice for a main light as it will subtly diffuse light throughout the room to create a relaxing ambience, perfect for winding down for bed. Pair this with bedside lamps to give you greater flexibility over light levels.

Smaller task lights attached to the wall on either side of the bed are a great choice if you like to read in bed, and will provide ample light. 

10. Experiment with cottage lighting ideas by adding prints and patterns on lamp shades

cottage lighting ideas – woodland themed lamp illustrated by Maude Smith in a rustic cottage kitchen

(Image credit: Pooky)

Accessories provide the perfect space for your to experiment with bolder patterns a colors. This beautiful Furry Folk shade designed by illustrator Maude Smith for Pooky features hand drawn deer, birds and squirrels and is perfect for bringing a touch of woodland magic to a cottage interior.

11. Create an relaxing ambience in the bathroom with wall lights

cottage lighting ideas bathroom

(Image credit: CP Hart/Kit Kemp)

'The key to creating the perfect ambience in your bathroom is to make sure the light reflects the kind of sanctuary you are trying to achieve. Introducing symmetrical wall lights either side of your wash basin will limit shadows, while a bold yet beautiful pendant light above your basin can really make a difference to the look of the room,' says Scarlett Blakey, creative partner of Ophelia Blake Interior Design.

For more cottage bathroom ideas, don't miss our dedicated gallery.

12. Combine contemporary design with traditional

Cottage lighting ideas

(Image credit: Future/Dan Duchars)

Contrasting lighting design with the rest of the room is a clever way to make it stand out. Here, a cottage bedroom is lit by a modern bedside table lamp whose simplicity means that it's the perfect fit – but also a clever contrast – to the more traditional elements of the room. Its simplicity makes it stand out beautifully.

13. Use cottage lighting ideas to play with scale

Cottage lighting ideas

(Image credit: Future/Brent Darby)

Playing with scale in any interior is a decorative trick that interior designers like to use to create a focal point, added impact and instant character. A cottage typically has smaller rooms which means those focal points have to be cleverly thought out and often practical, too. Here, the effect is created effortlessly with twin table lamps that are separately proportionally too large for a cottage living room, but perfect as a decorative trick.

14. Choose task lighting with character

Cottage lighting ideas in a home office

(Image credit: Future/Emma Lee)

Some contemporary light fittings hit just the right note for cottage interiors – and can provide better functionality than traditional pieces. Notably this applies for task lighting, wherever that might be needed in the house. For avid home office workers or bedtime readers, this might mean an angled lamp that's really ergonomic but fits right in to your cottage interior.

15. Don't forget outdoor cottage lighting

cottage lighting ideas – jess williams house cottage front door with outdoor light

(Image credit: Future)

So now you've sorted out your interior lights, it's time to turn your attention outside. Not only will an outdoor light help you find you keys and unlock your door in the darker evenings but it will also enhance your home's security. 

See: Cottage garden ideas – 10 ways to create the look

While it is common to only have one outdoor light, if your door in the center of a wall or porch, then placing a light either side of the door creates a beautiful symmetry which will complete your cottage's style.