What is the Best Lighting For a Walk in Closet?


Lighting plays a crucial role in enhancing a walk-in closet’s functionality, aesthetics, and overall user experience.

A well-lit closet can improve visibility, make items more accessible, and transform the space into a stylish and inviting extension of your bedroom.

However, appropriate closet lighting is often overlooked, leading to common challenges such as inadequate light, wrong placement, or harsh fixtures that can cast unflattering shadows on your clothes.

Correctly understanding lighting techniques can help overcome these hurdles and elevate your walk-in closet to an appealing and efficient space.

Natural Lighting vs. Artificial Lighting

Natural Lighting

I’ve always been a fan of utilizing natural light whenever possible. There’s nothing quite like the soft, warm glow of sunlight streaming through a window to illuminate your walk-in closet.

Not only does it help reveal the true colors of your clothing (a feature essential when coordinating outfits) but it also creates an inviting, peaceful atmosphere.

If you want to incorporate natural lighting, consider the placement of windows or even skylights.

One of my favorite closets had a small skylight directly above the storage area, and it was a game-changer.

That little window to the sky transformed the entire space into an area of serenity. It’s important to remember that while natural lighting is a beautiful and sustainable option, its effectiveness will depend on the time of day and weather conditions.

Artificial Lighting

On the other hand, artificial lighting gives you control over the exact level and focus of light in your closet, regardless of time or weather. Let’s explore some of the options:

LED Lights: These are my personal go-to for closet lighting. They produce a bright, clear light that is perfect for distinguishing colors and details and is energy-efficient!

Fluorescent Lights: These are quite useful due to their low heat emission. There’s nothing worse than a hot, stuffy closet, and fluorescent lights help mitigate that risk.

Incandescent Lights: Incandescent lights might be your option if you’re after a warm, homey glow. However, they produce more heat and are less energy-efficient than the other options.

Remember, the flexibility of artificial lighting allows you to experiment with design and placement.

You can install a chandelier for a touch of elegance, utilize strip lights in drawers and shelves, or even include a lighted vanity area.

One of my favorite setups involved LED strip lights installed along the hanging rods and shelving. This allowed each piece of clothing to be clearly seen and appreciated.

Considerations for Walk-In Closet Lighting Design

Task Lighting

In my numerous adventures designing the perfect closet, I’ve found that task lighting is an essential yet often overlooked element.

Why? Well, think about it – how can you distinguish your navy blue socks from your black ones without appropriate lighting?

Task lighting, strategically placed in specific areas such as shelves, racks, and dressing spaces, illuminates the details.

Ensuring optimal placement of task lights is crucial to minimize shadows. I remember installing under-cabinet lights on every shelf, resulting in a well-lit closet with minimal shadows.

And let me tell you, it was a game-changer!

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is like the welcoming committee of your closet. It creates a comfortable and inviting atmosphere, making your closet more than just a storage space.

Some fantastic options for ambient lighting include recessed lighting, track lighting, and my personal favorite – chandeliers.

A well-placed chandelier not only emits a soft glow throughout the closet but also adds a touch of elegance, elevating the entire space.

Take it from me, there’s nothing like twirling around your walk-in closet under the subtle radiance of a beautiful chandelier!

Color Temperature

Don’t underestimate the power of the right color temperature. It can drastically affect how accurately you see the colors of your clothing.

Ideally, a temperature around 3500-4000 Kelvin gives the most accurate color representation.

I once had a client complaining about always picking out the wrong colored clothes. The culprit?

She had chosen the color temperature for her closet, lighting poorly. After relamping with the correct temperature, she was delighted to see her clothes in their true colors!

Motion Sensors and Smart Lighting

Finally, let’s talk about motion sensors and smart lighting – a dream come true for the energy-conscious and tech-savvy among us.

Motion sensors help conserve energy by turning on the light only when needed. And smart lighting systems?

They allow you to customize your lighting to your heart’s content, all from the convenience of your smartphone.

Imagine adjusting the brightness or changing the color of your closet lights while lounging on your bed. I’ve had it installed in my own closet, and trust me – once you’ve gone smart, you never go back!

Lighting Fixtures and Styles

When it comes to closet lighting, the fixtures you choose can dramatically affect the space’s practicality and aesthetic appeal. Let’s explore a few popular options:

Chandeliers and Pendant Lights

There’s no denying the opulence that a chandelier or pendant light can bring to any room; your walk-in closet is no exception.

The right pendant light can make a serious statement, adding a touch of luxury and style that’s hard to match. But choosing the right size and style can be tricky.

In a smaller closet, a petite pendant light will add a touch of elegance without overpowering the space. Larger closets, on the other hand, can accommodate more intricate designs.

I remember a client who added a crystal chandelier to her spacious closet, transforming it from a simple storage space to a luxurious dressing room!

LED Strip Lights

When it comes to versatility, LED strip lights take the cake. They can be tucked away under shelves, wrapped around mirrors, or lined along the ceiling to provide practical and aesthetic lighting.

I once installed strip lights along the edges of my shoe shelves, and not only did it make finding the right pair easier, but it also showed off my collection in a truly glamorous way!

Wall Sconces and Spotlights

Last but certainly not least are wall sconces and spotlights. These fixtures can enhance the overall design of your closet and provide focused lighting exactly where you need it.

But placement is key. Too high or too low, and you’ll be dealing with unflattering shadows.

Strategically placed, however, they can create an inviting ambiance and highlight your favorite pieces.

I had a client once who used spotlights to highlight his collection of vintage watches. The spotlights created a mini showroom within his closet that was both functional and chic.

Budget-Friendly Options

While lighting can transform your closet, it doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many affordable options available that can give your space a high-end look while keeping costs down.

LED Bulbs

One of the most cost-effective choices in lighting today is LED bulbs. Not only are LED bulbs affordable, but they’re also energy-efficient, which saves you money in the long run.

Once, I helped a client switch all her incandescent bulbs to LEDs. She was impressed by how much she saved on her energy bill! When choosing LED bulbs, pay attention to wattage and color temperature.

A higher-wattage bulb will give off more light, which is great for tasks like matching socks or choosing jewelry.

As for color temperature, a cooler temperature (think daylight) can make your clothes’ colors look more accurate, while warmer tones can create a cozy feel.

DIY Lighting solutions

For those who enjoy a hands-on approach, DIY lighting solutions can be both fun and budget-friendly.

One simple trick I often recommend is using mirrors and reflective surfaces to maximize natural and artificial light.

I once helped a friend arrange mirrors in her small, dark closet, and the result was amazing—it was like we had installed extra lights!

Another easy DIY solution is to repurpose existing fixtures. A table lamp or a floor lamp can offer functional lighting and add character to your closet.

Remember, the goal is to create a space that looks good and works for you. With a bit of creativity, you can achieve spectacular results on a budget.

Maintenance and Safety Tips

Fixture Maintenance

Taking care of your lighting fixtures can prolong their life and ensure they function at their best. It’s essential to clean fixtures regularly to prevent dust and dirt from dimming your lights.

You don’t need fancy cleaning solutions—a simple damp cloth often does the trick! When cleaning, always remember to turn the light off first to avoid burns or shocks.

I remember one time when I neglected my kitchen pendant light fixture for too long. Eventually, it was so caked with grease and dust that it started dimming the light.

After thoroughly cleaning, I was amazed at how much brighter my kitchen became! It’s also crucial to check for faulty or fraying wiring.

I quickly inspect the fixture’s wiring whenever I change a bulb. It’s a small step that could prevent larger electrical problems.

Safety Considerations

Safety should always be your top priority when dealing with electrical installations. Always ensure your hands are dry when changing bulbs to prevent electric shocks.

And never exceed the recommended wattage for a fixture—it’s not just about the brightness, it’s about safety!

I’ve learned that some installations are better left to professionals. Once, I tried to install a new ceiling light by myself.

Despite my best efforts, I had a non-functioning light and a tripped breaker! Now, I remind myself that hiring a professional for complex installations is worth the cost for peace of mind and safety.

They have the right tools and knowledge to do the job correctly and safely, so do not hesitate to seek professional help when needed.


To wrap things up, always remember that the right lighting can make a significant difference in your walk-in closet.

From the clarity of your clothing colors, ease of locating items, to the general ambiance, every aspect is influenced by your choice of lighting.

Remember the importance of regular maintenance and safety considerations when dealing with electrical installations.

I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact these factors can have on the functionality and safety of lighting fixtures.

I encourage you to carefully assess your specific needs and preferences before deciding on the ideal lighting for your closet.

Ask yourself, what tasks will you be performing in your closet? What mood do you want to create? What’s the size and layout of your closet?

I chose based on the answers to these questions, and I’ve been delighted with the results.

I’d love to hear from you! If you have questions or thoughts to share, please leave a comment below. Let’s continue this enlightening dialogue!

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