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How to Create Dappled Light

How to Create Dappled Light

This guide is part of our Overstock Stylist Commentary series, home design tips written by industry experts.


by Amber Dunford
Style Director

Hello! I’m Amber and I’m the Style Director here at Overstock. My background is in interior design and I have a master’s degree in psychology. I love combining these two areas of study to show how homes can provide a sense of emotional well-being. In addition to designing beautiful spaces for Overstock, I teach Design Psychology at Salt Lake Community College. My favorite spaces use natural color palettes, imperfect shapes, and unique pieces that have a story.


Imagine laying under a tree on a warm sunny day. You might find that your body immediately relaxes and your mind feels at peace. The type of light breaking through those trees is referred to as dappled lighting, and it’s the preferred lighting to be under for most humans. Aside from the relaxed vibes, there are also plenty of design benefits to working with dappled lighting. Here’s how to achieve the dappled lighting effect in your home.

What Is Dappled Lighting?

So what is dappled light? This fractured light taps into the dormant survival skills we once relied upon to stay safe, before modern day housing. Basking under a tree on a sunny day typically meant no need to seek shelter or warmth. While this survival instinct no longer serves us in the same way it used to, we tend to retain those baked in preferences. Dappled lighting still elicits a similar response of safety to our psyche.

Dappled Lighting in Interior Design

Dappled lighting adds life, bringing dimension to flat surfaces in the home. By creating beautiful shadows, it enhances architecture and it adds softness to walls and floors. These fractured shapes and rounded lines are especially helpful in creating a welcoming environment as the sun goes down. If you’re interested in replicating dappled sunlight in your home, there are a few easy decor elements that can help you achieve the look.

Basket Weave Light Fixtures

Basket weave light fixtures such as pendants and table or floor lamps are an easy win. The open weave shade allows light to break through, similar to the sun shining through tree branches. Adding a warm bulb will further enhance the sense of being outdoors that comes from dappled forest light.

Bamboo Blinds & Roman Shades

Softening your window treatments with bamboo blinds gives you the imperfect look of dappled lighting found in nature, offering a less uniform shape as the sun shines through. Roman shades made from woven materials such as linen or jute also diffuse light and provide a nice backdrop for outside foliage. These shadow projections can be really peaceful because they flow with the wind and stretch throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky.


Dappled light can be achieved through perforated metal and woven rattan lanterns. The flicker from the candle will give the movement you might find in nature. As an added bonus, warm light sources draw people closer and helps promote more intimate conversations. Great for gatherings!

Invite cool, calm shadows with dappled lighting. To recreate sun shining through the trees in your home, shop lighting at Overstock and get Free Shipping on EVERYTHING!* See more lighting trends in our guide to the Top Lighting Styles. For more on restoring nature to your home, check out Biophilic Design.