This study explores whether different lighting arrangements (general lighting, wall washing and cove lighting) and different illuminances (500 and 320 lux) could affect the perception of the same space. An experimental study was conducted to investigate how the qualitative aspects of space (the impressions of a space) could be enhanced with lighting. Hundred participants were first asked to choose the most suitable lighting arrangement for each impression (clarity, spaciousness, relaxation, privacy, pleasantness and order) under the 500 lux illuminance. In the second stage, they were asked to compare the two illuminances (500 and 320 lux) for the lighting arrangement they selected in the first stage. There was a statistically significant relation between impressions and lighting arrangements, also between impressions and lighting levels. Thus, different lighting arrangements and lighting levels could be used to enhance the clarity, spaciousness, relaxation, privacy, pleasantness and order of a room. The results of this study found most suitable lighting arrangements with their illuminances for each impression, which is reported in the paper. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.