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Layers of Light
Defining Ambient, Task and Accent Lighting

If you’re looking to upgrade the lighting in your home, we recommend mixing different types of lighting layered throughout the room. Layering lighting is not complicated when you know the basics.  Three kinds of lighting, ambient, task and accent lighting, work in harmony to achieve a richer and more functional aesthetic.  Here’s how to create the perfect blend of lighting to give your space the design it deserves!


Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is the lighting most rooms begin and end with. It provides overall illumination usually in the form of an overhead fixture that distributes light evenly throughout a room. Ambient lighting is especially important in setting the tone of a space but it does not showcase or highlight specific areas of a room.  

Most common ambient lights:

  • Ceiling mounted fixtures
  • Pendants
  • Chandeliers
  • Recessed lighting
  • Ceiling fans with lighting options


Task Lighting

Task lighting is exactly what its name implies. Any lighting that will assist in illuminating a work area would fall under this category. Task lighting is a direct light focused on a specific area to facilitate in close range work. Preparing food, grooming, desk work and leisure reading would all benefit from the illumination of a task light. 

Most common task lights:

  • Desk, table and floor lamps
  • Undercabinet lighting
  • Bathroom and vanity lighting
  • Mini pendants


Accent Lighting

Accent Lighting is used to draw attention to a specific object or area in the home in order to create a point of interest. It adds drama to a space by drawing the eye with an intense, bright light. Most designers agree that accent lighting should be three times as bright as the ambient lighting in a room. Wall art, family photos, select furnishings and signature details of a home can all be highlighted using accent lighting.

Most common accent lights:

  • Track or monorail lighting
  • Spot lights
  • Picture lights
  • Wall sconces




Things to keep in mind when installing ambient, task and accent lighting.

  • Keep lighting on separate switches in order to customize the feel of the room.
  • Adding a dimmer switch gives lighting even more flexibility to manipulate the look of your space.
  • Make sure you used a licensed electrician for any installations or electrical changes.