Types of Lighting

Lighting can set the mood, accent a room’s design or simply help you see your hand in front of your face. It is a necessary design element for any space, and new options in lighting are more trendy and eco-friendly than ever. But before you invest in lighting for your space, it is best to spend some time considering exactly what type of illumination you need.

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There are four types of home lighting, each one serving a unique purpose. Depending on how you use a specific room, you may need just one, some or all of these types.

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  • Ambient. Ambient lighting, also know as general light, fills the room with overall illumination. Ambient lighting gives off a comfortable level of brightness, enabling you to see and walk about safely. A basic form of lighting that replaces sunlight, ambient lighting is fundamental to a lighting plan.
  • Task. Task lighting provides lighting for a specific area and task. Lighting for reading, crafts, or writing are examples of task lighting.  Task lighting should be free of distracting glare and shadows and should be bright enough to prevent eyestrain.
  • Accent. Accent lighting accents a particular part of the room or object in the room. An example would be lighting accenting a painting or sculpture and is the most dramatic type of lighting. Accent lighting requires at least three times as much light on the focal point as the general lighting around it. This usually is provided by track, recessed, or wall-mounted fixtures.
  • Decorative. Decorative lighting is treated as a design element. For example, a dramatic wrought iron candle stand or small decorative lamp. It is not designed or intended to give out much light, but provides a decorative touch.
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