Lighting Types

Accent lighting, ambient lighting and task lighting

Lighting comes in many different types. In its most basic there is ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. The ideal room would feature all three types. In this article we look at some examples of each lighting type.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lights are designed to light up the whole room and create a uniform level of brightness across the space. Ceiling mounted features are the most common in this category while wall mounted and track lights are commonly found too. Avoid track lighting in rooms with low ceilings as this can create a harsher impression. 

Pendants and chandeliers are a nice touch in the home environment or in large spaces but they must be designed in such a way that people won’t walk into them. This type of lighting is sometimes known as ‘mood lighting’ because, when done right, it should allow your pupils to dilate slightly and promote a relaxed feeling.

Lighting Types - Ambient Lighting
Lighting Types - Task Lighting

Task Lighting

As the name suggests, this type of lighting will illuminate a smaller space which is used for a specific task. Reading lights will aid reading and drawing while pendant lighting can light up a space used for cooking. Harsher lights are best avoided to prevent from casting unnecessary shadows or making an area too bright.   

Generally, task lighting needs to contrast the area with the rest of the space – a desk lamp is more effective when used in a darker room. Examples of task lights include floor lamps, desk lamps and under cabinet lighting which is commonly found in kitchens beneath the cupboards and wall units.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting provides focus on a particular area or for a particular purpose. It can be used to highlight artistic objects, paintings or illuminate an area with the intention of making it appear bigger than it really is. Track lighting and flood lighting falls into this category. When used outdoors they can be used as a guide on walkways to tastefully light up a path. 

Wall lights are useful as they can enhance both large and small objects and can be an important focal point in a room while spot lights can brighten up an entire wall or painting.

Lighting Types - Accent Lighting