How the Three Types of Lighting Work in Your Home

How the Three Types of Lighting Work in Your Home
Article Intro

There are three main types of lighting: ambient, task and accent. This guide will help you understand how they’re used in homes today.

It takes a lot of thought to create a well-lit environment. Lighting is something that not many people think twice about because of its simplicity. But when you’ve been in a poorly lit room, or one that just seems dark and dreary, a proper lighting scheme is that much more important.

Making sure your home has the right type of lighting is simple. There are just three main types of lighting: ambient, task and accent. This guide will help you understand the best applications for each type and how they’re used in homes today.


Ambient light is the most common type of lighting used in homes. Also known as general lighting, this type gives off the right amount of light needed to illuminate an entire room. Most rooms have at least one main source of light to illuminate the entire space, making it easy to see and walk freely without squinting or bumping into furniture. Some examples of fixtures that provide ambient light are ceiling lights, sconces and floor lamps.


Living up to its name, task lighting provides light to help you perform specific tasks with ease. It’s ideal in spaces like home offices, kitchens, craft areas and reading nooks – really, anywhere concentrated light is needed to help prevent eyestrain and focus on the task at hand. Task lighting should be used alongside ambient lighting. Using table lamps and floor lamps is helpful since they have separate power controls, but pendants can also be used for task lighting.

Task Lighting


For homes with unique architectural elements or an art collection, it’s even more important to have proper lighting to highlight these features. That’s where accent lighting comes in. Accent lighting is accomplished by using track lighting and recessed lights. Both types of fixtures can be pointed at a desired focal point, making them ideal for this purpose.

Creating Layers of Light

Combining the different types of lighting in a room is often referred to as layering the light. For example, you can layer light fixtures by installing wall sconces alongside a bathroom vanity light. Another way to layer your lighting is to use recessed lighting with the light given off by a ceiling fan. Make sure each fixture is on its own switch so you can control the atmosphere and mood of the space.

Accent Lighting | Layered Lighting

Knowing about the three different types of lighting (and how they work in a home) makes planning and purchasing that much easier. Well-lit rooms are safer and more pleasant spaces to be in. Each type of light plays an important role in interior design and can make a drastic difference the way a room looks.

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