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3 Types of Lighting and When to Use Them

A dining room is lit with a chandelier and side lamps for a relaxing aesthetic.

Get Your Lighting Design Tips from the Pros

A creative lighting design offers homeowners flexibility throughout their day, evening, and when entertaining guests. It’s possible to match the ambiance of your home with the event of the moment using creative lighting arrangements. Lighting design is more than simply pointing lights in a particular direction or choosing exciting lighting fixtures that draw attention – it is also the layering of lights and adjusting brightness levels.

Continue reading to learn more about the three types of lighting: ambient, task, and accent lighting, and when each would work best in your Bay Area home.

SEE ALSO: How Smart Lighting Design Adds Ambiance to Your Home

Ambient Lighting

The most common type of lighting used is ambient lighting that provides overall general light in a space. This light is distributed uniformly to be helpful across the entire room. Some homeowners prefer this lighting to be dimmable and softened in the evening for a more relaxing atmosphere. Ambient lights use  fixtures such as chandeliers, ceiling-mounted lights, and downlights. They are required in all living areas throughout the house. 

Task Lighting

If you’ve ever been focused on an activity such as reading, sewing, or cooking, you may have needed additional light to help prevent eye strain. This extra light is called task lighting. Not used all the time, task lighting assists when additional light is required to complete a job.

Task lighting can take many forms, but the most common are table lamps, desk lamps, and under-cabinet lighting. You will find task lighting typically in a home office, sewing room, or kitchen.

Accent Lighting

Homeowners can use accent lighting to highlight certain design features or add drama to a room. This type of lighting is more creative and artistic and is used to highlight art displays, create welcoming entryway scenes, or add interest to the landscaping.

You may see track lighting, wall lamps, or wall sconces used as accent lights. Uplights and downlights can also be paired to create a unique artistic lighting design, such as in a home theater.

Layer Lights

The three types of lights should be layered throughout the . For instance, you may prefer ambient light in the kitchen most of the day but require task lighting when chopping vegetables. These lights are considered layered when they are used together in a space. Accent lighting is also commonly paired with ambient lighting to create a dramatic effect in an entryway or living room.

The use of dimmable and color-changing lighting can also add layers to enhance the mood of your home’s interior. Additionally, dimmable lighting solutions are an energy-efficient option for homeowners.


Don’t just do the same old thing with your San Francisco, CA, home’s lighting design. Instead, contact our expert team for creative ideas and ways to enhance your home’s atmosphere using layered lighting effects using the three types of lights.

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