3 Basic Types of Lighting and When to Use Them

Proper lighting is one of the most significant requirements in and around your home, and different spaces may require a variety of different lighting requirements.

Beyond just being able to see in the dark, a good lighting plan should combine the various kinds of lighting that caters for how you will use each room or other areas of your home, whether it be to work or to relax.

A single room should have a layer of light that falls into these three basic types:

  • Ambient (general lighting)
  • Accent lighting
  • Task lighting

Let’s look at each of these different types and learn when its best to use them.

Ambient Lighting for homes is the primary source of lighting in a room and forms the foundation of all other types of lighting required to improve warmth and depth of a space.

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The role of this type of lighting source is meant to provide a comfortable level of illumination that immediately brightens a room without glare or other strobe effect (this happens when down-lights are placed too close to fans and can cause some people to have seizures and migraines).

Ambient lighting examples include track lights, recessed down-lights, central mounted pendant lights like chandeliers, or wall lights. The best ambient lighting for a TV room would be something like dimming overheads or a basic floor lamp.

The key is to create balance and a qualified Lighting Consultant can assist you with getting it right. In some rooms such as a laundry or a bathroom, ambient lighting can serve as your primary source of task lighting.


Accent Lighting definition is often used for illuminating your exterior home such as pathways or highlighting objects such as wall art, this type of lighting is the second layer in some rooms such as long corridors, living spaces and bedrooms, it is the mood setter.

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The most common accent lighting fixtures include track and pendant lighting, wall sconces and lamps, other types include recessed lighting fixtures and LED under cabinets and in bookshelves, accents lights are ideal for emphasising exterior home architectural features in the landscape and in outdoor areas such as near pools and alfresco, as well.


Task Lighting is lighting that focuses on a specific area to make completion of visual tasks simpler and is easier on the eye, it also reduces the amount of overall demands of lighting within your home by effectively placing the light directly where it is needed.

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There is a wide range of task lighting to choose from that are purpose designed according to the specific requirement, like the Equipoise Task Lamp by Superlux – I don’t do anything on my computer without this lamp on.


Often, I have clients using standard bedside lamps to read by, proper task lighting is very important and often overlooked, but if you choose wisely your eyes will thank you.

Are you still confused about the lighting types and where best to use them?

I suggest you speak to a qualified lighting consultant before you commit to any interior decorating or construction projects.


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