Different Types of Lighting for Your Home

Updated on June 27, 2020
lindacee profile image

Linda is a seasoned writer and home-decorating authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.

This guide will break down the main different types of interior lighting for your home.
This guide will break down the main different types of interior lighting for your home. | Source

The need for lighting in the home is pretty obvious—it prevents you from bumping around in the dark—but it also plays a starring role in your interior design plans. When building, remodeling or redecorating, don’t throw in lighting as an afterthought—give it the same importance you would paint, furniture, fabrics, flooring and accessories.

Using a variety of lighting can completely change the look and feel of a room. Understanding the different types of interior lighting will help you create a beautiful and well-balanced lighting scheme in your home.

Ambient

Ambient lighting is all-purpose or general lighting. It provides an even distribution of light throughout a space. Ambient light can emanate from recessed ceiling fixtures or can come from several sources from around a room, like chandeliers, sconces or ceiling fans.

General lighting is perfect for functions like a cocktail party or more mundane activities like house cleaning. If you want to set a particular mood, don’t rely on ambient lighting alone—it’s kind of cold and impersonal on its own. Consider using another type of light to warm things up.

I recommend using the following light fixtures to create ambient illumination:

  • Chandeliers
  • Pendants
  • Recessed Can Lights
  • Track Lighting
  • Ceiling Flush Mounts

Ambient lighting is an important concept in a space.
Ambient lighting is an important concept in a space. | Source

Task

Task lighting turns a beam of light onto the task at hand, whether it be kitchen prep, reading or computer work. Task lighting alone might be too intense for some. Reduce contrast and glare by adding an ambient light source to the mix.

Task lighting can be anything from over-island pendants to clip lights and under-cabinet fixtures to floor lamps. Task lighting cuts down on eye strain and increases visual clarity when reading small print or doing close work.

I recommend using these fixtures to create task lighting:

  • Pendants
  • Swing Arm Lamps
  • Bathroom Vanity Wall Lights
  • Under-Counter Kitchen Lighting

These are installed on the underside of the cabinets. They are ideal for illuminating countertops and prep areas.
These are installed on the underside of the cabinets. They are ideal for illuminating countertops and prep areas. | Source

Natural

Believe it or not, natural daylight is an integral part of your home’s lighting plan. Whether you realize it or not, the sun changes the way your home looks throughout the course of the day.

Even on rainy days, light from the outside comes in through French doors, windows and skylights and affects the colors and mood of your interior spaces. Natural light is a great substitute for ambient light on bright, sunny days. However, once the sun goes down, you’re back to relying on man-made light sources.

I recommend using these sources of natural lighting:

  • Direct Sunlight
  • External Reflection
  • Skylights
  • Tubular Light Tubes
  • Large Picture Windows

Sunlight is extremely healthy, and natural light provides a sense of daylight illumination.
Sunlight is extremely healthy, and natural light provides a sense of daylight illumination. | Source

Accent

If you're looking to create a sensual bedroom, a softly lit soffit or a highlighted wall niche, accent lighting is the real mood creator. It is used to emphasize artwork, architectural features or plant foliage.

When used in conjunction with ambient light, accent lighting can create a relaxed mood or play up a fabulous wall color. Choose from brass picture lights, rope lighting, uplights, LED pucks or an ordinary table lamp to add atmosphere or drama to the proceedings.

I recommend using the following lights to create accent lighting:

  • Wall Sconce Lights
  • Art Display Lighting
  • Rope Lighting
  • Uplights

Accent lighting focuses on a particular area or object, sometimes to highlight art and artifacts.
Accent lighting focuses on a particular area or object, sometimes to highlight art and artifacts. | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Linda Chechar

Start a Conversation!

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    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      12 days ago from Arizona

      Thanks Liz! Glad you liked these basic types of light sources.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      13 days ago from UK

      I really appreciate the way that you have structured this article and broken down the different lighting categories. It has made me consider lighting in a different way and the break down makes a lot of sense.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      2 weeks ago from Arizona

      Inspiredbro, are interior lights are accent illumination in designs.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      2 weeks ago from Arizona

      Linda, the three basic types of lighting that work lighting in your home for ambient, task and accents.

    • Inspiredbro profile image

      Inspiredbro 

      2 weeks ago

      Surely gona try the accent one. Nice information about writing .

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an informative article. I haven't thought much about lighting before. I turn on the room lights if I can't see something properly, but that's all I do with respect to lights in my home. You've given me some interesting things to think about! Thanks, Linda.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      2 weeks ago from Arizona

      Pamela, glad you enjoyed the interior lighting types. Thanks that you read this article.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      This is an interesting article about lighting in a home. I appreciate all this information, Linda.

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