Lighting Basics

One of the most important aspects of home décor is lighting. Where you place lamps and light fixtures can make a difference in the overall feel of the room. Here are the basics for understanding different types of lighting and how to use them for maximum impact.

There are three types of lighting used in interior design. Each serves a different purpose and is created with different fixtures.

Ambient Light
Ambient light is your general area lighting. Overhead lights in a room are a type of ambient lighting. They provide a general overall light to the area.

To create ambient light use flush and semi-flush mounted light fixtures, recessed, track or rail and cable. When these types are place on the ceiling they provide a general overall lighting scheme that covers the entire area of a room.


The ambient lighting in our sample is provided by a flush mount dome ceiling lamp and radiates light throughout the room.

Task Lighting
Task lighting is the use of lights to enhance the ability to perform a certain task in the home. A desk lamp for reading or under the cabinet kitchen lights are examples of task lighting.

Task lighting for a localized task, such as working at a desk, should be adjustable. Lights on rotating arms that move left to right and up and down are the best options.


In our sample, two task lights are placed on each side of the sofa to procide light for tasks using the end tables.

Accent Lighting
Accent lights are used to create mood in a room or highlight a piece of artwork. An indoor spotlight pointing at a picture on a wall is a type of accent lighting.

If your using a painting as a focal point in a room, try using a spotlight to highlight the painting. Accent lamps can also be used to create mood in an environment. Small lamps spaced throughout a room create a subdued, relaxed environment.


The sconces in the sample room, provide mood and create focus on the painting on the wall.

Here is the sample room with our full lighting design.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *