Lighting 101: The 3 Types of Lighting Fixtures and Where Best to Use Them

March 7, 2018



Denny Mata

While there is a long list of fixtures of different shapes and sizes, there’s an easy way to differentiate them so you can easily figure out which fixture to use where. Let’s group them into three, according to their purpose: ambient, accent, and task.

Ambient Light

Also referred to as mood lighting, ambient light is for providing an even, overall light to a space. This is so that people easily and safely see and move throughout the room. It also creates a relaxing and light atmosphere minus the harsh glare. The light from fixtures with this purpose creates a soft glow that is almost similar to the “natural light” in photography, except that it is made by making the light as natural and flat as possible.

Fixtures you can use:

Chandelier and other ceiling-mounted fixtures, wall-mounted fixtures, recessed fixtures and downlight, track light, floor lamp, and table lamp

Areas to use this light:

Living room, kitchen, den, bath, bedroom

Accent Light

The concentrated light from accent lighting is used to create different focal points. Aside from helping illuminate the pieces you want to display, this type of lighting create a sophisticated atmosphere, style, and drama in your home. This lighting also makes a small space seem larger, and is frequently used to highlight an architectural feature, a plant, or a collection of objects.

Fixtures you can use:

Track light, directional recessed fixture or downlight, wall-mounted fixtures

Areas to use this light:

Gallery, bookcase displays. For homes, use it in the exterior to enhance the general architecture of your place

Task Light

The most concentrated among the three, task lighting is used when performing specific tasks or projects. Also referred to as “office lighting,” this type of lighting helps you to be more alert and concentrated when working. It allows you to see more details.

Fixtures you can use:

Directional recessed fixture or downlight, pendant lighting, portable or desk lamp

Areas to use this light:

Reading or writing nook, arts and crafts area, computer desk

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