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The Three Layers of Interior Lighting | Lighting Design Store

The Three Layers of Interior Lighting

Did you know that there are three main layers of lighting that a designer considers when lighting a space? 

These three layers of lighting are known as ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Using these three types of lighting in conjunction with other design elements can better ensure a harmonious and well-presented space.

Ambient Lighting 

Ambient lighting is perhaps the most used layer of interior lighting. It is often referred to as “general lighting” because it provides a space with an overall level of illumination. This allows one to see, perform basic tasks and navigate a space safely.

Common fixtures that provide task lighting include chandeliers, recessed lighting, ceiling-mounted fixtures, sconces, and floor lamps.

Task Lighting

As the name suggests, task lighting can be implemented to better help one perform specific tasks such as reading, grooming, studying, preparing a meal, or working. Think of the lamp atop your desk, the pendant over your kitchen island, or the vanity light above your bathroom mirror. 

Task lighting can be used in conjunction with ambient lighting to create dimension in a space. Or, it can be used alone to filter out distractions while performing a particular task.

In any case, task lighting should provide a greater level of illumination over your task space than ambient lighting otherwise would alone.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting, or design lighting, is the third layer of lighting in a space. It can be used to call attention to another object, create drama, or add a third level of desired dimension to a space.

For example, many choose to highlight an art piece by positioning a bright light above the piece. Some, on the other hand, will choose to position accent lighting in such a way that their space will be perceived as larger or taller. 

Rather than just illuminating another statement piece, fixtures themselves can be used as a decorative statement in a space. This is also considered to be accent lighting.

As a general rule of thumb, accent lighting should be at least three times brighter than the space’s ambient light in order to achieve its purpose.

Thank you Kichler for the great visuals!


If you have any questions or need help lighting your space, contact us or schedule a FREE consultation!

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