The 4 Main Types of Lighting and How Best to Use Them in Your Home

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of interior design and plays a key part in home decor. It’s much more than an accessory and can completely change the atmosphere of a room, and even make small spaces seem larger.

The right lighting illuminates the interior design and highlights your home’s best features. There are four main types of lighting – ambient, task, accent, and decorative.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is the general lighting that’s used to evenly light up a room. This could be natural light from windows, or overhead lighting like chandeliers or track lighting. Providing a space with overall illumination and allowing you to see and move around safely, it’s the foundation for any interior lighting scheme.


  • Every room in your home
  • Towards the centre of the room
  • Closer to the ceiling to diffuse light more effectively

Task Lighting

Task lighting is used to help with specific activities, like reading, cooking or studying. It’s usually brighter than ambient lighting, and directed towards where it’s needed most. This type of lighting may come from a variety of sources, including desk or table lamps.


  • Study or office: Desk lamps
  • Kitchen: Under cabinets
  • Bedroom: Reading lamps
  • Bathroom: Vanity lighting

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is used to highlight specific features in a room, like entrances, plants, artworks or fireplaces. It can play an integral part in adding drama and character to a room.


  • Highlight and draw attention to a feature such as artwork or plants
  • Highlight architectural elements
  • As decorative lighting


Decorative Lighting

Decorative lighting is used purely for aesthetic purposes, to add an extra touch of style. It can include lighting fixtures like wall sconces, chandeliers or pendant lights.


  • In an entrance
  • Over a dining room table
  • In a living room
  • Wall sconces on either side of the bed

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When choosing lighting for a home, it’s important to consider the different functions that each room serves. For example, a home office will need brighter task lighting, while a living room might benefit from more ambient lighting to create a relaxing atmosphere.

No matter what type of lighting you choose, try to make sure to use energy-efficient bulbs to help reduce your carbon footprint. LED bulbs are a great option as they last longer and use less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs.

By carefully considering and planning the lighting in each room, you can create the perfect atmosphere for every space in your house.

If you want to talk about your interior design project then get in touch!

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