Lighting 101 - A Lesson in Lighting

Confused about lighting your room? Lighting is one of the most important aspects of successful interior design.  Lighting can establish a mood, focus attention, and create illusion.  Light affects all other elements and how we feel about themThe quality, quantity, and color of light affects the way we see our surroundings.

Lighting affects how we see color.  Depending on the type of lighting used, color can significantly change.  Remember to view colors in both the natural and artificial light of a room. 

Take advantage of natural lighting whenever you can.  Natural lighting provides energy savings and reveals true colors.

Incorporate the following three types of lighting in your space. One lighting source is not sufficient in a space. All three types of lighting work together in a home.

  1. Ambient or general lighting
  2. Task lighting
  3. Accent lighting

By layering all three types of lighting, you will have a successful design.


Ambient lighting is the general lighting that lights up your room.  It's basically the light that allows you to move around safely in a space.  Ambient lighting consists of ceiling fixtures, chandeliers or recessed lighting.  Having a central source of ambient light in all rooms is fundamental to a good lighting plan.

In this beautiful Tuscan style kitchen designed by Designer Chantal Devane, ambient lighting is accomplished through the recessed cans found on the ceiling.


Task lighting is used when performing work-related activities.  Task lighting helps you perform specific tasks, such as reading, grooming, preparing food, doing homework, working on hobbies, and playing games.

In this workspace, these lovely pendants provide ample task lighting to get the job done.

 In this beautiful kitchen, task lighting is provided by undercabinet lighting.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting adds drama to a room by creating visual interest and brings attention to items such as artwork.
Notice how the artwork is accented by the use of track lighting.

Light Layering


An effective way to maximize the appearance and functionality of any space is to light in layers.
By using multiple light sources you can help balance a room by minimizing glare and shadows, while adding depth and dimension.

This kitchen is a great example of light layering.
Our original kitchen is a great example of light layering, using ambient (recessed), task (undercabinet) and decorative (pendants) lighting.
Some final lighting advice:
  1. Take advantage of natural light whenever possible.
  2. Start with general lighting; it is inexpensive and easy to build on.
  3. Add layers to add drama and style.
Confused about what type of bulb to buy? I'll answer that in a future blog.

Thanks for stopping by...
Until next time,