Different Types of interior lighting

Know the difference because it makes a difference to your interior

Have you ever stayed in a luxurious 5-star hotel and wonder why the room felt so relaxed, so therapeutic and so.... transported into another world? Have you ever wished that your living space would produce the same effect?

If your answer is yes, then read on to find out the different types of interior lighting and how it enhances the look and feel of your home.


Different types of interior lighting

Top end luxury hotels engaged interior designers to lavishly deck up their rooms.

And aside from the choice of furnishing, the placement of different types of lights plays a crucial role when decorating.

A little-known fact is the use of different layers of lighting to achieve such an desired effect.

If you are keen to create the same effect for your home, you are in the right place. You will soon discover the secret tricks the experts are secretly using  to create such a calming effect to any room interior. 

What homeowners are guilty of

But first, did you know that most homeowners would spend an enormous amount of time ensuring they have chosen the coolest wall color and the coziest sofa? 

And they would spend hours researching on the finest 55" ultra high definition flat screen TV for their living room?

They would arm-wrestle, squabble and argue over the theme and designs for their kitchen cabinet. They would fight over the color scheme and tiles texture for their toilets.

And even engage in endless cold wars over whether a king size or queen size bed fits the room.  But somehow neglect to put much emphasis on the interior lighting.

For most homeowners, lighting were picked if it looks nice aesthetically and blended well with their interior designs.

However, not knowing the difference between the different types of lighting can make a lot of difference to the ambiance, look and feel of your home. 

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Different types of interior lighting

The key to creating a functional well-lit home and rooms is not to just fall back on a single type of lighting. There are generally three different types of lighting that serve different purposes. They are grouped into ambiance, accent and task lighting.  And you usually want to have all three layers present in most of your rooms.

Also, you might also like to find out what we think is the top three mistake owners make when decorating their interior. Are you guilty of any of them?

Ambient lighting

Ambient lighting

Ambient lightings, also known as background lighting, provide the room with an overall uniform layer of illumination. These form of light serves to enhance the room with a comfortable level of brightness without glare.

It's the most basic of the 3 types. The most common ambient lighting are ceiling fixtures, track or recessed lights. In the picture above, the ambient light is provided by the down-light at the ceiling.

Ambient lighting are the most commonly used lighting in our homes. However, it does not serve the purpose of highlighting or showcasing an area of the home. Nor does it functions particularly well when working closely on activities like reading. 

Accent lighting

Accent lighting

Accent lights add interest to a particular area or give added dimensions to the room design. It's typically used to highlight certain objects or architectural features, such as houseplants, paintings, sculpture, or carved cabinet doors.

The rule of thumb for accent lighting. It should always be about three times the general illumination level. Accent lighting should never be the focal point and instead meant to work without being seen. Accent lighting can be provided by recessed and track lighting, chandelier with dimmer switches, or wall sconces.

Task lighting

Task lighting directs light for specific everyday tasks like reading. It's used to enhance visual clarity and prevent eyestrain. If you like to read books on the sofa, you'll want to invest in a lavishly designed floor lamp or table lamp.  A good task lighting should be free of distracting glare and shadows.

An example of a task lighting would be an adjustable arm task light. Such lighting enable the user maximum control over the intensity and proximity of the light towards a specific area. 

In the above example, task lighting was used on a kitchen top work area. If you are someone who spend a significant amount of time working in the kitchen, then task lighting is essential.

Adding the three layers of lighting

Using the kitchen as an example, let's consider the three layers of lighting to make any kitchen look warm and desirable. The first layer would be the ambient light, which could be ceiling lights, down lights or pendant lights.

The second layer would be accent lights. This could be lights to showcase a certain art piece or pottery. It can also be used for your custom cabinetry. As we spend more time entertaining and casual dining in open concept kitchens, accent lights can add depth and character to any kitchen.

The third layer would be task lights. This works well on worktops, kitchen sink or stove areas. The three layers of kitchen lights will complement each other and offers you and your guests a great experience always.

So unless you have a very small kitchen area, you should always consider adding multiple layers of lights in your kitchen. Just like any other functional rooms in the home.


Armed with an understanding of these three basic types of lighting, you can have tons of options and combinations for your interior lighting. Play around with different light fixtures to create a unique backdrop for your home and you will be surprised to see the huge difference it can make. 

You may also want to find out more about the importance of lighting in your living hereAnd as long as you consciously employ the use of different layers of lighting in any room, you can now have the same effect as a luxurious 5-star hotel room right in your home.