How to Choose the Perfect Lighting

Lighting is important. Here are tips for choosing the perfect lighting for your home, from ambient to accent and everything in between!

Lighting is such an important, but often overlooked, part of your home design. Not only do you need to choose lighting fixtures to match your personal style, but you have to make sure that you are properly lighting all areas of your home for maximum functionality and safety (imagine having a poorly lit staircase -- that wouldn’t end well!).

There are many considerations when choosing lighting for your home, such as whether or not the space needs ambient lighting, task lighting, or both. You must also consider the style of your space and your desired look. Do you want a traditional space, or a more modern space? Do you want a focal piece like a chandelier, or do you want more subtle lighting like wall sconces? Do you want to draw attention to an accent like wall art?

Every room of your home has different needs when it comes to lighting. The bathroom needs adequate task lighting for your morning routine, the kitchen needs ambient and task lighting to create a beautiful and functional space… the list goes on.

Choosing the perfect lighting for your space is no easy feat, so we’ve put together some tips to light the way (see what we did there?).

Task Lighting

Task lighting is arguably the most important lighting in your home. Task lighting is direct lighting that illuminates a distinct area to help you perform a specific task. For example, you may install task lighting in your bathroom to better illuminate your face in the mirror while you shave or apply makeup. Task lighting can also be necessary in the kitchen, to light your counter space where you regularly prepare and cook food.

Task lighting can also be useful in your bedroom or living room, to illuminate a space where you will regularly be reading, writing, or performing any specific activity. Ultimately, the use of task lighting will help you perform your everyday tasks and prevent your eyes from straining and getting tired.

The photo below is a great example of task lighting at work. The table lamp seen placed next to the accent chair is positioned to illuminate the person sitting in the chair while they are reading. The placement of the table lamp is helping them perform a task, hence task lighting. As you can see, while task lighting is functional by nature, it can also be stylish and complement existing decor. Different colors, finishes, and designs are available to truly customize your space while providing much-needed light to help you complete tasks easily and safely.

Task lighting is available in a number of different styles, including:

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is lighting that illuminates the entire room. During the daylight hours, your home’s ambient lighting might simply be the natural light coming in through the windows. However, at night, on cloudy days, or in rooms with limited windows, you will need plenty of ambient light fixtures throughout your home to keep it well lit and safe. Smaller rooms could get by with one or two ambient light fixtures, like one ceiling fan light, but larger rooms like a big open foyer or living room could need several light fixtures to ensure that the entire space is lit up and everyone is able to see properly.

Large fixtures like chandeliers and large pendant lights are well suited for larger, open areas like the living room, dining room, or foyer. While these fixtures provide plenty of light to illuminate the entire space, they also serve as a decorative focal point to meld design and function into one.

Different styles of ambient lighting include:

As you can see, some styles of ambient lighting also double as task lighting. This is good because you don't want to overwhelm your space with too many different styles of lighting. The photo below features both ambient and task lighting. The large chandelier over the dining table provides lighting for the entire room (ambient), while the three pendant lights over the bar in the kitchen serve to light the countertop (task).

Accent Lighting

If you have a favorite piece of artwork on display, consider accent lighting. Accent lighting is lighting that is hung specifically to illuminate an accent, like a piece of wall art or a sculpture on a side table. Accent lighting is not used to light an entire room; think of it as a piece of artwork itself, creating visual interest in a space and drawing the eye to a focal point, like a piece of artwork or the decorative items under your kitchen cabinets. Accent lighting is a great decorative addition to a space, adding a level of depth to your decor and bringing attention to other decorative elements of the room. 

Depending on how the fixture is positioned, accent lighting can be: