You are currently viewing 03 THREE LAYERS OF LIGHTING – ACCENT, AMBIENT AND TASK
three-layers-of-lighting-northerncult-blog

03 THREE LAYERS OF LIGHTING – ACCENT, AMBIENT AND TASK

  • Post category:Lighting

While considering three layers of lighting or typesof lighting, which are Accent, Ambient, and Task Lighting, First of all, a room can serve multiple purposes so let’s start with one room that can serve multiple purposes. It can be a place where you can relax, work on the computer, do arts and crafts, cook, share a meal with friends, and much more. This is why lighting features need to correspond to the setting or application of the room.

Of course, you’ll want to think about the look and feel of lighting fixtures too — perhaps matching antique-style fixtures to your older home or creating a look of elegance with a crystal chandelier. But selecting the actual fixtures is secondary. First, you’ll need to create a plan that will fulfill your general lighting needs.

Interior lighting design is one of the most important interior design basics, yet it’s often the most neglected by DIY decorators. No matter how carefully you’ve furnished, arranged, and accessorized, you do not have a well-decorated home until you’ve implemented some lighting design basics.

To light your home properly, add the three layers lighting for every space include ― ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting.

“The best advice I can offer is the following: no matter what you do, or what you hope to accomplish, always install three layers of lighting in a room,” says Patricia Rizzo, of the Lighting Research Center. People often expect a single source of light to meet all their needs. Yet, each of the Basic types of lighting or three layers of lighting has a particular function to fulfill specific needs, which are:

WHAT IS LAYERED LIGHTING?

The most aesthetically pleasing and effective way to light a room is to have three layers: overall, task, and accent.

  • Overall lighting is the main illumination in a room. This will be the light above the main work or living space. The overall light could be from a chandelier, multiple pendants, recessed lights, a ceiling fan with a light, or some other main light source.
  • Task lighting is the light needed for specific tasks such as cooking, reading, applying make-up, etc. Examples of task lighting could be portable lamps, sconces next to a dressing area, and recessed lights or pendants directly over a work area.
  • Accent lighting could be toe-kick or in-cabinet lights, cove lighting, or small portable lamps.

Depending on where and how some fixtures are used, they could be any type of lighting. For example, pendants might be considered overall lighting or task lighting, even accent if small and in a corner. The important thing is to layer the lighting so that appropriate illumination can be achieved for the activity taking place.

THREE LAYERS OF LIGHTING ARE

  • AMBIENT LIGHTING
  • ACCENT LIGHTING
  • TASK LIGHTING
three-layers-of-lighting-ambient-lighting,-accent-lighting,-northerncult-blog

AMBIENT LIGHTING

Most people understand the need for ambient lighting, but too many stop there. Ambient lighting is just the base, upon which you must add the other two layers of lighting. General or ambient lighting is intended to light up a room in its entirety. It provides a uniform level of illumination throughout the space independently of other lighting sources.

Moreover, its purpose is to ensure safe and easy traffic, as well as to create an overview of the room. The ambient light ‘bounces’ off the walls to illuminate as much space as possible.

Types of Ambient indoor lighting fixtures :

  • Chandelier
  • Ceiling mounted fixture
  • Wall-mounted fixture
  • Traditional recessed fixtures and/or LED downlights
  • Track light
  • Floor lamp
  • Table lamp

Ambient Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is usually installed in order to ensure visibility and increase security around a building. It is also recommended to light up the exterior of the building, entrances, and stairs to reduce and perhaps eliminate the risk of injury that can occur when entering and leaving the building.

To learn more about outdoor lighting, read our article Economical, Efficient, and Safe Outdoor Lighting

Types of ambient outdoor lighting fixtures :

  • Spotlight
  • Hanging fixture
  • Garage and canopy lighting
  • Post lantern
  • Wall lighting
  • The recessed fixture used in overhanging structures

TASK LIGHTING

Next in our list of three layers of lighting is Task lighting illuminates the tasks a person carries out in a given space such as reading, cooking, computer work. A brighter light is required in a smaller focal point of the room for these sorts of tasks.

For a more pleasant illumination, it is often best to avoid harsh lights or lighting that casts troublesome shadows. It is also practical to install a single switch for focal lighting, independent from the room’s overall lighting switch.

Types of Task Lighting fixtures:
  • Directional gimbal recessed fixture or downlight
  • Pendant lighting
  • Slimline bar and undercabinet
  • Tape and extrusion
  • Portable or desk lamp

ACCENT LIGHTING

Accent lighting is used mainly to focus on a specific point of interest or to achieve the desired effect. This type of lighting gives the impression of a larger room. It is more frequently used to highlight an architectural feature, a plant (in outdoor layout), a sculpture, or a collection of objects.

Some people think of accent lighting as mood lighting, and it is, but it’s much more than that.

In addition to providing atmosphere and influencing mood, accent lighting is used to highlight architectural features and important objects, and to draw attention away from the things that aren’t as pleasing. Even though accent lighting can disguise decorating blunders, it’s the most often-forgotten of the three layers of lighting.

As a general rule, effective accent lighting requires the installation of three times more light on the focal point than ambient lighting generally provides. All these 3 layers of lighting will provide the overall visual effect to a space.

Types of Accent Lighting fixtures :
Task lighting ultmitate lighting guide for living room lighting

Here are some FAQ's and answers about layers of lighting.

What are the 3 layers of lighting?

Ambient lighting is intended to light up a room in its entirety that provides a uniform level of illumination throughout the space independently of other lighting sources.

Accent lighting is used mainly to focus on a specific point of interest or to achieve the desired effect. This type of lighting gives the impression of a larger room mainly used to highlight an architectural feature, a plant (in outdoor layout), a sculpture, or a collection of objects.

Task lighting illuminates the tasks a person carries out in a given space such as reading, cooking, task lighting can help target the main active zones of the bedroom such as the reading chair or vanity area.

What is layered lighting?

Layering lighting is a concept of using a variety of different lighting techniques within a single space at the same time. Doing so successfully will provide depth and character to space, making it more pleasing visually and inviting to be in.

Each singular lighting technique will illuminate a particular zone or feature, but combined together, the final result is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

What are the 4 types of lighting?

Ambient, Task, Accent, and Feature Lighting are the four main types of lighting

What is feature lighting?

Feature lighting refers to lighting that gives the space personality and identity. Feature lighting can refer to the fitting itself which makes the statement whether on or off. Using a pendant in the center of the bedroom can add to comfort levels and make the bedroom feel cozier the pendant can be in the same soft and diffuse aesthetic vein as your table or floor lamps

In short

While starting a lighting design with these three types of lighting, we often start designing lighting plan with ambient lighting and then go on to identifying the areas where there will be a need for accent lighting. When selecting the three layers of lighting you will use in your situation, it is generally better to go from generic to specific.

However, when multiple specific tasks are performed in a room (a jewelry store, for example) or when there are several points to highlight (such as a museum or an art gallery), it is best to start a lighting plan with accent lighting. Therefore, it is essential to know the purpose of a room before starting the development!

If you need help designing your lighting plan (commercial or industrial), call our project department. Our experts will provide free energy audits, fixtures, and a solution with three layers of lighting to improve it. Also apart from these three layers of lighting, we have feature lighting which can be covered as a separate topic.

Feature lighting can come in all shapes and sizes but the key is to create a focal point in the room. A great way to do this is to bring a new finish or color into the existing scheme. Read more about choosing the right color temperature and types of light fixtures and where can we use it in our detailed blog. 

Shop all modern lights for modern and contemporary Lighting to match your style and budget from Northerncult shop. Enjoy Free Shipping on most stuff, even big stuff. And the good news is now you can contact us directly and let sit together if you need any customization, our design team will be happy to help you out. Just drop a line with the product details to our email inbox : [email protected]