A good lighting system in your home can serve a larger purpose than simply lending practicality and providing visibility. Layered lighting is a great way to create visual interest in your space, while also highlighting and boosting the appearance of your existing decor.
A key step in creating a comprehensive layered lighting look is understanding the composition. Layered lighting involves combining these three elements: ambient, accent and task lighting.
Ambient lighting (also referred to as general lighting) typically provides a comfortable level of general illumination of a space. Most ambient light sources are ceiling mounted. Think: chandeliers, pendants and down lights. Ambient lighting is your base lighting. It is necessary, but generally lights without much flare or excitement.
Accent lighting adds intrigue and drama to your lighting compilation. The purpose of accent lighting is to highlight specific features in a space, like artwork or interesting structural elements. Track lighting and spotlights are examples of accent lighting.
Task lighting lends function and practicality to your space. Ultimately, your task lighting fixture should provide concentrated light where it serves a specific purpose, like over your diner table or beside your bed. Think of reading lamps and shelf lighting. Task lighting can be integrated into your general lighting system or can come in the form of portable fixtures.