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Dining setting with a modern white table, green velvet chairs, and a striking gold chandelier with textured glass shades.

A Guide To Layering Light At Home

More goes into lighting a home than you might think, particularly if you’re trying to plan a dynamic, multi-functional space. Just as mixed textures, colours and materials create a successful interior design scheme, an effective lighting design depends on using a variety of light sources.

Whether it’s highlighting a collection of paintings in your sitting room or providing illumination so you can read into the early hours, combining light sources – layering them – is the best way to meet a room’s lighting needs.

The three layers:

Lighting layers are generally split into three: ambient, task, and accent lighting. Each serves a different but equally important function.

Ambient lighting is the general light that helps you navigate the room. In most homes it’s the light that is turned on when you flick the main switch - a central pendant above a kitchen island or a decorative chandelier in a living space. Consider ambient lighting as the base layer within your room; upon this you should layer task and accent lighting to complete the scheme.

Task lighting serves a more specific purpose and is the most practical type of lighting source. It could be anything from a desk lamp so you can see your laptop to a floor lamp positioned behind a chair to create a cosy spot to curl up in with a book. Before deciding what task lighting to include within your interior, you should highlight the key activities that take place in each room.

Accent lighting is the final layer – but not one to be overlooked. It’s used to punctuate a room and draw attention to features, such as highlighting a piece of artwork with a well-positioned picture light or using wall lights to draw the eye to a focal fireplace. Accent lighting really comes into its own at night when you want to create a cosy atmosphere.

How to tie it all together

Using ambient, task and accent lighting together can create a balanced room whilst also allowing you to emphasize certain aspects of the space. Once you have decided on what lights you are going to use, there are two more elements need to be taken into consideration.

Firstly, consider the use of lighting controls. Ideally, factoring all three types of lighting on separate circuits will enable you to have a flexible lighting scheme. This way, you’ll be able to control ambient, task, and accent lighting independently so you can adjust the mood of the room throughout the day.

Finally, the choice of lightbulbs you use will have a big impact on how your layered lighting will look. In general, warm bulbs are a safe bet for the home and usually the most popular – so look for Kelvin ratings around 2,700K. Avoid using different light temperatures within one space otherwise the layers will clash.

Now you know how to create your lighting scheme, shop our Layered Lighting Collection, a curated selection of products that incorporate the three layers of light.

Find more inspiration by discovering our complete product range