Luxurious illumination: Task, accent, or ambiance lighting?

Luxurious illumination: Task, accent, or ambiance lighting?

Light is one of the most important - yet often overlooked - elements of interior design, both on aesthetic and functionality levels. It is even one of the key criteria in determining the value of a property. Before you redesign your lighting, it is worthwhile to understand the different types of lighting, their strengths and their effects, so you can best decide how to illuminate your space in the greatest and brightest way.

General lighting

Natural light is a major player in ensuring our well-being day in and day out. If natural lighting is scarce in your house, consider increasing it by using large mirrors - strategically placed across windows and by selecting furniture with reflective surfaces - metal, glass and light colours on shiny surfaces can all work. To complement natural lighting, we turn to artificial lighting.

While we need artificial lighting to simply see and function around the house, the potential of artificial lighting to transform our home experience is tremendous, and often a missed opportunity in most interiors. While there are numerous things to consider with interior lighting design, here’s one key piece of advice: never rely on just one lighting source.

Task lighting

Task lighting is essential for illuminating a certain area, or even a restricted corner, in order to complete a specific activity - or a task. Usually, task lighting can be found in offices where desk lamps are used to help you work, but also around living room sofas and couches where floor and desk lamps help you read, and of course on bedside tables for the evening wind down.

Moreover, task lighting also applies to the lighting on the mirror in the bathroom, the sink, the oven and the hot-plates in the kitchen, as its purpose is just to illuminate the space where practical daily activities like cooking take place.

task lighting

Accent lighting

On the other hand, accent lighting is a form of decorative lighting, focusing on a particular area or object in order to highlight its aesthetic, give the feeling of depth and create a pleasant atmosphere in the interior design.

Accent lighting can be created with hidden led lighting in staircases, or in ceiling corners. It is also very common to use accent lighting on shelves to illuminate books and other artefacts, and of course paintings on walls or beautiful plants around the space.

Having said all that, accent lighting is not only to shine light on beautiful objects. When done correctly, accent lighting can transform even a boring corridor into an exciting space by creating contrast between light and dark, and structure throughout the space.

Accent lighting

Ambience lighting

Ambience lighting is a form of general lighting that provides a comfortable level of illumination without too much glare. Aside from the basic lighting functionality, ambience lighting improves the sense of warmth and depth of a room or space. Although with ambience lighting you do not have to illuminate a certain restricted area, you will need to think twice about where to instal the light, the dimming and the luminaire you will choose.

Ambience lighting

Final advice

Since we said don’t rely on just one source, always consider every room and every space in terms of primary light, secondary lights and even tertiary lights. Make sure you include a dimmable optionality, and make sure your switch connections allow you to control these lights separately so you can create different lighting scenarios.

When your living room is hosting a cosy movie night, a romantic evening or your kids’ playtime on a winter Sunday afternoon, it will need very different lighting schemes for each of those scenarios. To sum it up, avoid having one light source in any given space; not only can it be tiring to the eye, but it also lacks depth and style, and in many cases, it won’t even be practical.

As light is a major interior design factor, it is best to analyse which areas of the house you wish to illuminate and for what reason. Smart task lighting, strategic accent lighting, and elegant ambience lighting should all work together to upgrade your interior and facilitate your daily activities and interactions in the most natural yet luxurious way.

Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes


Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes

Architect, author, international speaker, Founder and CEO of AKKA Architects, Stephanie is part of a new breed of young visionary architects who operate beyond the nowadays restrained realm of architecture....

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