Home Improvements

How to Use Different Types of Lighting

Figuring out how to set up the lighting in your house isn’t as easy as you might think. There are a few different types of lighting, and based on what you’re using the lights for, it’s going to change which type you use. 

The first step is knowing about the different types of lighting that exist. The second step is knowing how to use them. 

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Types of Lighting

There are four main types of lighting. Each of these lighting types are designed to serve different purposes, which is why you’ll end up using them differently. 

Ambient lighting is also sometimes called central lighting. This is a singular light source that is designed to light up a room evenly, usually from a fixture in the centre of the room. Smaller fixtures scattered uniformly across the ceiling are also a form of ambient lighting, since the goal is to create the same amount of light throughout the room. 

Task lighting is smaller, brighter lights that light up a designated area to make completing a task easier. These would be lights like desk lamps or bedside lamps. 

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Accent lighting is lighting that creates a specific desired effect, usually drawing attention to something. The fixtures above paintings are examples of accent lighting. 

Decorative lighting is, as it sounds, purely decorative. This lighting is usually not the main source of light, and does not serve to accent another feature. These could be small lamps that do not add to the lighting of the room, but create pops of colour, like fairy lights.

When it comes to security lighting, it’s slightly different to how we use the other kinds of lighting. For security purposes, all lighting is a combination of task and ambient lighting. 

types of lighting article image - several strings of fairy lights draped across a space

Using Different Types of Lighting

The best way to use these types of lighting is by thinking about the purpose of the lighting in each room. Every room will need some kind of ambient lighting to create a base amount of light. 

For example, the kitchen will have a central light point, but specific cooking stations should probably get their own lights too. Some task lighting over your counter space and stove is always recommended. 

Living rooms and dining rooms will typically have some accent lighting. These are the rooms where you’re most likely to be entertaining guests, and where you’ll want to draw the eye to showcase your belongings. 

Bedrooms are most likely to have additional decorative lighting to match the room’s style and aesthetic. But it’s a good idea to make sure there’s some task lighting available around nightstands and makeup tables. 

types of lighting article image - dark room with a few accent lights in purple and pink colours

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I use the same room for a few things, like working from home out of my bedroom?

There are a few ways you can manipulate lighting to work for you in cases like this. The simplest thing to do is have your ambient lighting for the main room, and then task lighting for specific functions you might need. 

But if this isn’t an option, you can instead focus on increasing the light from your ambient lighting, so you don’t need the task lighting. 

types of lighting article image - dark blue wall with a single yellow light illuminating the centre of the image

Should I use warm or cool light?

Cool lighting will give you a more modern look, while warmer, yellow lights offer a softer and more conventional “glow” for your home. Which type you choose is purely up to you, although there are some studies that suggest that you avoid cool lighting in your bedroom as the blue light can affect your circadian rhythm.

Can you mix warm and cool lights in a room?

It’s your home; you can do whatever you want! Mixing warm and cool lights can actually be helpful in areas like a kitchen. During the day, you can use warm lights since you’ll also be getting a bit of sunlight, and at night you can switch to cool lights for greater clarity.

types of lighting article image - external shot of a house with lights in the garden and around the porch

What are the types of security lighting?

There are a few popular types of security lighting. The most popular are motion sensor flood lights and permanent fixtures. 

Motion sensor lights are a great option for outside areas. That way they aren’t on all the time, but they provide light to identify whatever is in its capture area. Motion sensor lights are usually small flood lights, so they create more than enough light to see what is going on. 

Permanent light fixtures outside can also work as security lights. Having a light fixture outside and above your doors means you can see if someone is attempting to get in. If you have security cameras, these pair well with those, as they provide light for the camera to capture the scene. 

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Knowing the Types of Lighting in Your Home

There is a lot of room to play around with lighting in your home. The key is knowing about the types of lighting. Identify the purpose of the lighting you need, and consider your options. This way, you’ll settle on something that works for you. 

And don’t limit yourself by only considering the lighting options you currently have. If you want to rewire some of the electric lines in your house, that’s no problem! Hire an electrician to help you out.

You’re in good company