The Fundamentals of Light Layering for Your Home

Lighting a home properly may seem not easy—but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. The secret behind a stunning, functional, and well-lit home is light layering. But what is layered lighting, and why is it important? This approach to lighting revolves around the idea that no one light source can provide adequate illumination.

What Is Layered Lighting?

Layered lighting uses three specific types of lighting: ambient light for general illumination, task lighting for workspaces, and accent lighting to highlight special features in the room. Combining these three types of lighting creates a functional and cohesive lighting design that makes a home beautiful and inviting.

First Layer: Ambient

Every room requires lighting that comfortably illuminates the entire area. This first layer is called ambient lighting and is the most common type seen in homes. It provides enough illumination for you to see to walk through a room. This type usually emanates from lighting in the center of the room, such as chandeliers and pendant lighting fixtures, as well as flush mounts and recessed lighting.

Where to place ambient lighting:

  • Every room or space in the house
  • Center of the area or room
  • Closer to the ceiling

Dolcetti 18 Inch Large Pendant by Corbett Lighting

The soft, warm ambient lighting provided by the bejeweled Dolcetti 18 Inch Large Pendant by Corbett Lighting adds an aura of luxury and sophistication to this bathroom. The weeping drop strands of mixed paisley-hued Capiz shells and crystal bring a sense of movement that completes the romantic look.


Raef 36 Inch 6 Light Chandelier by Troy Lighting

Featuring telescoping arms tipped with glass cylinders, Raef 36 Inch 6 Light Chandelier by Troy Lighting emits warm ambient light throughout this dining room, creating a sense of sublime movement. In addition to the ambient layer, this chandelier can also throw light on special features such as artwork on nearby walls.

Second Layer: Task

True to its name, this lighting layer is used over workspaces for tasks such as cooking, grooming, and reading. This layer becomes more important as the sun sets when the room is suffused with shadows that the ambient light layer has difficulty dispelling. You can also turn off the ambient lighting completely and only illuminate a specific area, such as when reading in bed. Floor lamps, table lamps, pendants, wall lights and sconces, under cabinet, and recessed lighting can all serve as this layer.

Where to place task lighting:

  • Next to the bed
  • Above the kitchen island or sink
  • Over the bathroom vanity
@andreawestdesign, photography by @nicolegerulat

Savoy House Alden 18 Inch Large Pendant

The kitchen island has become a multi-purpose workspace, where prepping food, entertaining, and doing homework often happen. A pair of Savoy House Alden 18 Inch Large Pendants provide lighting for all these tasks. Focused downlight allows you to see, and when put on a dimmer, soft light makes the area perfect for entertaining.


Otis 19 Inch Wall Sconce by Regina Andrew

Putting the right amount of light where needed, the Otis 19 Inch Wall Sconce by Regina Andrew merges modern materials with a 20th-century design for a seamlessly timeless look. It brings style, grace, and functionality to the space and supports the room’s design.

Third Layer: Accent

The last layer, accent lighting, adds the finishing touch by highlighting specific details, such as artwork or architectural features, while also creating a dramatic mood. Wall sconces, recessed lights, floor lamps, and track lighting are often used as accent lighting.

Where to place accent lighting:

  • Around architectural details
  • Above artwork
  • Inside a wall cutout
  • Over a bookcase

Alora Lighting Valise 19 Inch LED Picture and Display Light

A large foyer or entryway is a great place to make a statement with stunning artwork highlighted by the Alora Lighting Valise 19 Inch LED Picture and Display Light. The eye-catching black and white palette, spectacular artwork, and warm brass and black finish on the lighting combine to welcome guests with a bold statement.


Visual Comfort and Co. Kelly Wearstler Piel 19 Inch LED Wall Sconce

This pair of Visual Comfort and Co. Kelly Wearstler Piel 19 Inch LED Wall Sconces are the perfect frame for the artwork in this sophisticated yet comfortable living room. This beautiful room exudes a serene and soothing vibe, perfect for relaxing or entertaining.

Tyler 72 Inch Floor Lamp by Adesso

An edgy accent to any room, Tyler 72 Inch Floor Lamp by Adesso is an unusual but contemporary choice for highlighting the artwork in this space. The tall structure draws the eyes up as the adjustable lampshades and dimmer switch provide anything from task to ambient to accent lighting.

Why Is Layered Lighting Important?

Getting the lighting right in a room doesn’t just happen by itself. It needs the same effort and planning as any other factor for renovating or designing a new room. Get it right, and the home will look gorgeous. Ignore it, and there will always be something missing in the room’s design.


How Do You Create Lighting Layers for Your Home?

Layering light is all about selecting a variety of light sources and placing them in slightly different ways so that they flood the room with light.

For example, to layer light in a kitchen, you would start with beautiful chandeliers, such as the Haskell 34 Inch 8 Light Chandelier by Arteriors Home, to bring a warm glow to the kitchen. Then add Direct Wire Fluorescent 21 Inch Light Bars by Kichler Lighting under the counter for task lighting. Puck lights inside the upper cabinets highlight the architectural features of the cabinetry.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.