3 Essential Lighting Types for Your Space

There are three basic types of lighting that work together to light your home, general ambient lighting, task lighting and decorative accent lighting.


Lighting is an essential element to a room design. There are three basic types of lighting that work together to light your home;

  1. General ambient lighing
  2. Task lighting
  3. Accent lighting

Use different lighting types in combination with the room’s natural light to eliminate dark corners and set the right mood in your home.

Here is a brief guide that will help you figure out how to incorporate lighting to improve your home’s functionality in daily activities, and make your artwork or architectural details shine.

The main categories of lighting include general ambient lighting that will illuminate the whole room. The task lighting is the direct light you use for reading, preparing meals, or desk work. The decorative accent lighting creates ambiance and highlight specific objects in a space.

Layered throughout a room the lighting types work together to achieve a rich, balanced, and flexible lighting design. Just as natural light changes throughout the day and depending on the season, your lighting scheme should also be dynamic.

Use different lighting types in combination with the room’s natural light.

General Lighting

Start with general lighting. Think of this as the first light you turn on when you walk into a room. It’s the primary source of light and provides overall illumination for the space often called ambient lighting. It’s the first layer of lighting and sets the tone of a space. That’s why it’s typically soft or diffuse, and often dimmable to accommodate day and night-time settings.

Selection of General lighting in the Northern collection
Over Me, Oslo Wood, Snowball, Tradition, Heat, Reveal, Dahl, Say My Name

Although it provides general illumination, ambient light is not ideal for task work or to showcase specific elements in a space, which are the role of the next two types of lighting.

Task Lighting

Include task lighting. This direct illumination is ideal for detailed task work, such as reading and writing at a desk, dining, and preparing food. It’s focused on the area where the task is performed and is brighter than ambient lighting.

Task lighting is key in the kitchen, where under-cabinet lighting or pendants increase visibility on countertops and food preparation areas. Table and floor lamps provide useful task lighting in living areas and bedrooms

Selection of task lighting in the Northern collection

Blush, Birdy, Salto, Balancer, Me, Dokka, Acorn, Buddy, Gear

Accent Lighting

Add accent lighting. Accent lighting draws attention to a specific object or area, and can also be used to highlight artwork, the lamp itself, furnishings, or architectural details, converting them into focal points. Accent lighting creates an inviting ambience while brightening dark corners or walls.

Selection of accent lighting in the Northern collection
Ombre, Glint, Butterfly, Ink

A good lighting plan combines all three types to light an area, according to function and style.