If you’re wondering what’s trending now – layered lighting is all the rage. In 2023, we’re saying goodbye to harsh overhead lights. This year, interior designers are embracing layered lighting, which combines multiple types of fixtures to enhance functionality and set an intentional mood. Imagine a combination of under-cabinet, task, and ambient lighting in your kitchen. You could use the brighter lights during breakfast to jump-start your day, then switch to the softer lights at night to wind down with an evening cup of tea.

Layer Your Lighting

Layering your lighting sources is the best way to achieve quality lighting. The easiest way to have layered lighting is to use all three types of lighting – amb ient, accent, and task. Designers recommend applying ambient, accent and task lighting where you can while cautioning you not to force using all three into spaces where it’s not necessary. Layered lighting is achieved when the entirety of the room has an overall glow without daunting shadows, and there are pops of interest from beautiful fixtures or the brightness and shape of the glow. The three types can often be overlapped but it’s important not to confuse them.  For instance, you can use recessed lighting to provide an overall glow while the ceiling chandelier doubles as a decorative element and assists in the ambient lighting.  An elegant white table lamp serves as a nice decorative piece against the darker walls while also providing  necessary task lighting for reading.

The Three Different Kinds of Lighting

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is also known as general lighting, as it gives the room an overall glow, essentially doing the job that sunlight does during the day. Nice, full ambient lighting is attained by well-spaced recessed or down lights, or a well-selected surface-mounted fixture.

A common issue in older homes is that they often have less fixtures. The quick fix is to light a room using only task lighting (lighting which focuses on a very specific, small area). This may get the job done in certain spots of the room, but leaves many dark corners and makes the room feel much smaller than it really is.  Unfortunately, many people stop with their ambient light, not bothering to add other layers of light. This really makes a difference in the evenings when natural light is scarce, and happens to be when most people are actually spending time in their homes.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is the decorative touch that gives a room its polished look. Selecting and installing accent lighting is an important way to add beauty and visual interest to your home. It is the lighting that highlights the focal points in a room . . . there’s nothing that says “focus on this thing” better than a direct beam of light! As in a well-constructed painting, accent lighting draws the eye where you want it to go. This visual interest can come from an attractive fixture or directional ceiling or wall lights. For example, a chandelier can provide an accent over a dining table while down lights can illuminate something of interest like a piece of art or a decorative cabinet.

Task Lighting

Lastly there is task lighting. Task lighting is just what it sounds like – a focused light that’s great for putting a bright spotlight on an area used for a particular task. Common examples of task lighting are the lamp located next to a reading spot and a desk lamp. Task lights are most commonly used in living spaces like a living or family room with a floor or table lamp.  It’s also very important in places like a kitchen or laundry room. Under-cabinet lights are handy for these utility -related tasks and areas. Task lighting is very important for your vision and helping to maintain healthy eyes and preventing eye strain.

It’s what’s trending now – layered lighting! It’s one of those things that is so subtle, yet when you’re in a poorly lit room, you certainly realize the struggle. If you’re thinking of updating your home’s lighting, feel free to reach out to me here to find out what home projects will pay off when it comes to resale. I invite you to connect with me on Facebook and Instagram as well.