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  • Writer's pictureHeather Holcombe

The Importance of Lighting

Lights by Visual Comfort

What can I say about lights? Obviously, you need them in your home for practical purposes. Yet, they also are an important design element that can be critical to the overall look of a room, so they shouldn't be treated as an afterthought. Let's launch right into defining lighting types, followed by why they're important.

Types of Lighting:

There are three basic types of lighting:

1. Ambient/General Lighting: This type of light is a necessary part of any room or space and provides sufficient light so you can see and move around. Ambient light can also be task lighting. More specifically, ambient lights can be:

  1. recessed cans

  2. chandeliers

  3. track lights

  4. pendants

  5. overhead fixtures

  6. table or floor lamp

2. Accent Lighting: Accent lights can supplement ambient lighting - an added layer of lighting. Accent lights can create a focal point in a room or even on an exterior to focus on architectural details. Accent lights include picture lights, sconces, recessed or track lighting, and exterior lights.

3. Task Lighting: Task lighting is directed light to areas where tasks or work is done. A good example of it is undercabinet lighting in a kitchen. It can be fixed or adjustable. The purpose of the task and even its user will influence what type of task lighting is selected.

In many ways, task lights are the most technically challenging of the three types of lights. Picking the wrong one could mean insufficient lighting.

The Importance of Good Lighting:

Selecting the correct lights for a home can take time, even if you're working with a detailed lighting plan. (A lighting plan acts like a map of light placement. If you're renovating or doing a new build, a detailed lighting/electrical plan is critical.) Lights can take weeks or even months to select, depending on the complexity of your lighting plan. But it can pay off.

Here's what else you should know about lighting:


Lights are not a design element you should neglect or give little attention to. They can transform a space in several ways:

  • Lights can be the focal point of a room, such as a chandelier in a dining room.

  • They can dictate the aesthetic style of the space. For example, contemporary lights will make a room feel more modern.

  • Also, lights can have as much impact as any architectural detail.


Most of us are on a budget, so I always suggest staying within your budget. However, I do suggest buying the best quality you can afford because it really makes a difference in the overall look of a light fixture.


Lights can be replaced relatively easily, so I recommend you have fun with it and not stress over it. Selecting lights is easier, less of a commitment, and cheaper than ripping out tile or wallpaper.


If you need to select lights for the entire house, I suggest working with an interior designer or lighting specialist. We can create a lighting plan that meets your needs and budget - and will result in a beautiful home.


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