A guide to layering light

Asco Lights Online Virtual room demonstrating the use and effects of all lighting products both architectural and decorative for various scenes which can be applied to domestic/ residential settings or commercial

Understanding how to layer light is the key to any great home lighting design. In this article we will discuss the importance of layering light, the different functions, how to apply layering light techniques to your favourite room and the inspiration you may need to help create a true sense of atmosphere in your home.

You may well be wondering ‘what is  layering Light?’

To understand how to answer this question we must discuss layering light and the three main types of lighting: ambient, task and accent.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is the basic general illumination of a room. For example, in most homes this is the light that comes on from the flick of the main switch. From Pendants to Floor Lamps, Chandeliers to wall mounted lights, all can contribute to ambient lighting.

Task lighting

Secondly, we have task lighting. Often task lighting refers to increasing light to better accomplish a specific activity. For instance a table lamp will help you to see the newspaper as you flick through, or a desk lamp will allow you to see your keyboard. However task lighting isn’t restricted to light for functionality. Lighting design, or layering, means you can use task lights in conjunction with ambient and accent light to create an overall effect.

Accent lighting

Accent lighting focuses light on a particular area or object and is used to highlight art or other artifacts. Accent lighting is not just restricted to the interior. It can also be used outdoors as guides for pathways or to spotlight garden art. Accent lighting is for aesthetic purposes and can be referred to as  ‘directional light’ and can be provided by picture lights, well positioned lamps, LED tape and recessed downlight’s.

Now you have an idea of the different types of lighting and how can apply them, i’m sure you’re after some more tips and tricks on how to really make the most of layering light.


Lighting layers can be seen within this meeting room to great effect.

Tips for layering light

When you consider the three main types of lighting this will help in your understanding of how to balance your layers of light for an overall look and feel. Once you’ve decided your layers and installed your various lights and lamps investing in a central control device for switching and dimming could be a good idea. In many systems you can preset  ‘scenes’ that can be activated at the push of a button. To be able to enhance and modify the lighting structure further is only a positive.

When it comes to interior design Lamps are your secret weapon. Lamps can be used for all three kinds of light. For Instance, a floor lamp can be used as a source for ambient light, task lighting for reading or accent light if positioned under a particular feature. Lamps are also extremely versatile being easily portable. A great example of how versatile lamps can be is seen with the Anglepoise lamp, adjustable for all three kinds of light.

Often over-looked but extremely important is natural light. Don’t forget to take account of the natural light in a room when designing your layers. Whether a lack of or plenty of natural light, this must be factored in to truly maximise the lighting structure.

Here at Asco Lights we’ve have plenty of lighting solutions to help you create all three types of lighting. Create a real sense of ambiance and more. Browse our lighting collection here…

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