How the 3 Types of Lighting Work Together

Incandescent light bulb goes offThere are three types of interior lighting that can work together in order to illuminate an area depending on the style and function. This concept of illumination is often called layering. These types are ambient (top), task (middle) and accent (bottom). The type of lamp, fixture and amount of light can vary depending on whether it is supplying ambient, task or accent lighting.

Three Types of Interior Lighting

Ambient or top illuminations provide overall light to the space. It is also known as general lighting and it radiates a comfortable level of light without glare. It is not harsh and yet it fills a room with enough balanced lighting, so you can move safely. For some commercial applications, it is a best practice to have a central source of ambient light in all rooms. In spaces like a laundry room, ambient light may serve as a source of task lighting.

Task or middle lighting provides auxiliary illumination for specific tasks whether it be eating, assembling a product, or performing surgery. When designing a lighting system, It is important that task lighting does not create a glare or shadows while being bright enough to avoid eyestrain. This light style can be provided by recessed, track lighting, or pendant lighting but also with floor and desk lamps.
Accent or bottom lighting provides a focal point of illumination that highlights, features or even adds drama to a space. In a hospital setting, for example, you may use accent lighting in a lobby or waiting room bringing attention to plants, artwork, or other decorative items. In order to be effective, accent lighting requires at least three times as much light on the focal point.

A layered approach to lighting is as applicable to industrial and commercial designs as it is residential applications. There are a wide variety of applications in commercial and industrial lighting from a corporate headquarters to a shop floor, so implementing a layered design will take many forms depending upon your needs.