Unlocking the Secrets to Perfect Residential Lighting

December 7, 2023

What does the term “residential lighting” bring to your mind? If your answer is a lighting fixture, then you are wrong. Residential lighting is more than lighting the room with a beautiful lighting fixture. Nor is it about adding vivid colors to a room. Then, what exactly is residential lighting?

Residential lighting is all about crafting the right ambiance and setting the right mood for the room. It enhances the functionality of the space and creates a welcoming feel. Illuminating a room with the perfect residential lighting is crucial to creating an aesthetically pleasing room.

What are the different types of residential lights required in a house?

Gone are the days when residential lighting was all about installing one or two lights. Have you ever come across an interior with just one or two lights? The chances are very low.

Homeowners have now realized the importance of going for different types of lights to accentuate the room’s look. They no longer want the look to be plain and boring.

There are three types of residential lights that you should go for to enhance the overall look of an interior.

●     Ambient light

Ambient light is a general-purpose light meant to illuminate a room. This light should provide a comfortable brightness level yet a sense of relaxation.

In residences, downlights, pot lights, and chandeliers are mainly used as ambient light.

●     Accent light

Suppose you have a focal point in the room, like an accent wall or a painting. How will you highlight it? It is by using accent lights. Thus, the primary purpose of accent lights is to highlight a decorative element.

Wall scones and recessed lights are mainly used as accent lights in homes.

●     Task light

As the name suggests, these are lights used to brighten up task areas in the house. Is it easy to read a book with an ambient light? Of course not. You need a light focusing on the book to make the letters legible.

Thus, the primary purpose of task light is to accomplish specific tasks. Table lamps for reading and under-cabinet lights in the kitchen are all task lights.

What are the things to consider while purchasing and installing residential lighting?

●     Design of the room

In what theme are the interiors done? Is it done in a traditional style? Or do you plan to go for a contemporary style interior? This is the first important factor you should consider while selecting residential lighting.

A traditional style of lighting in a modern home would look odd. Similarly, a contemporary lighting style will not blend well with a traditional home. You should consult an interior stylist and purchase lighting based on their opinion.

●     Size of the room

The size of the room also plays a crucial role in selecting the lighting design. Suppose the room has a low ceiling. Is it a good idea to go for a chandelier? No. Because a low ceiling with a hanging chandelier can cause accidents. Thus, it is best to go for recessed lighting in such rooms.

On the other hand, if you have a tall ceiling, you can go for the large chandelier to accentuate the room’s look.

●     Type of light

If you are under the assumption that all three types of lights are required for all the rooms, then you are wrong. The type of light required for a room depends on its primary purpose and overall design.

Suppose you have a reading corner in the living room. Then, you should have a task light in addition to ambient light. If the living area has any focal point, you need accent light to highlight the focal area.

●     Color temperature

Suppose you are looking at a blue surface. Will you see the same blue while looking through a transparent object? No. This is because the light emitted from an opaque object differs from that emitted by a transparent object. This difference is called the color temperature.

Thus, color temperature is the visual appearance of light. You should consider the color temperature while designing residential lighting. If the color temperature is low, the light will be warm or orange in color.
Big and Small Kitchen Island Pendants

What are the different types of lights required for each room?

❖  Entryway/Foyer

The entryway or foyer is the first room you step into when entering a house. This area should be well-lit so that you can enter the house safely.

Ambient light fixed to the ceiling is the best for the entryway as it provides enough brightness. You can provide an accent light if there is any artwork or painting on the wall. Some foyer areas will even have table lamps as decorative pieces.

❖  Living room

Since the living room is the place where you spend the majority of the time, it should be adequately lit. A warm, welcoming light is best for the living room.

The type of lights to use in a living room depends on the activities that are done. In addition to ambient light, you can use accent light to accentuate a focal point. If the room has a reading corner, you can also consider a task light like a floor lamp.

❖  Dining room

The primary purpose of the dining room is to dine together. Thus, the room should have a focal lighting point that brings all the conversation together.

A task light, like a pendant light, is best suited for a dining area. It would be a good idea to install a dimmer to change the illumination according to the room’s overall mood.

❖  Bedroom

Bedroom is the place where you unwind and relax after a hard day. Thus, the room should have a warm and cozy feel to relax.

Ambient lighting in the form of a ceiling light provides enough brightness to the bedroom. If the room has a reading corner, you can use task lighting like a table or floor lamp.

❖  Kitchen

The kitchen is the factory of the house where a lot of activities take place. From cooking, cleaning, and washing to even socializing, you do innumerable tasks in the kitchen. 

The kitchen needs to be well-lit. Thus, you should go for 2-3 ambient lights depending on the size of the kitchen. Ceiling lights are the best ambient lights in the kitchen.

In addition, the kitchen also requires task lights to make your task easy. Under cabinet lights are the best task lights you can have in the kitchen.

residential room lighting type


Have you ever thought that illuminating a space was all about installing a light? Now, you might have understood it is more than that. Residential lighting is all about the thoughtful selection of light and installing it creatively to get the best result.

Whether you want a dim ambient light or a bright task light, understanding the room’s requirements and selecting the lights carefully is very important to get the desired result.

Read more articles:
Interior Lighting Design: Its Importance & Samples
Outdoor Lighting Design: Rules of Thumb
Illuminate Success: Commercial Lighting Design Guide
Tips on Retail Lighting for Enhanced Customer Experience
What Lighting is Needed in a Dining Room?