How to Layer Lighting

Proper lighting plays a role in both functionality and appearance, but it’s not only the type of lighting that matters, it’s how it is placed. For the best results, consider layering your lighting with three different sections in mind: ambient, task and accent.

First Layer

Ambient lighting is the most general, providing a central source of illumination. This type of lighting is beneficial for both safety and task purposes. Fixtures to consider to fulfill this layer are chandeliers, ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures, recessed lighting, and track lighting.

The best placement is in the center of the room and close to the ceiling. While ambient lighting provides enough lighting to see the entire room and to perform basic functionalities, the following layers are needed for more detail-oriented tasks and purposes.

Second Layer

Task lighting is the lighting needed to perform specific jobs. This includes cooking, crafting, getting ready, and cleaning. This layer is located slightly lower than ambient lighting, in places such as the vanity and the kitchen sink.

The same layer can also consist of desk lamps, under-cabinet lighting and floor lamps. While these fixtures are located a little lower than the ones listed above, they all full under task lighting.

Third Layer

Accent lighting is also known as decorative lighting. This lighting is used to highlight areas of the room that are placed there for decor purposes. This includes artwork, vases, fireplaces, and architectural features.

The contrast created by the different layers is what brings the eye to whatever piece or area is being highlighted. Sconces are a popular choice for accent lighting, and can even be a decorative piece on their own.


In my opinion, Valley Lighting & Home Decor is the best of the lighting stores in Connecticut. To complete every layer, visit the store or order online!

Take a look at these DIY sconces!