Lighting 101

Accessories Can Give Your Space Personality

Lighting can be intimidating, but it’s one of the most important elements of interior design. Unfortunately it’s often overlooked. Good lighting is a combination of three different types:

  • Ambient Lighting
  • Task Lighting
  • Accent Lighting


is also known as General Lighting because it provides your space with overall illumination of the entire room. This allows you to see, perform basic tasks and navigate your space safely. Typically, ceiling mounted fixtures, chandeliers, recessed lighting and sconces are used to accomplish this type of lighting.


is intended to help you perform a specific task such as grooming, prepping a meal, reading, studying and working. This type of lighting is localized and should be bright enough to prevent eye strain. You should also be able to brighten or darken this lighting in order to suit your needs. Typically, bathroom vanity lighting, desk lamps, floor and table lamps, kitchen island pendant lighting and under cabinet lighting are used to accomplish this type of lighting.


ACCENT LIGHTING is also known as the Decorative Layer of lighting. It can be used to call attention to or create drama in your space by highlighting items such as artwork, architecture elements or any other feature that cannot be made prominent by your ambient lighting. As a rule of thumb, your accent lighting should be at least three times brighter than your general lighting. Typically, accent lighting
fixtures include track lighting, wall sconces and even tape or rope lighting (used behind mirrors, in coves, tiered ceilings and toe-kicks).

Once placement for all the lighting has been determined, the shopping fun begins! In addition to shopping for your layers of lighting, add dimmers to the list. I like having dimmers installed in every room. Dimmers help you control the levels of lighting for optimal use at different times of the day or evening.

Incorporating all three types of lighting into your light schematic in conjunction with other design elements can help you create a harmonious and well-presented space. Contact Coastal Design by Kim at (850) 904-6622 to assist you with all of your interior design needs.