Lighting: How to Mix for Optimal Results

Let there be light! The appropriate quantity of lighting is crucial when it comes to interior design. It is just as important as the type of finishes and furniture. If it is too bright it can take over the entire space. If it is too dark then it can cause tricks to the eye. Knowing how to layer different kinds of lighting can create balance and cohesion. Some would say that it is a main decor element when designing. Knowing the types of lighting can change how you look at a space. Today we will be talking about the different types of lighting, the fixtures, and how to layer light.

Different Types

There are three common types of lighting in any room. The first is task lighting which is the brightest. This would be used when cooking, reading, and cleaning. Anything that has a specific task where there needs to be more light. Ambient lighting is next, that is when it covers the entire space but still remains soft. It is enough light where you are still able to see typically changing the color tone of a room. Lastly, is accent lighting used for specific points in an area. Such as an important piece of artwork or lighting up a fireplace. If there is a certain spot that needs more light then accent lighting is the way to go.


In the interior design world, a fixture is anything electric that gives light. These can be lamps, chandeliers, pendants, and the list can go on. In other words, anything that requires a light bulb. It can get tricky when trying to see what fixture works and what doesn’t. Try not to use fixtures that are all the exact same in a space. Go with ones that have things in common. The number of traits can seem endless. Some examples would include finding similar shapes, materials, styles, colors, and tones. In the picture above they have pairs. The lamps are the same, the sconces are the same, and the chandelier is different. However, they still work together because they have that gold element throughout all three pieces. This will bring harmony and fixtures blend together seamlessly. 

Layer Light

Can you incorporate task, ambient, and accent lighting into one space? The answer is yes, it is preferred when making a space inviting. For example in the picture above the lighting is mixed extremely well. The pendants are ambient and task lighting. There are some undercabinet lights perfect to use in the morning when you don’t want to overwhelm the eyes. Lastly, there is recessed lighting for the third source of light. Recessed is more popular because it can be used for task or ambient lighting. They can be dimmable so the amount of light can always be controlled. When mixing lighting it is always good to not go over 3-4 sources. That way the area can remain balanced.