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How to Choose the Best Room Lighting for Each Part of Your Home

Choosing the best room lighting for each part of your home


  • There are three main types of lighting—ambient, task, and accent. Ambient light is the general lighting, task light focuses on specific work areas, and accent light is used to highlight certain features or decor.
  • To choose lighting for each room in your home, consider their function and decor. Achieve a balance of ambient, task, and accent lighting for a versatile and functional lighting scheme.
  • Fixture and bulb selection impacts both the functionality and aesthetics of a room’s lighting. Consider energy-efficient options like LEDs and ensure your fixtures align with your room’s decor.
  • Engage with professional electricians like 4-Star Electric for lighting installation and upgrades to ensure safe, code-compliant installations, and optimal lighting performance. Expert assistance is invaluable for realizing your home lighting goals.

Illuminating your home is more than just a necessity—it’s an art. The right lighting does more than provide visibility; it also sets the mood, accentuates interior design features, and enhances comfort. Your choice of lighting can change the whole aura of your home, so it’s crucial to consider the fixtures you purchase and where you place them!

As professional electricians who have provided home lighting services in Calgary for years, our team knows all about different lighting types and how to use them effectively in various areas. Below, we’ve created a step-by-step guide that you can use to literally light up your life.

An Overview of Different Lighting Types: Ambient vs. Task vs. Accent

There are countless ways to illuminate a room, but these solutions generally fall into three categories: ambient, task, and accent lighting. Each of these serves a unique purpose, and using them together can create a balanced, attractive, and practical lighting plan for any room in your home.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is the general, overall light that fills in shadows, reduces contrast, and lights vertical surfaces to create a comfortable environment. It serves as the primary source of light, akin to natural sunlight.

Ambient lighting is often delivered via overhead fixtures or recessed lighting. It should set the tone of each room and provide enough light for you to move around safely and easily.

Task Lighting

Task lighting is used to light up specific areas where tasks are performed—like reading, cooking, or makeup application. This type of lighting ensures you get the visibility you need to complete your tasks effectively and comfortably.

Good task lighting should help you perform specific tasks without straining your eyes. This type of light should be free of distracting glare and shadows.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is more decorative, adding drama to a room by drawing the eye to certain areas or objects like paintings, sculptures, or architectural features.

Accent lighting should always provide aesthetic appeal. Use it to spotlight decorative elements, creating depth and shadows that add visual interest to a room.

Using Each Lighting Type in Different Parts of Your Home

Understanding the specific lighting needs of each room is crucial to creating a balanced and effective lighting plan. Factors to consider include room size, function, and decor.

When deciding on the ideal combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting for various spaces, consider the activities typically performed in each room. For instance, a study room will require more task lighting, while a dining room might benefit more from ambient and accent lighting.

A balance of all three types creates the most versatile and functional lighting scheme, but the ratios may vary depending on the room’s purpose and your personal preferences. Here’s what we recommend for different areas.

Mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting in living room

Living Rooms

The living room is often a central hub for various activities such as socializing, reading, watching television, or simply relaxing. As such, it requires a flexible and layered lighting plan:

  • Ambient Lighting: A central chandelier or pendant light can serve as your primary light source, providing overall illumination. If you have a high ceiling, consider a grand chandelier for a touch of elegance.
  • Task Lighting: For reading or other activities, table lamps or floor lamps next to seating areas can offer targeted light. A swing-arm floor lamp is a good choice for its adjustable nature.
  • Accent Lighting: Highlight architectural features like fireplaces or artwork with wall sconces or track lights. LED strip lighting can also be used behind a TV or around shelves for a modern touch.
Kitchen lighting example


Kitchens are work-intensive spaces where good visibility is crucial:

  • Ambient Lighting: Recessed ceiling lights are a popular choice for general illumination. Alternatively, a large flush-mount or semi-flush mount light can work well.
  • Task Lighting: Under-cabinet lights illuminate countertops for food prep, while pendant lights over an island provide light for cooking or dining. Don’t forget about the sink area—a dedicated light source can help with cleaning and dishwashing.
  • Accent Lighting: Showcase your fine china or glassware with inside-cabinet lighting. A row of pendant lights above the kitchen island also adds an aesthetic touch.
Mix of lighting styles in bathroom


In bathrooms, light should be practical but also create a calming atmosphere:

  • Ambient Lighting: A ceiling light or a pair of wall sconces can fill the room with general light. For larger bathrooms, consider additional recessed lights.
  • Task Lighting: Vanity lights or mirror lights are essential for tasks like applying makeup or shaving. Opt for side-mounted sconces at eye level to avoid shadows.
  • Accent Lighting: Use LED strip lights around a bathtub or under a floating vanity for a spa-like ambiance.
Mix of bedroom lighting types


Bedrooms are personal retreats where the lighting should promote relaxation:

  • Ambient Lighting: A flush-mount or semi-flush mount light in the center of the ceiling provides general lighting. For a softer glow, use a dimmable fixture.
  • Task Lighting: Reading lamps on bedside tables or wall-mounted swing-arm lamps are perfect for night-time reading. Consider lights with independent switches for each side of the bed.
  • Accent Lighting: Highlight a piece of artwork or a beautiful headboard with dedicated lights. Consider adding light strips under the bed for a modern, floating effect.
Mix of lighting types in hallway


Hallways should be safely and adequately lit while contributing to the overall aesthetic:

  • Ambient Lighting: Recessed lights or flush-mount ceiling lights evenly spaced can illuminate the entire length of the hallway. For high ceilings, consider pendant lights or chandeliers for a dramatic effect.
  • Task Lighting: If your hallway includes a small table or seating area, a table lamp can provide localized light.
  • Accent Lighting: Display wall sconces or picture lights to highlight artwork or photographs along the hallway. An illuminated niche or recessed shelf can also add a decorative touch.

Choosing the Right Fixtures and Bulbs for Your Lighting Goals

The choice of fixtures and bulbs plays a pivotal role in determining both the functionality and aesthetics of your room’s lighting. The fixture design can dramatically change the look of a room, either complementing or clashing with your overall decor. Bulbs, on the other hand, affect the color, intensity, and energy efficiency of your lighting.

When selecting bulbs, LEDs are the gold standard for energy efficiency. They offer a broad range of colors, from warm white to cool daylight, allowing you to adjust the mood and feel of the room. LEDs also have a long lifespan, making them an economical choice in the long run.

As for fixtures, select designs that align with your room’s decor—a sleek, modern fixture might not suit a room with traditional furnishings. From flush-mounted ceiling fixtures for ambient light to table lamps for task lighting and wall sconces for accent lighting, ensure your choices complement your space’s style.

Choosing a Professional Electrician for Your Lighting Upgrades

When it comes to upgrading your lighting, you’ll want help from professional electricians like our team at 4-Star Electric. Not only will we ensure that all work is carried out safely and to code, but we can also provide expert advice on optimizing your lighting plan.

Our team can assess your current electrical system, suggest necessary upgrades, and guide you towards the most effective and efficient lighting solutions. Since we’ve done this so often before, we can also help ensure your lighting contributes positively to your interior design.

Remember, quality lighting is an investment in your home. It impacts not only your comfort and convenience but also your home’s value. At 4-Star Electric, we’re always ready to help you illuminate your home in the best and most cost-effective way. Get in touch today and let’s brighten up your home together!

Written by Denny Vannus

Denny is a seasoned professional with an impressive 25-year career at 4 Star Electric, a family-owned electrical company with a strong commitment to serving the community. Armed with both a master's and journeyman's license, he is not only an expert in his field but also a proud PEC (Professional Electrical Contractor). Denny's journey in the electrical industry began with a desire to make a substantial impact in his community and provide top-notch services to clients. He's not just about fixing circuits; he's about lighting up lives. Beyond his professional dedication, Denny is a devoted family man. Celebrating 20 years of marriage, he and his wife have an 11-year-old son who keeps them on their toes. When he's not immersed in the world of electrical systems, Denny enjoys kicking back and coaching his son’s soccer games. His unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction and his vision of 4 Star Electric as an extended family for both clients and staff exemplify his passion for creating a harmonious, electrifying world.
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