Types of Lighting | General, Accent and Task Lighting

Ambient Accent Task Lighting

Lighting is not just about illuminating a space. It can be used to decorate, highlight or helping you to study. The article will cover the 3 main types of Lighting: General/Ambient, Accent and Task Lighting.

General/Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting or general lighting means to illuminate a particular area equally. It is the first layer of lighting and sets the tone for an area thus ambient lighting is usually soft and dimmable to suit the day and night settings. Ambient/general lighting is important in hallways and stairs for optimal visibility. It is also useful to have general lighting in kitchen and home offices. Ambient/general lighting is either artificial lighting or a combination of artificial and natural lighting. To learn more about artificial lighting. Click here.

Examples of Ambient lighting products:

  • Ceiling mounted lighting that direct light downwards
  • Wall sconces and floor lamps
  • Cove lighting that reflects light off ceilings and walls.


  • Retail - General lighting is used with accent lighting to highlight specific products.
  • Colour rendering properties work - General lighting is used with task lighting to provide higher light levels.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is used to highlight or focus an object using light. Often used by businesses and artist that wish to highlight their product. Accent light is typically three times brighter than general/ambient lighting to create a contrast. As mentioned above, it is paired with general lighting as the background while accent lighting will be used to draw the viewers attention. Adjustable lighting is usually used in these types of lighting, as they allow precision on smaller areas. 

Example of Accent Lighting products:

  • Wall lights
  • Recessed spotlighting
  • Track lighting
  • Wall-mounted picture lighting


  • Outdoors: Guides for pathways especially during nighttime

Task Lighting

Task lighting as it names imply is a light to help users to achieve specific goals or task. It focuses on the area where the task will be performed. They are usually used to aid a user in poorly lit areas. Task lighting can help greatly improve a kitchen experience especially with the use of under-cabinet lights. Also, it should be noted that effective task lighting is glare-free and can prevent eyestrain. 

Examples of Task Lighting products:

  • Under-cabinet lights 
  • Guidance lights
  • Table lamps
  • Bollard lights


  • Reading and writing at a table with the use of table lamps
  • Searching for specific objects in a cabinet will be made easier with the use of under cabinet lights


We hope that this article will give you a general idea of the types of lighting to use for your workspace and home. However, there is an alternative solution, it is us, Light Journey. You can contact us on the project or idea you want for your workspace or home. We will listen, discuss and provide technical assistance such as luminaires selection, lighting calculation and rendering through professional simulation software, experimenting and setting up visual mock-up to validate the design approach with the designers.



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