How to enhance your space with layered lighting

‘Layered lighting’ might sound like a term that only belongs to interior designers. However, the more you understand what it means the more you can understand how it can contribute to the perfect lighting in your room. There are three basic layers to become familiar with in order to make beautiful, functional, and sustainable lighting in your home.

Ambient or General Lighting

This form of lighting allows the light to gently illuminate the space without focusing on anything in particular. Ambient or general lighting should provide a comfortable level of brightness without any glare. This can be accomplished with ceiling lights, wall lights, cove lighting, or even a cluster of pendants. Just because it’s ambient doesn’t mean it can’t double as a feature.

Display homes with ambient lighting
Left: Bellucci uplight. Middle: Vega 10W track lights in Banksia display by Dale Alcock. Photography by Joel Barbitta. Right: Hunter and Madison pendants in the Brooklyn display by Dale Alcock. Photography by Lynnette Kohler Design.

Task Lighting

Task lighting is simple and straightforward. As the name suggests, the lighting is for a task! Yet we know that lighting is not just functional, which means a beautiful feature lamp can be just as important as the task it’s lighting. Pendants, stunning floor lamps and desk lamps can deliver the light spectacularly, as well as add to the design of your room.

Wall lights and pendant light for task lighting by bedside table and home office

Left: Edgar reading light. Middle: Orion wall lamp. Right: Ryppy Cone pendant.

Accent Lighting

This is lighting directed at objects or places that you want to feature. It adds depth and drama to the room by creating visual interest. Do you have something special that you want to draw attention towards? It is important that accent lighting is done subtly where the light illuminates your focal point rather than emphasises how it is being lit. There are a number of ways accent lighting can be used to enhance architectural features or highlight artwork. It can be achieved with directional lights – and it’s even better when they’re adjustable. Track lighting or under-cabinet lights can also do a great job.

Accent lighting examples such as exterior wall light grazing rough wall texture, downlight highlighting artwork, wall light focusing on vessel

Left: Sarna exterior wall light. Middle: Signature Wall Washer downlight. Right: Hubble wall light.

Layering light requires you to blend the three main lighting approaches and balancing them so there are no elements competing with each other. Layered lighting has the greatest impact on open plan living areas. Crafting the right light in these spaces means that you can change the mood and function of the room at the flick of a switch.