The Importance of Layered Lighting

One of the most important aspects of a successful design is a well thought out layered lighting plan; however, it is often the most overlooked aspect of design. Lighting is more than just picking out a fixture, pendant or chandelier that looks good in your home. When done correctly, lighting serves a specific purpose.

A great lighting plan incorporates a variety of different types of lighting. This is called “layered lighting”. Each room has different lighting needs. Before creating a lighting plan, you must first assess how each space is used. This helps to determine how to apply the best layered lighting design for that room. Below, are the three main types of lighting and the purpose of each.


AMBIENT LIGHTING: Ambient lighting is the general light that provides a uniform light level throughout your room. It works independently from other layered lighting by illuminating the overall space. Ambient light comes in forms of recessed lights, ceiling mount fixtures, chandeliers and more. This is the main source of light for any room.

TASK LIGHTING: Task lighting provides enough light to perform a specific task without creating shadows or being too bright. You’ll want plenty of light in your kitchen for food prepping and washing dishes. Recessed downlights and under-cabinet lights are best for this. In your bathroom, lighted wall-mount mirrors or vertical fluorescent lights flanking the mirrors are best for applying makeup. These lights are typically switched separately from the ambient light and play an integral role in the layered lighting process.

ACCENT LIGHTING: Accent lighting showcases a specific point of interest within your room. Artwork or architectural features are often the subject of this type of illumination. Use directional recessed lighting or certain types of wall sconces are to project this type of lighting.

When creating a layered lighting plan, our Designer first considers how the homeowner uses their space. This determines the best location for ambient lighting. Next, it is important to identify the location and purpose of task areas. Selecting the proper light source and lumens for these areas are very key to function and safety. Finally, if you have a specific item or area that you want to spotlight, our Designer assists you in selecting the appropriate fixture.

As part of our Design First philosophy, Macktown Construction provides full design services through our in-house Interior Designer. Among the plans you’ll receive, will be a complete electrical plan. Our Designer will ensure that your home remodeling project will have just the right amount of layered lighting, so all you have to do is pick out the fixtures!

To learn more about lighting, has an extensive planning guide for lighting:

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