Types of light

Information about the 3 main types of light

There are three main types of light:

Ambient or general light - provides the overall brightness for your room. It's essential for everyday life as it simply enables us to see. Dimmer controls give flexibility to general lighting by allowing us to create different levels of general light, as opposed to just on or off.

Task lighting - used for a specific purpose, such as a light on your desk for working, or a reading lamp next to your bed. Task lights provide a strong localized light. They should be positioned carefully to avoid casting shadows over a working area and to avoid causing glare.

Accent or feature light - used to create a focal point within a room by highlighting a particular item or feature, such as an object, a painting or a fireplace.

Layering light - lighting design is moving away from the tradition of a single pendant in the middle of a ceiling, towards designs that combine a number of lighting techniques to build up layers of light. A single light fitting can also combine two types of lighting. For example, a "father & son" light, such as the one pictured, creates general lighting when just the main lamp is on, but also provides task lighting when the directional reading lamp is switched on.