How to Layer Lighting

How to Layer Lighting

Lighting can often be overlooked when designing a home or business. However, lighting makes a huge impact on the overall aesthetic and functionality of a space, affecting an individual’s mood, emotions, and wellbeing. Clients may look for a warm and subtle glow in the bathroom, and a bright cooler light in the kitchen. Whether you’re designing a small or large space, layering your lighting sources is the best way to achieve quality lighting in every room.

Before you start shopping, we'd like to discuss three main lighting categories:

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is used in every room to make an interior space more visible for day-to-day activities. They provide general lighting for a space and are sometimes used to refer to natural sunlight. You can build upon room illumination by adding in soft ceiling, floor and wall lighting. We recommend following this general room of thumb to achieve sufficient ambient lighting: 20 lumens per square foot.

Our experts recommend:

Flush mounts: Designed to hug the ceiling, flush mount, and semi-flush mount ceiling lights are particularly great for illuminating spaces with low ceilings.

Flushmount light

Chandeliers: Perfect for main living areas or bedrooms, chandeliers have a branched frame equipped with multiple lamps used to light up the surrounding space and create visual interest.


Pendants: These lighting solutions come in various styles, sizes, shapes, and colors to suit your needs. They are typically single-shade fixtures that hang from the ceiling or a track lighting system, usually suspended by a single cord, chain or metal rod. Pendant lights are often used in multiples if more light is needed or to add symmetry to a room.


Wall Sconces: There are endless ways to incorporate wall sconces to a design. They are affixed to a wall for support and require electrical needs. The position of a wall scone dictates how much light is produced and what it illuminates. For instance, an upward-facing wall sconce directs light towards the ceiling, resulting in subtle ambient light.

Wall sconces

Since ambient lighting produces more general light, this is often the first step in layering lighting. Once this step has been successfully established, we can move onto other lighting solutions to further illuminate and polish a home or business space. 

Task Lighting

In addition to ambient lighting, we need task lighting to perform specific tasks throughout the day. Task lighting is directed lighting towards a specific area to give more precise illumination over objects and provide safe passage. Any close-range everyday activities including, cooking, reading, drawing, and writing requires task lighting to help alleviate strain on your eyes.

Here is a list of task lighting that we recommend for your space:

Pendants: Dining rooms are the perfect location for task oriented pendant lights. Downward-facing pendant lights can function as superb task lights for eating or hosting.

Pendant light

Desk/Table/Floor Lamps: We carry a range of plug-in or portable lamps to suit your work environment in various styles and sizes. No matter the task at hand a desk lamp or floor lamp can help you work more efficiently and comfortably. Most importantly, they are often adjustable (brightness and direction), to provide the most personalized working environment.


LED Lights: These low-profile lighting solutions are great additions to kitchen counters and corners that don’t normally get enough light. LED lights work to brighten work and get rid of unwanted shadows. Not to mention, they are perfect for assisted lighting during clean-up days.

    LED Lights

    At this point, your combination of ambient and task lighting solutions will create a well balanced space filled with general and functional lighting elements. The next step is introducing accent lighting to add an additional layer of sophistication.

    Accent Lighting

    Finally, accent lighting is particularly used to accentuate the best features of your space and add unique visual interest to an area. They can be used to highlight a beloved art piece or stairway to add drama and emphasize the room’s overall style and mood. Accent lighting gives wall decor, photo collages and other unique architectural details more attention by drawing attention towards its characteristics, depth and dimension. Our experts say that accent lighting should be at least 3x brighter than the surrounding ambient lighting for maximum impact.

    This is what we recommend:

    Accent Wall Lights: Interested in using lighting to create visual effects in your home? Accent wall lights achieve the most beautiful illumination because they are made in all shapes, sizes, and styles. They are perfect for creating focal points on the wall and are usually used as decorative accessories in hallways.

    Accent sconces

    Display and Picture lights: Make your favorite pictures or art pieces stand out with picture lights. Display and picture lights provide concentrated lighting that helps to bring out rich details and vivid colors of the artwork.

    Display and Picture Lights

    Recessed Lights: Custom recessed lighting is the perfect solution for any space and is a simple way to make a space look “expensive”. There are various types of recessed lighting to suit your budgetary and stylistic needs.

    Recessed Lights

    Track Lights: Track lighting solutions look beautiful without the commitment. They are multiple adjustable track heads and spotlights along a suspended track or rail system that can provide accent lighting in a multitude of directions. 

    Track lighting

    Layering Lights by Room

    Below is a list of lighting solutions you should consider for each room






    Ceiling light

    Vanity or mirror light, Recessed lighting in shower



    Chandelier, Ceiling light

    Table lamp

    Display and picture lights


    Recessed, Pendant

    LED Strip under cabinets


    Living Room

    Recessed, Floor or table lamps

    Table lamp

    Display and picture lights

    Dining Room

    Chandelier, Pendant




    Chandelier, Pendant, Fan

    Portable table lamp



    Recessed, Floor or table lamps

    Table lamp

    Display and picture lights


    Recessed, Wall mounts


    LED strip on stairs, Display and picture lights

    How to Tie it All Together

    Now that you have achieved the lighting-scape of your dreams, consider two additional elements to take your designs to the next level: 1) Use the appropriate color temperature for each room. For more information on what color temperatures to use for a particular room please visit our master guide. 2) Using dimmers. Controlling how much light you allow into a room is an essential part of creating a functional and comfortable space. Luckily we have an awesome selection of dimmers and other lighting accessories that will make you fall in love with your space.

    Layer Lighting Preview

    For additional support we’d be more than happy to assist you with your next lighting project. Our experts are ready to hear from you, just visit our contact us page to contact our team!