Common Types of Lighting Fixtures for Homes

For any home, a room can have multiple functions. A living room can not only serve as a gathering area, but it may also have been a place to work on the family computer. A bedroom may not only serve as an area to sleep or dress up but also a place for your kids to do arts and crafts. This is the reason why different types of lighting fixtures are used in a single house. Many lighting options exist to provide light for a home, such as integrated fixtures that require contractors and electricians to install, to decorative lamps that need to be placed in an area and simply plugged into the nearest outlet.

The major types of lighting for indoor use are ambient, task and accent lighting. A single light fixture may serve more than one of these functions. Let’s get to know them along with the common types of lighting fixtures for homes:

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Major types of lighting

1. Ambient lighting or general lighting


The most common type of lighting, ambient or general lighting provides light for the entire room that is enough for people to easily and safely move throughout the area. The light bounces off the walls, bringing light to as much space as possible. In photography, ambient light is considered the “natural light.” In interior decoration, ambient light serves the same purpose, except that the ambient light is created with flat and natural-looking lighting.

2. Task lighting


Task lighting provides a more concentrated light at a smaller area of the room to bring better lighting for a task a person carries out in a given space. For some, it is called office lighting. It is used when doing tasks like sewing, reading, writing, cooking and other things. Task lighting works better when used as a contrasting light, like for instance in a low-lit room and a desk lamp is used. This prevents harsh lighting and less glare for the eyes. Task lighting helps your brain to become more focused and concentrated.  

3. Accent lighting

Accent lighting is another concentrated type of lighting, but it is focused on a specific focal point to achieve the desired effect. It is used for adding style and drama to your house, like giving an impression of a bigger space; highlighting an architectural detail in your home; or featuring an artwork, sculpture or a collection placed in a specific area.

Common types of lighting fixtures

1. Ceiling-mounted lighting

It covers many different types of fixture wherein a light bulb is mounted directly to the ceiling. These types of fixtures may or may have not a glass or plastic shade concealing the bulb. Ceiling mounted fixtures typically serve as ambient lighting.

2. Chandelier


Chandeliers are decorative lighting fixtures suspended from the ceiling. These are classic pieces that work well in rooms with high ceilings, brightening up space beautifully and stylishly. They are often placed in the middle of the living room, dining room, hallway, bedroom or bathrooms on top of a tub. Chandeliers direct light upward and often makes use of more than one bulb. Chandeliers provide ambient lighting and it can also serve as a focal point in a room.

3. Pendant lighting

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Like chandeliers, pendant lights are suspended from the ceiling, but their design is typically simpler and often uses only one bulb. Most pendant lights are hung over a kitchen island or a table, enhancing the design style of the room. Depending on how low it is hung, pendant lighting can be used as an ambient or task lighting.

4. Track lighting

Track lighting has a linear housing that holds several heads where bulbs are contained. The housing can either be straight, curved, long or short; and the direction of the bulbs are adjustable. These are typically placed above kitchen islands, or in children’s play or study areas. Track lightings are great as a task or accent lighting.

5. Recessed lighting

Recessed lighting fixtures are installed above the ceiling and attached to the opening created in the ceiling. These are space-saving fixtures that are discreet, yet gives just the right brightness or dimness you want, making it a perfect accent light. Recessed lighting is often used in groups, for instance, forming a line. It is a great tool to illuminate the texture of your walls, an artwork mounted on the wall or to illuminate a window with a view.

6. Wall sconces

Wall sconces are versatile lighting fixtures mounted directly on the wall. Wall sconces can direct light either upwards or downwards, or in both left and right, adding a stylish touch to any room. These can easily set the mood for the room or highlight a piece near or mounted in the walls, making it a perfect accent lighting piece. When placed above a computer table, a study table or a sewing machine, it can serve as a task lighting too.

7. Under cabinet lighting

As the name suggests, under cabinet lighting fixtures are mounted under the cabinets. These are often found in the kitchen, placed under the wall cabinets to illuminate the stove, the sink or a countertop for food preparation. It is also used for vanities in the bathroom or bedrooms, as well as in workstations and garages. Due to its very focused nature, under cabinet lighting are used as task lighting.

8. Desk, floor, and table lamps

These are portable and versatile lighting fixtures that don’t need to be installed since they are often plugged to an outlet or run on batteries. These lamps are available in different styles, sizes, and shapes; and they make an excellent decorative piece for a room. Lamps are often used as task lighting, but they can also be used as ambient light, especially during bedtime.