Ambient, accent and task lighting explained

It’s generally recognised that Australians spend 90% or more of their time indoors. A staggering number by any standards, and not surprisingly, a reflection of the growing interest in lighting specific to a space or purpose in the home.

The most common classifications of manufactured light are ambient, accent and task – each with a different function and each produced by a different type of lighting unit or globe.

Ambient accent and task lighting

Ambient Lighting

Defined as a soft diffused light that illuminates a room without focusing on a specific area or feature, ambient lighting is considered the main source of illumination in a room. With comfort and functionality paramount, it’s the foundation from which to build.

Common ambient lighting fixtures

Lighting a room evenly, and often referred to as ‘mood lighting’, ambient lighting is generally softer and aimed at creating an environment comfortable for everyday life. It is often achieved through hard wired fixtures including

  • Chandeliers
  • Recessed downlights
  • Track
  • Ceiling
Ambient Lighting Image

Accent Lighting

This is a light source that highlights a particular area or feature, providing a visual anchor point and/or an aesthetic contrast. Accent lighting can be used to draw attention to key features such as artwork, displays or other points of interest. It can also create an atmosphere for dining or relaxation by highlighting certain areas within a space.

Common accent lighting fixtures

Always used with a specific function in mind, accent lighting can be achieved through hard wired or flex and plug fittings

  • Wall mounted fixtures
  • Strip
  • Track
  • Gimble downlights
Accent Lighting Image

Task Lighting

As the name suggests, task lighting provides optimum illumination for specific tasks – activities like reading, cooking, craft etc. It’s purpose is to minimise the glare or reflection from any light sources so vision isn’t compromised either in brightness or colour rendition.

Common task lighting fixtures

Used to facilitate tasks by providing pools of focused light, directed where it’s needed. Task lighting is often achieved with moveable, flex and plug fixtures like desk lamps.

  • Lamps
  • Wall sconces
  • Undercabinet or vanity lighting
  • Gimble downlights
Task Lighting Image

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