The Importance Of Location: A Room-​​By-​​Room Lighting Guide

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When plan­ning out the lighting for each of your rooms, there are three types of layers: ambient lighting as the main light source, task lighting to pro­vide full light in small and spe­cific parts of the room, and accent lighting that are more for dec­o­ra­tion or enhance­ment. With those in mind, here’s a quick guide on where to place your lighting in the main rooms of your home.

Main Room


Your living room will be the main social area of your home, and used for watching TV, reading a book, working on a com­puter, playing board or video games, and so on. For lighting, you should keep all of that in mind.

  • Ambient lighting — over­head lighting con­trolled by a dimmer lets you set the mood of the room for mul­tiple uses
  • Task lighting — place lamps on either side of your couch, chairs, com­puter desk, or any­where you would need to read
  • Accent lighting — place smaller lights aimed at plants, pieces of art, or beau­tiful furniture

If you are renting an open con­cept apart­ment, you might find that your living room shares the same space as your dining room/​eating area in one big Main Room. The same prin­ci­ples will apply, just make sure you place your over­head light and lamps over the living room area.



For your kitchen more than any other room, you’re going to want to be able to see what you’re doing. The last thing you want is an improp­erly lit kitchen while using sharp knives, so you’ll want lighting that is both placed prop­erly and plentiful.

  • Ambient lighting — recessed over­head lights can pro­vide full cov­erage to your whole counter area
  • Task lighting — Add a flush over­head light con­trolled by a dimmer above your kitchen table if you have one
  • Accent lighting — add some accent lights around win­dows or any design fix­tures if you have them

Your kitchen will likely be very light on any­thing but ambient lighting, both because they are usu­ally very large rooms and because it will already be so brightly and thor­oughly lit.



Bath­rooms are often the smallest room in your home, but also has spe­cific seg­ments needed for dif­ferent types of tasks such as shaving, doing make up, taking a shower, and accessing your med­i­cine cabinet.

  • Ambient lighting — not as impor­tant for bath­rooms but maybe have one over­head light for gen­eral use
  • Task lighting — sconce lights beside the mirror and aimed at you so you can see your­self clearly and maybe a small recessed light above the shower
  • Accent lighting — use accents lights if you have a bit of dec­o­ra­tion in your bath­room or a nicely tiled shower

How much you do with your bath­room lighting really depends on how big it is. Some people expand their bath­rooms to create beau­tiful, lux­u­rious places to relax in a hot bath. Others have no more than the req­ui­site sink, toilet, and walk in shower.



Bed­rooms can be one of the larger rooms in your home as well as being multi-​​purpose. You might have a TV or com­puter desk there to save space else­where, or you might keep it empty of any­thing but a place to sleep and get dressed.

  • Ambient lighting — a ceiling fan with lights away from the bed so you don’t look up at them, using soft light bulbs and with a dimmer to set the mood you want
  • Task lighting — lamps on the bed­side tables for reading, recessed lights in the closet, wall sconce by a dresser or makeup desk
  • Accent lighting — use spar­ingly since you do not want to have your bed­room overly lit

Remember, how you use your bed­room will deter­mine what kind of lighting you need. You’ll have some nat­ural light from a window or two to work with, so during the day you likely won’t have any lights on at all. You might find you only need one simple ambient light and then smaller task lighting for reading and finding clothes in your closet.

Find the per­fect lighting for every room in your home by shop­ping Clayton Gray Home.

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