Lighting is a must-have in any home. Not only is lighting functional, but it also creates a mood and atmosphere in any room. By using different lighting combinations, the same room can take on a whole new look.

Purchasing lighting is still a mystery to most people. Lighting decisions are usually made very quickly before people analyze all of their lighting needs. Many people are not sure what type of lighting fixtures to purchase for the applications that they have.

Lighting Concepts

To begin understanding all of the lighting options that are available, we should start with the three basic lighting concepts:

  • Ambient Lighting

    Ambient lighting is often referred to as a hidden source of light. This type of light washes a room with a glow and often flattens the interior room, while leaving very little shadow. An example of ambient lighting would be wall sconces.

  • Task Lighting

    Task lighting is just what its name implies – it is lighting that will be used to perform such daily tasks as reading, cooking, applying makeup, etc. Task lighting should enhance visual clarity and keep your eyes from straining. An example of task lighting is undercounter lights in your kitchen.

  • Accent Lighting

    Accent lighting is directional lighting or lighting that highlights. Accent lighting involves a bulb and some type of shield. Examples of accent lighting are halogen spotlights and table lamps.

Recessed light fixtures on ceiling.

Lighting Options

Listed below are examples of the assortment of lighting options available for any home.

  • Recessed Lights

    Recessed lights are fixtures that are placed in the ceiling. These lights are very popular for almost every room in the house. Different trims can be used to direct the light.

  • Recessed Fan Light

    Recessed Fan Light is a single unit from Broan-NuTone that combines a ventilation fan with recessed lighting. The trim design of the fixture matches that of major recessed light manufacturers and allows the unit to blend into your home seamlessly. Often seen in bathrooms, recessed fan lights can also be used in other rooms to keep the air fresh or control humidity.

  • Track Lighting

    Track lighting is a light or series of lights that is mounted on and movable along an electrified metal track.

  • Pendant Lights

    A Pendant Light is a fixture that is hanging down or suspended from the ceiling.

  • Hanging Fixtures

    Hanging fixtures provide excellent down light and ambient lighting.

  • Fluorescent Fixtures

    Fluorescent fixtures offer even light and are great in areas where lots of light is needed, such as kitchens, laundry rooms, etc.

  • Wall Scones

    Wall sconces provide soothing indirect light as well as providing dramatic effects on walls.

  • Undercabinet Fixtures

    Undercabinet fixtures allow you to direct light where a task is being performed such as in a kitchen or home office.

Under cabinet lighting.

Light Bulbs

In addition to selecting the correct type of fixtures to fully achieve the look that you want to create, you must have the correct light bulbs as well. A large variety of bulbs that can be used for many different lighting options are available.

  • Tungsten Blubs

    Tungsten bulbs are the ordinary light bulbs that you use in your home. These bulbs give off a slight yellow tinge.

  • Spotlight Bulbs

    Spotlight bulbs give a focused explosion of white light.

  • Halogen Bulbs

    Halogen bulbs provide light that is closest to daylight.

  • Fluorescent Bulbs

    Fluorescent bulbs are also daylight-equivalent, however they provide a flat, cold light.

  • Incandescent Bulbs

    Incandescent bulbs come in various types, including halogen bulbs and some fluorescent bulbs. This inviting light has a warm quality that is appealing.

Remember that your lighting choices should complement the entire setting of your room. Lighting can be both fashionable and functional – so get creative! If you need more help, take photos of your room(s) to a lighting store or home center. A good salesperson will be able to help you make the best choices for all of your lighting needs.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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