Choosing the right lighting for the different rooms in your home can be complicated. There’re bright lights, and dim lights, and hanging lights, and wall lights, and chandelier lights, and LED lights; there are so many lights! And if you’ve been to a store that carries lights, you’ll understand precisely what we mean.

A lot of time and effort go into selecting the perfect lights that are right for you and the space they’re going in. For instance, you need to make sure you’ve chosen lights with an actual functional purpose, with the right amount of illumination shining off them, and with a stylistic element to add to the room’s aesthetic. You can’t put a simple, yet modern ceiling light in a room full of antique furniture, it just won’t match!

That’s what we’re going to help you out with. If you’re looking to learn a little bit more about the lighting options you have, and how to choose the right lighting for every room in your home, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get started because there’s a lot to cover!

There are three types of lighting… What are they?

First, let’s start with the different types of lighting you can choose from:

1.    Ambient Lighting

2.    Task Lighting

3.    Accent Lighting

Often, you’ll find that every room has at least two different types of lighting, but there are times when a room will have all three. Check out what each kind of light does below.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is generally the primary source of light found in a room. They can be anything from overhead fixtures to recessed lighting.

Usually, the amount of ambient lighting a room has will be decided by your contractor. He or she will likely measure the lighting in “foot-candles,” or how bright a light is one foot away from its ‘home.’ Typically, kitchens and bathrooms will need brighter lighting or more “foot-candles.”

Task Lighting

Task lighting is used to provide light for certain activities, like reading a book or doing your make up in front of a mirror. These lights are never used to brighten an entire room, just a small area of the room.

Task lights come in all shapes and sizes. They can be mounted on a wall, sit on a desk, or be implanted into a mirror. Some of them even have swivel or rotating capabilities to go wherever you need them to be, and at whatever angle you need them to be.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is the most decorative lighting in a room. These lights typically draw attention to something that you admire in the house, such as a painting, fireplace or bookshelf. In general, these lights make something stand out for all your guests to see.

Accent lights can be simple and elegant, but they can also, but they can also be luxurious and out-there. Chandeliers, sconces, and lamps all act as accent lights.

There are lighting categories, too.

Now that you know the details about what types of lighting you can choose from, next you’ll have to learn of the lighting options you have. Let’s check them out.


Sconces are always directly mounted on the wall. They can be hardwired into the wall, or a cord can hang down to be plugged in.

Typically, wall sconces are purchased in pairs, each on either side of a mirror or a fireplace. Swing-arm sconces, on the other hand, are usually mounted by themselves as an accent light, bringing attention to a piece of art or a bookcase.

Flush Mounts & Semi-Flush Mounts

Both mounting lights are typically rooted in the ceiling, where they brighten the room and allow for extra walking space. In other words, they don’t take away from the room; the most they’ll hang away from the ceiling is approximately six to twelve inches.


Pendant lights are not like mounting lights, in that they do hang drastically low from the ceiling by a cord, chain, or wire of some sort.

A pendant’s primary function is to act as a task light, hanging above a dining room table or a kitchen island. They do range in size.


Chandeliers can be referred to as a large lighting system, as it gives off more than one light source at a time. These lights are always suspended from the ceiling, and they can be functional or decorative depending on where you place them in the house.


You probably already have a floor lamp or a table lamp in your home, but if you don’t, it’s another option to add to your choices. Lamps don’t brighten an entire room, which makes them a perfect candidate for a task light.

This light category has endless options to choose from. What’s more, is that they’re easy to move around the room and they’re quite inexpensive.

Each room needs a different lighting scheme… what could it be?

Almost every house has an entryway, living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. Let’s see what each room should have for lighting!


The entryway is the first place your guests will see in your home, which means you’ll want to make it friendly and inviting. Don’t pick a bunch of task lights and accent lights to shed brightness in certain areas of the room. Instead, try mounting a chandelier in the middle of the ceiling (this works well with tall ceilings).

If you don’t have a tall ceiling, that’s okay. Try to choose a lighting fixture that sends out a warm tone.

Living Room

The living room is made for entertainment or relaxation. With that being said, you’ll want to be able to have access to bright light if needed, but you won’t want to use the bright light all the time. Here, floor lamps, table lamps, and sconces will be your best friends.

Dimmer switches are also great for living rooms; that way, you can put the bright light on and dim it according to the mood of the room.

Dining Room

The dining room needs a bright enough light for you to converse and eat at the dinner table comfortably; that does not mean you should go out and purchase LED lights!

Instead, try placing a chandelier directly in the middle of the dining room table. If you don’t like the look of a chandelier get a couple of pendant lights and hang them over the dining room table; remember, don’t get extremely low pendant lights, you don’t want to be hitting your head on them consistently.


The kitchen can be difficult to light; as different areas of the room require different lighting schemes. For instance, you’ll want to put bright lighting over the kitchen island, but you’ll want to have dimmer lighting in areas of the kitchen that are not used as often.

If you have a wide sink, an open bar, or a beautiful kitchen island, pendant lights will be your best choice, both functionally and stylistically.


The bedroom needs warm lighting, nothing more. You’ll want to center the room around task lighting, that way you’ll be able to read while relaxing, or watch television with a lamp on by your bedside table.

Living rooms operate nicely with a dimmer switch, but bedrooms do, too. If you decide on a dimmer switch, you’ll be able to provide bright light when necessary, like during cleaning.


The bedroom is a place where light becomes a necessity. Sconces and bright LED lights are recommended above the mirrors in the bathroom, as these areas are key focal points in the bathroom.

Be sure to put these lights near face height, as you’ll get the best usage out of them here.

We’ve covered the types of lights, the lighting options you have, and a few examples of what lights to put in the different rooms of your house. Now, the choice is all yours, but at least you know all you need to know to start on your lighting endeavors!

Written by Nikki Kingsley

Looking to add new Lighting to your space? Check out our trusty retailers ↓

Dowsing & Reynolds, Utility Design, Holloways of Ludlow, Lighting Lover, Beut, Amara, Naken and David Village Lighting.