Home Lighting

Home Lighting

Lighting Basics for the Home

Lighting in any home is a key visual feature. It not only helps you to see where you’re going to walk, it can also set a mood or highlight prized possessions. There are a number of things to consider when deciding which lighting to use at your new home:

  • How each room will be used
  • What fixtures are appropriate
  • Energy efficiency
  • Cost


There are three types of lighting: ambient lighting, work lighting, and accent lighting. The entire room is illuminated by ambient, or general, light. A basic form of lighting replaces sunlight and is necessary for an illuminating program.

Task illumination provides lighting for specific tasks, such as cooking or reading. Task lighting should be free from disruptive glare and shadows and should be sufficiently bright to avoid eyesight. Accent lighting highlights particular characteristics of a room, such as cabinets, ceiling beams or artwork. By highlighting architectural features such as a mantel or the texture of a wall it can create visual interest in a space. These three luminous forms will work together to meet a room’s lighting needs.

For starters, let’s take the dining-room. The dining-room’s most obvious purpose is to eat meals with your family, right? But the table might also act as a desk space for your kids to do their homework. And if you want to entertain guests, you’re going to want to set the mood to light differently. For general illumination, a traditional chandelier usually works better with recessed downlights that provide more focused light for specific tasks, such as homework. Wall sconces or washers may offer a more subtle look. Another choice is to turn on a dimmer switch any or all of the fixtures in a house, so you can easily control the amount of light in the room.

Types of Fixtures

Once you’ve decided what kind of activities are going to take place in a room and what kind of lighting is required, you can determine which fixture best suits your needs. Lately, walking into any home improvement store, you’ve certainly seen a plethora of available lighting fixtures. Before making any decisions about your fixtures, make sure that you ask your contractor if there are any limits on the types of fixtures that can be used in any particular room. Often factors like ductwork, insulation or height at the ceiling can affect whether or not a fixture can be properly installed in a room.

The following guide will give you a general idea of which fixture types can be used for ambient, task and accent lighting:

  • Ambient such as recessed downlights, cove lighting, soffit lighting, valance lighting, wall washers, sconces, surface mounted lights, pendant lights, track lights, candlesticks, under-cabinet lights and portable fixtures.
  • Tasks such as valance lighting, pendant lights, under-cabinet lights, and portable fixtures.
  • Accent such as all washers, sconces, track lights and under-cabinet lights.

Certain fixtures are designed for a specific type of lamp, for example, a fluorescent bulb with two or four pins. Others can accommodate for the more common type of screw-in. Be sure to note what sort of bulb it takes when selecting fixtures, so you won’t be surprised to discover that the bulb you bought isn’t the correct one

Ready for Your Home Energy Audit?

At Frontline Electrical Services we love helping our customers feel safe and secure in their homes. To have your home’s wiring checked or to receive your free home energy consult and you are in the Benicia, Walnut Creek or  Fairfield, California or surrounding areas, contact us today at 800-945-0268 (here is a map to our location) and we’ll have one of our certified specialist analyze your electricity usage and give you the information you need to make sure your home is the most energy-efficient it can be!