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  • Writer's pictureMartin Ortega

How to Layer Your Lights

Updated: Aug 10, 2022

Different types of lighting—ambient, task and accent lighting--work in unison with each other as opposed to independently. Constellation Lighting and Electric works on layering lights every day and we have a keen understanding of how they blend together. Here are considerations as you think about layering your lights.

Combinations and Independence

Ambient light and accent lighting are more likely to be used in tandem. They should be on the same circuit and side-by-side on the same switch plate. Task lighting is more individualized. Each task light should have its own switch.

Think About Flow

We’ve all walked into a darkened movie theater and stood there for a few minutes until our eyes became accustomed to the light. That’s not what you want to have in your home or business. If you are passing from a well-lighted room such as a kitchen into a darker room such as a home theater, think about making the transition a little easier with some accent lights or a well-placed recessed light over the doorway.

Three Types of Lighting:

Ambient Lighting—It takes about twenty lumens per square foot to achieve adequate ambient lighting. Determine the square footage of your room, multiplied by 20, and that’s how many lumens you need. Remember, you don’t want it all in one corner. Spread it around.

Task Lighting—Task lighting can be as much as five times brighter than the surrounding ambient light. That means a reading lamp might be 100 lumens per square foot for the area you want to illuminate.

Accent Lighting—As a general rule, accent lighting is three times as bright as the ambient lighting. Doing that math, that’s 60 lumens per square foot.


Use dimmers whenever possible. Things often change in a room and dimmers allow you to change the intensity of the lights.

Consult the Experts

At Constellation Lighting and Electric we are the experts. Feel free to ask us for ideas. We know what works.

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