Add Magic and Mood to Your Home with Accent Lighting
by Carlisle Homes
Here's how to use accent lighting to highlight your favourite features and create a magical atmosphere in your home.
Great lighting is the making of a home. Not only does it provide practical illumination so you can see what you’re doing but, if done right, it can be used to highlight your favourite features, add softness to your interior or dial up the atmosphere.
Accent lighting – directional lighting that draws attention to specific elements in your home – is an important part of an effective layered lighting scheme. Here, our interior design manager Jessica Hodges shares her expert tips on how and where to use it for maximum effect.
What is accent lighting?
There are three main types of lighting: ambient lighting, which provides general illumination, such as a ceiling light; task lighting, which is practical lighting that helps you perform specific tasks, such as food prep or putting on makeup; and accent lighting, which is purely aesthetic.
Accent lighting is used to highlight special features in your home, such as a beautiful artwork, a stunning tiled splashback, a favourite tree in the garden or beautiful stonework on your facade. It can also be used to create appealing puddles of light that add atmosphere and interest to a room, such as a floor lamp in a corner.
Wall sconces, and table and floor lamps are good examples of accent lighting. But it can come in other forms too, including spotlights, strip lighting and chandeliers, depending on the effect you’re trying to create.
A layered lighting scheme
The best room schemes will include all three types of lighting – accent, ambient and task – to create a layered lighting scheme, all doing their bit to create desired levels of illumination and flexibility.
Where can I use accent lighting?
Accent lighting adds style and drama to a space and is particularly well-suited to living areas, entrances, gardens and anywhere you have standout features to display.
In the kitchen or dining area
Consider installing a striking pendant above a dining table to create a cosy and relaxed atmosphere when you’re entertaining, such as the delicate brass and frosted glass design in our Sorrento Grand display home. It’s a good idea to install it on dimmers so that you can change the illumination levels to suit the mood.
Or do double-duty in a kitchen and use a pendant with directional bulbs over the island to draw attention to a beautiful stone benchtop, while providing practical task lighting for food prep, which is what we’ve done in our Sacramento 31 display home.
Alternatively, add under-cabinet strip lighting in a butler’s pantry, like we’ve done in our Rothwell display home at Aurora Estate, to create a warm and inviting mood in this practical spot, while providing illumination for cooking tasks.
In the lounge
Illuminate an artwork in the lounge with a wall sconce, like we’ve done in Sacramento 31 with a striking, double-ended wall light.
Or lift a dull corner of a room by hanging a pendant above a little benchtop vignette. Or use a bold, statement floor lamp to give the room an instant style and mood lift, as seen in Sacramento 31.
In a bathroom or dressing area
Frame a bathroom or dressing room mirror with a pair of wall lights, like we’ve done in our Canterbury Grand Deluxe home in Wollert – not only will the illumination add to the mood of the room, but if you choose a fitting in the same finish as your kitchen cabinetry hardware or furniture detailing, it can create a lovely sense of visual cohesion.
In the bedroom
Similarly, consider adding a statement pendant or wall light next to the bed to highlight a charming bedside table display, while providing practical reading lighting, as seen in our Rothwell home.
Add magic to your alfresco terrace with artfully positioned ceiling downlights above an outdoor fireplace, as seen in Scarborough Grand. Or specify an outdoor fan with a built-in light that casts a warm glow across your terrace and outdoor entertaining area.
Alternatively, use exterior wall lights to draw guests’ attention towards intricate stonework on your façade, or use uplighters to illuminate a beautiful plant or tree.
What’s good to know:
- Plan ahead: Lighting requires electrical planning so it needs to be worked out during the planning phase of your home build.
- Consider what you’ll want to highlight: Think about where you’ll want to include accent lighting ahead of time so you don’t have to drill holes in walls later. This is particularly important in double-storey homes as the floor joints mean you’ll have less flexibility to put in additional lighting down the track.
- Different light levels: Accent lights are secondary to ambient lighting in a room and, as a rule of thumb, they should be three to five times brighter than the ambient light level.
For great interior lighting, see our selections from Beacon Lighting via Spectra Online.