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May 15, 2019

3 min


The Layered Look

A modern bathroom lit with Talland vanity lights above an industrial style bathroom sink in the daytime

Whether reading, cooking or playing board games, proper lighting counts unless you want to squint, reach for pepper rather than paprika, or count the dice roll wrong and cash in all your chips. The secret to lighting your home right in any circumstance?

A strategy that mixes three types of illumination for a layered look that’s practical, pretty and mood-making.

Ambient lighting (or general lighting) creates the foundation for illumination that every room needs, so start with it whether you’re building, remodeling or updating your home. Designed to deliver a broad amount of diffused light that’s bright enough for basic functions or navigation, you’ll find it in recessed lights, track lighting, flush or semi-flush mount fixtures, and even ceiling fans with lights.

Laundry room lit up by a Kona Cay chandelier
A close up detail shot of the Kona Cay Chandelier in the laundry room

In this inviting and functional mudroom, the Kona Cay ceiling light emits a soft, warm glow that also created a beautiful lighting effect. For extra illumination, add downlights and tape lighting and complete the look.

Task lighting is the second layer. Pendant lights, under cabinet lights and sconces deliver light in a concentrated form where it is needed most—onto areas where tasks take place.

Two Lacum Lucien Kayde pendants turned on above an island kitchen table in the daytime
A breakfast nook with an Olde Bronze Lucien Chandelier above a table turned on in the daytime

In most homes, the kitchen island is a hub of activity. By adding a duo of Lakum pendants this island now receives enough light for everything from food prep to homework to take place there. And the room gets a modern farmhouse vibe from exposed beames and edison bulbs in the Lucien chandelier over the breakfast nook. Under cabinet lighting transforms shadowy counters into well-lit, functional work spaces where it’s both convenient and safe to chop and slice while cooking. Layer in LED tape to cook up a look that’s dramatic from dusk to dawn.

A modern bathroom with Talland vanity lights on either side of a mirror above an industrial bathroom sink turned on during the day
Detail shot of Talland vanity lights on either side of a mirror turned on during the day

Place lighting on each side of the mirror and you’ll be surprised at just how much better you’ll see during daily grooming. And here’s a tip. Sconces, like this industrial-inspired one called Talland deliver more concentrated light than most because they have a clear glass shade.

Accent lighting is the third and final layer. Like jewelry, it adds the finishing touch. And a bit of wow.

A modern living room lit up with an Arabella chandelier and two Izza sconces on the back wall in the day time with all the lights on
Lifestyle image of a table with a plant in a vase and some books in a living room in the daytime

This chic living room put the accent on clean, mid-century silhouettes from the top down. Its vintage brilliance, showcasing clear optical crystals that are reminiscent of antique jewelry. The Arabella illuminates from within – delivering a stunning effect of lighting as it casts LED light from above and below the fixture. A true beauty.

Lifestyle image of a book shelf lit up with 6T Tape light
A living room lit up by a Colerne ceiling fan, Marquee sconces on the back wall, and flush mounts, all turned on during the night

In this great room, the full effect of layered lighting is clearly seen. By mixing ambient, task and accent lighting in just the right places, it’s now a place that welcomes all who enter with open arms and makes them want to stay—which is the true secret to lighting your home right.

For more ideas, check out our Light Layering Guide

Light Layering
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