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Good lighting can transform the look and feel of a room into something beautiful. The right lighting can prompt productivity, make us feel relaxed and affect how we perceive textures and colours arguably more than any other design element. Whether acting as the major focal point in a room or more of a supporting detail, we’ve compiled a go-to guide to making selections that are as attractive as they are practical.

The 3 Types of Lighting


A soft lighting that’s fundamental to almost every room in your home, it glows from overhead in the form of pendants or use dimmers to control the amount of ambient light in a room.


Pictured: The Bradbury model home at Camber Woods in Gastonia, North Carolina.


Add drama and set the mood with this decorative lighting in the form of wall sconces, track or recessed lighting that’ll draw the eye to standout pieces in your space.


Pictured: The Hamilton model home at Kennington in Charlotte, NC. 


Also known as directional lighting, this can be recessed or track lighting as well as a floor, desk or table lamps to illuminate a workspace, reading nook or kitchen island when completing a particular function.


Pictured: The Harleigh model home at Empire Halcyon in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Types of Lighting Fixtures


A popular choice for living areas, dining rooms and open-concept spaces, chandeliers can direct ample light upward over a table or entryway to make an elegant statement. Pictured: Clive Large Brass Chandelier, Crate & Barrel.


Illuminating downward to provide ambient or task lighting, pendant lighting is helpful for anchoring a table or kitchen island in a single, pair or multiples. Pictured: PB Classic Cord Pendant – Glass Globe, Pottery Barn.

Surface Mounts

Usually flush or semi-flush on a hallway ceiling or in the middle of a room, they can be nearly invisible or make a big impact to illuminate a small space no matter the style. Pictured: Nina Alabaster Brass Flush Mount Light Large, CB2.

Wall Sconces

Alone or in a pair, sconces are perfect for bedrooms and bathrooms or anywhere a strong flood of mounted light is needed in a small space, such as framing a window, mirror or artwork. Pictured: Adjustable Geo Sconce in Milk, West Elm.

Desk, Floor & Table

As extremely versatile and portable sources of light, these can go in almost any room to add a less permanent upgrade and make a style statement. Pictured: Stanton Floor Lamp, Lighthouse Co.


A linear fixture with several heads positioned along a track, this style allows you to direct attention to certain corners of a room. Pictured: Monica Track Head in Black by Radionic Hi Tech, Wayfair.

Know Your Bulbs

We shed some light on the four most common types of lightbulbs.


The most common and affordable household bulb, they provide warm light but are the least energy-efficient. Incandescent bulbs are best for floor or table lamps, chandeliers and kitchen pot lights.


Provides warm light and more hours than incandescent, but can be hot to touch.


Provides cool light and more energy efficiency for low-traffic areas like garages, basements and hallways.


The longest-lasting and most energy-efficient of bulbs, they are expensive but great for directional lighting, under counter or task lighting when you need diffused light.


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