The Art of Accent Lighting

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting creates a visual interest and typically provides illumination for a particular object, work surface, or in a particular direction. Accent lighting is refreshingly versatile and can be used alone or as a complement to your ambient illumination.

Directional Lighting Fixtures

True to its name, accent lighting is used to accent a particular area or object. As a way of creating drama in the room, directional fixtures can be positioned to throw beams of light at a certain focal point, like a piece of artwork.

The most common options are – Accent, Recessed/Semi-Recessed Downlight, and Track.

Vertical adjustments have a range of 35 degrees, from floor level to a particular wall height. On the horizontal plane, directional lighting fixtures can swivel to cover a full 360 degrees.

Recessed and semi-recessed downlights aim their illumination in only one direction. As you probably guessed, that would be down. Depending on light bulb size, their apertures typically range between 3-8 inches.

Track lighting, on the other hand, offers complete versatility when it comes to light positioning. Beams can be focused on virtually any location or object, offering endless possibilities for creative, accent lighting. It’s important to note that track lighting can become distracting unless properly distributed. To avoid lighting that is confusing, carefully plan the visual interest you choose to spotlight.

Lighting should be bounced off of something, so it is not floating aimlessly or making direct contact with anyone’s eyes. Beyond spotlighting artwork, track lights can add drama to houseplants, shelving, textured walls and ceilings, or even things like bottles in your bar.

The Best Bulbs for Acccent Lighting

LED light bulbs are favorable for accent lighting, as they emit light in the direction they are pointed, as opposed to fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, which emit light in every direction.


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