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Light Fitting (Luminaire) types

Light Fitting (Luminaire) types

The following information is intended to illustrate the types of fittings available and the categories to which they are classed.

You can browse and shop for light fittings online here: LightStore.co.za.

This info guide explains the different types of lighting – ambient (or general), task and accent, how to use them effectively and which light fittings to use to create your desired lighting effect.



What is ambient lighting?

This is one of the most common types of lighting. Ambient light is a soft glow that blankets your space just enough for you to function without causing a harsh glare. In photography and cinematography, ambient light is considered the “natural light” within a room. In décor, ambient light is very similar, except you create the ambient light by making the room’s lighting as natural and flat as possible.

While ambient light is meant to get you safely from point A-to-B, it is not ideal for working closely with things or to highlight things around your space.

How to light a room with ambient lighting?

When used correctly, ambient light creates a fantastic environment to relax from an overly stressful day or to have a warm conversation with an old friend. Ambient lighting is often referred to as mood lighting. Some yoga studios have even begun using the softer ambient lighting in their classes to help draw stress from the body.

It is recommended to use the following light fittings to create ambient light:


What is task lighting?

This is a smaller more concentrated light. You want task lighting around when you’re working. Task lighting is meant to help you see when you’re doing projects in which you need a finer light, such as, reading, cooking, writing, or working on small things. Task lighting only works well when it is used as a contrasting light. For example, if you have a low-lit room with  lamp turned on over your desk, the light over the desk surface will be more effective with less glare or shadow-effect than if the entire room was lit with a brighter light.

How to use task lighting?

Task lighting helps naturally stimulate your brain. The contrasting light allows you to be more alert and concentrated. This will help you see more details as you work. It is recommended to use the following light fittings to create task lighting:


What is accent lighting?

This is a very concentrated light with the intention of drawing the eye to its focal point. Accent lighting is a way of adding style and drama to your home. This will help you illuminate the pieces you want on display, while shadowing dull areas. People use accenting for wall washing, artwork, bookcase displays, pieces of furniture, collections, and the general architecture of their homes.

How to use accent lighting?

Accent lighting is one of the types of lighting that creates a very sophisticated atmosphere. It evokes feelings of meaning and importance to the images it displays. This lighting type is used a lot for museums, historical buildings, and art shows.

It is recommended to use the following light fittings to create accent light:









Chandelier lighting

These light fixtures work fantastic with taller ceilings. You can choose which height is best for your lighting needs. Chandeliers are very classic pieces that work well in foyers, over the bath in the bathroom, or over large dining room tables.







Ceiling lighting

Flush and semi-flush ceiling lighting is very versatile and discrete and can work almost anywhere. Ceiling lighting is standard in hallways, bedrooms, kitchens, and outdoor spaces, such as, patios and porches.







Pendant lighting

Pendants are great because they can be placed in many areas and can hang directly above workspaces. Depending on the style and placement of the pendant, you can use these for ambient, task, or accent lighting.

Use a series of pendants with clear or light-coloured shades for ambient lighting, two or more pendants with dark coloured shades for task lighting  or one or two pendants over a side table or other focal point to create accent lighting.







Recessed lighting

Not only can recessed lights be used for general room lighting, but recessed lighting can also be used for accent lighting depending on where you place them. Place them in your ceiling or in your floor close to the wall to create a wall washing affect to illuminate a wall texture, a colourful paint design or display a large feature window.







Wall lighting & sconces

Wall lights are fantastic for designing accent lighting. They come in a range of sizes that allow you to highlight big or small pieces of art. These work great on art walls and for showcasing any architectural feature in a space.

Picture lights

Picture lights are specially designed to offer the best illumination for framed photos or artworks. They are wall-mounted fittings that project light onto a piece of artwork. What’s so great about them is that they are affordable, super easy to install, and they really add a sense of drama to any artwork – making it museum-worthy and serving as an additional piece of décor for the room in question. Picture lights can also serve as a great source of ambient lighting in living or dining rooms, and hallways for example.

Four essential considerations when selecting and installing picture lights:

  1. Select the correct size

The bigger the picture, the more light you will need to illuminate it. For portrait pictures, the rule of thumb is to choose a picture light that is approximately half the width of the picture. For landscape pictures, you will need to select a picture light that measures between one third, or half of the width of the picture.

  1. Choose your light source carefully

LED’s are an excellent source of light for picture lights – they don’t give off any heat, they are exceptionally affordable to run, and they last for ages. Some picture lights even come with integrated LED lights for maximum convenience.

  1. Position of the light

When positioning a light over the artwork, always bear in mind that the goal is to achieve an even spread of light over the entire picture, avoiding any “hot spots” on the top half. This is achievable by installing the picture light about 13cm – 18cm above the top of your artwork. Most picture lights can be adjusted so that you can achieve the perfect angle for the light. The ideal angle of the light is 30 degrees, so that there is no glare or reflection of the glass of your frame.

  1. Colour and finish

Picture lights generally come in metallic colours that can be used with any frame – for frames with a traditional design, then brass or satin silver is recommended; and for modern frames, then chrome or black is best suited.







Track lighting

Track lights are suitable in most areas throughout your home or office.







Swing arm and table lamps

Use lamps on your desks, bedside tables, mounted next to your favourite chair or anywhere you need a little extra light for working. Swing arm lamps allow you to adjust the light anyway you’d like. Since lamps are lightweight, portable, and adjustable these are the ideal task lights.







Bathroom lighting

Bathrooms need to be aesthetically pleasing and practical spaces, so it is essential that they are well lit.







Outdoor lighting

These lights are the best for showing off the outside of your home. Use landscape lighting to light up a pathway, prized garden or deck.