The 3 different types of lighting explained by Manhattan Home Design

Posted by Manhattan Home Design on Jan 15th 2019

One of the best-known decorating clichés is that lighting is everything. It is what makes or breaks a room, as it makes colors look different and accentuates certain parts while keeping others in the shadow. This is completely true, but it isn’t as ominous as people make it sound. All you have to do to make your lights work around the house is keep in mind that there are three different types of lighting, each one with a specific purpose, pros, and cons.

Today we’re going to do an overview of these three types for people who prefer short and concise explanations. You can consider this article an introduction. Later on we will talk about each lighting type individually (on other articles). If you have anything to add or would like to purchase some lighting solutions from Manhattan Home Design, let us know! Now, let’s talk about lamps.

  • 1. Accent lighting

As their name indicates, accent lights don’t have to light up an entire room. Instead, they are used by interiors designers to put an emphasis on specific sections of a given space. The first example are the low lights usually used at museums to illuminate paintings. Another example are light fixtures on the two sides of a bed. Accent lighting is very important, as not every room can (or should) rely on ceiling lights alone. Accent lights can come on any size. For example, you can place an arched floor lamp on a corner of your living room, beside a lounge chair, to create a resting spot. That would count as accent lighting. Ceiling bulbs intended to illuminate the entrance to an apartment or area, like you can observe on some motels and similar places, also count as accent lights.

  • 2.Task lighting

These lamps and fixtures are meant for portable, occasional use. They’re a little like accent lighting but more contained, and their purpose has to do with helping you do something. The quintessential example of task lighting is a desk lamp: they are mostly used for working. However, some other areas can also benefit from task lighting, like kitchens and workshops. A studio with overhead lights illuminating a desk space from above count as both accent and task lighting, no matter the style of the lamp. Other examples include under-cabinet lights.

  • 3. Ambient lighting

This is the common type of lighting fixture, and it’s usually ceiling lights. It is also called general lighting. Chandeliers and ceiling lamps that illuminate whole spaces are the best example of ambient lighting. If you want to learn more you can also research ‘general lighting,’ as sometimes both terms are used interchangeably. These are the most important types of lights, in many an interior designer’s opinion, or at least they should be the first type of lighting you have to consider before moving on to the other ones.

Understanding the three different types of lighting can be the key to putting together an ideal living space. All of these categories are only the gateway to knowing how to use different types of lamps for different types of spaces. Manhattan Home Design has a broad selection of lamps and light fixtures that can serve any of the purposes described here in more than one way, you just need to know what you actually need. Don’t make purchased with only the aesthetics of a lamp in mind.


A pre-order is manufactured just for you or is in the process of being manufactured and allows you to save 40% since we can cut out any storage and warehousing fees.
Our specialized team will start handcrafting it for you and deliver it in just 2-12 weeks. The lead time should show on the page next to the Pre-Order option, feel free to chat with us to confirm it. The standard in the furniture industry is over 20 weeks.
If you have any questions, our team will guide you through the ordering process.


The team was a pleasure to work with - customer service, workmanship, and quality are outstanding. 8 weeks lead time is actually fast for the furniture industry!
-Suzanne Palmer

Being able to customize the color of my furniture was key for us. We placed a custom order, got the colors we needed, and saved big compared to in-stock items. Great experience overall, 12 weeks was worth it!
-Richard Eaton


Custom-made items are put in production within 48 hours after the order is placed.
Pre-orders are not able to be returned or refunded based on buyer’s remorse.
The following terms will apply:

  • Full payment is required for pre-orders.
  • Order can be cancelled within 48 hours without fees.
  • After 48 hours, cancellations will require a 20% fee from the customer.
  • After two (2) weeks a pre-order is placed, the order cannot be canceled, and will have the full right to receive full payment for the order placed for the pre-order item.