Ambient, Task, and accent lighting

Did you know that lighting can affect your mood? Studies have shown that lighting is not solely a visual component. It also has biological and psychological effects that can impact our well-being. With that said, let’s discuss the basics.

Ambient, task, and accent lighting are terms you should know. Why? Simply put, you should have all of these types of lighting in every room. Utilizing ambient, task and accent lighting in a room is essential aesthetically and can also make you feel happier.

The ceiling fixtures along with the recessed lighting are the rooms ambient lighting source
Photo by Jean-Philippe Delberghe on Unsplash

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is the general all-over lighting of a room. It may be a ceiling fixture in the center of the room or recessed lights in the ceiling. I often choose to use a central fixture for aesthetic appeal in addition to recessed lighting that will provide balanced all-over light.

The pendant lights provide task lighting
Photo by Naomi Hébert on Unsplash

Task Lighting

Task Lighting is lighting that is intended to provide light for a specific function. A good example is pendant lights used to illuminate the cooking prep area. It may be a table lamp, giving light to read by.

The floor lamp provides task lighting
Photo by Hutomo Abrianto on Unsplash

Accent Lighting

Accent Lighting is used to highlight an object or feature of a room. A light shining on a painting or highlighting a texture on a wall is an example of accent lighting. It is always a good design idea to use accent lighting to accentuate the best architectural features of a room.

The cabinet lighting is an example of accent lighting.

When developing a lighting plan, ask yourself the following questions:

1-What is my ambient lighting source? Is it balanced?

2-What areas of this room do I need additional lighting for specific functions?

3-What are the best features of this room that I could highlight with accent lighting? Are there any objects that I need to highlight with accent lighting?

Good lighting is so important in design! A well-lit room has layers of lighting combining ambient, task, and accent lighting when used together can create a spectacular feel-good room! I hope you had a chance to read my other two posts on Lighting, Let’s talk about lighting and How to know what size chandelier to buy. If you want to learn more about the psychological impact of light, follow this link to a great resource.

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lets talk chandelier size

How to know what size chandelier to buy

Tricks to select the correct size chandelier

In last week’s blog, “Let’s talk about lighting,” I promised more mini-posts covering this all-important topic expressing it was my attempt at lighting up your life. Today I am focussing on chandelier size because this is an area where I see many design blunders.

Over the years, I have learned a few tricks which can help determine what size chandelier to purchase. I’ll share them, but I caution that they only provide a general guideline. There is a lot more to consider. But we will get to that.

Trick 1: To determine the size of a chandelier over a dining room table, divide the width of your dining room table in half. If your table is 42″ wide, the size of your chandelier should be 21″. This guideline is not limited to chandeliers but is also helpful for other types of table lighting.

Trick 2: To determine the chandelier’s size for a room, add the room’s width and length together. If the room is 12′ by 12′, the Chandelier size should be 24″.

These two “tricks” make specifying the size of a chandelier seem easy-peasy. Unfortunately, nothing in design is that straight forward or simple. There are so many other factors to consider! If you stick to guidelines, the good news is, they will prevent you from having an undersized lighting fixture. But this is where it can get sticky.

This chandelier adds elegance and drama.
Photo by Sidekix Media on Unsplash

Consider the design statement you are making

The intended design statement has to be considered. There are times you may want to have the light over a table under-scaled. The under-scaled fixture in the photo below supports the minimalist design theme. The reverse is also true. It is easy to see how an over-sized chandelier or light fixture can support a theme of grandeur or opulence. But it also can be used to emphasize other themes or simply be an artful expression.

table with pendant lighting
Excellent example of how under-scaled lighting supports the design theme of minimalism

Consider the visual weight of the light fixture that you choose

Simple fixtures may not have high impact in a room unless they are over-sized. Elaborate lighting fixtures may steal all of the attention in the room if they are over-sized. Unless that is the intent, I would stay true to the guidelines.

Ceiling height also matters!

The above tricks are helpful but they do not take the cubic area of a room into consideration. If you have high ceilings, the fixture size needs to be bigger. Additionally, the higher it is hung, the bigger it should be.

Photo by Houzlook .com from Pexels
Photo by Designecologist from Pexels

Selecting the right size chandelier or light fixture is not a cut and dry process. The tricks I shared should give you a basic guideline to use as a starting point. Then, take all the other elements of the room, the fixture itself, as well as the design style you are trying to achieve into consideration before finalizing your selection.

In the next couple of upcoming posts, we will keep talking about lighting. I LOVE sharing the whole world of design with you. If you have not yet subscribed, enter your email below so you don’t miss anything.


CARTOON DESIGNER WITH CHANDALIER.  Texts says,"lets talk about lighting."

All the news is dark and gloomy these days, so I think it is a great time to talk about lighting. This post is the first of a series of mini-posts about lighting, my literal attempt to light up your life.

Have you been to a lighting galley recently or even just browsed online? If you have, you know that lighting fixtures once thought of as just being functionally necessary have evolved into spectacular works of art.

This table and chairs are simple by design but the sculptural element of the chandelier makes the whole room feel alive. Photo by Vecislavas Popa on

When strolling through my favorite lighting stores, I am in awe of the opportunities of expression these beautiful fixtures present. I know that the right lighting fixture can elevate the drama in a room and set the stage for style.

black kettle beside condiment shakers and green fruits and plants on tray on brown wooden table
Lighting can define your style and become a dynamic focal point. Photo by Mark McCammon on

Often for me, It is difficult to resist the impulse to indulge in a new set of lamps. When I see sensational lamps, I immediately think, where can I put those because I most definitely need them! Today’s lamp designs offer many choices of sizes, colors, and shades—what a superb opportunity to make a splash in a room.

Because I am infatuated with lamps, I am often surprised when clients say they don’t need lamps because they have ceiling lighting. This statement tells me that many people don’t realize lighting needs to be layered and come from various sources. In my opinion, the more, the better.

In upcoming posts, we will talk about the different lighting types. This first blog post’s purpose is to open your eyes to what lighting fixtures offer aesthetically and get you excited about lighting up your world.

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Happy New Year!

“A very happy new year to you and your loved ones. May it be filled with happiness and many blessings.”

Warmest Regards, Barbara Rose

What a crazy ride this past year has been. Aside from the pandemic, 2020 had numerous challenges for both myself and my family. During these difficult times, I practiced what I preach, and my home was my sanctuary. My home designed to bring me happiness, also brought me comfort and helped me cope. Blogging had to be put on the back burner, but I am hopeful that 2021 will allow me to get back to sharing my passion for creating beautiful, comfortable homes (A.K.A sanctuaries) because that is what I love to do.

Although 2020 was not a typical year, the design world has been flourishing, providing me with much to share with you in 2021. Behind the scenes, designers have had more opportunities to fine-tune their skills made possible by online professional development courses and webinars’ vast offerings. Additionally, many homeowners have decided it is time to redo and freshen up their homes. I am receiving calls from past clients, saying, “it is time to redo the whole house.” I hope you share my optimism and that you also feel that 2021 is going to be a great year.

It has been a while, and I am looking forward to reconnecting with you in 2021. Meantime browse around for design inspiration and refreshers. Learn what design2bhappy is all about by visiting these links: Design 2B Happy what does that mean?Incorporate Good Mood Influence into your decor.

THANK YOU to my subscribers. I hope you have enjoyed my past posts and have enjoyed what I write about. As you know by now, I am all about helping others create a look good, FEEL GOOD home because I truly believe our home environment has a significant impact on our life and happiness.

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Make your living room design the best by avoiding these ten most common livingroom decorating mistakes. 

Mistake #1 Creating a rarely-used room.

Think about your needs to make sure you design a living room that will be used, loved, and enjoyed. In the past, living rooms were used for formal entertaining. Continuing this tradition sometimes results in a room that not used often. If this is the case for you, consider additional ways the living room could function, such as a cozy place to read, play a game, or a comfortable place for families to talk at the end of each day. 

Blue and white living room
Photo by Sidekix Media on Unsplash

Mistake #2 Not paying attention to scale.

It is crucial to select furniture that is in proportion to the room. A large, overstuffed sofa looks plush and comfortable, but it will overwhelm a small space. A sofa with a petite appearance would be a better choice and can even help to make it the room appear more spacious. 

Mistake #3 Creating a room you are afraid to use

It is imperative to choose the best fabrics for the use of the space. Be careful not to get caught up in the “pretty.” For pieces that will be well used, select high-performance fabrics that can withstand it all; children, pets, and wine spills. If the room gets a lot of substantial sun exposure, the fade resistance of the fabric becomes a factor. The good news is that there are many options available in high-performance fabrics that are both beautiful and durable. You don’t have to block off the living room with velvet ropes anymore.

Photo by DeMorris Byrd on Unsplash

Mistake #4 Forgetting the ceiling

All surfaces are game, even the ceiling. Make it contribute to your design scheme by adding trim, wallpaper, beams, or just by painting it a color other than white. Treating the ceiling adds drama and has a huge visual impact on the room.

Mistake #5 Hanging wall decor too high

The best placement for art and other wall decor is for the middle of the piece to be at the eye level of an average height person, which is 60″ off the floor. This height is standard for rooms with an eight-foot ceiling. If you have high ceilings, hang a few inches higher. So remember, If you are looking up, the artwork is too high.

Mistake #6 Missing the opportunity to use decorative trim

It’s all in the details! Think well-coordinated trims, decorative tapes, and nail heads to embellish drapery, pillows, and furniture. In the end, these little details add to the custom look and make a lasting impression.

Mistake #7 Not planning for different needs

Good design is flexible and can accommodate changing needs. Swivel chairs and furniture with casters can be moved quickly and easily. Ottomans can be stored under a sofa table for extra seating when needed. 

Cream living room
Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash

Mistake #8 Not incorporating multiple types of lighting sources in your living room design

Incorporating multiple sources of lighting adds atmosphere and interest to a room. Recessed ceiling lights provide balanced illumination. Lamps add visual appeal and bring light to specific areas. Sconces and other forms of accent lighting highlight artwork or displayed items in a space. 

#9 Making every piece the star

One of my favorite design expressions is, “not every piece has to be the star.” The pieces in your room should not all be competing for your attention. Pick one or two that are unique to be highlighted and let all other selections play a supporting role. 

Photo by Sidekix Media on Unsplash

#10 Not personalizing the room

Your living room should reflect you and the others that live in your home. Don’t get so caught up in creating a magazine-worthy living room that you overlook adding your personal effects. Incorporate the things you love, and what makes you happy. After all, making it a home that is perfect for you is what it is all about!

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