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3 Reasons Why You Need Accent Lights

3 reasons why you need accent lights

Look around the room you’re in right now; what’s placed there for aesthetic or ornamental purposes? Do these decorative ornaments have dedicated lighting elements for them? Are these lighting elements enough?

Even if you were to live as a minimalist, you’d still have certain decorative elements placed around your apartment or home for decorative purposes. It’s only natural to want works of art, ornaments, or elements to fit your aesthetic.

Broadly classified, there are three types of lighting elements: ambient, task, and accent. The latter most, accent lighting, are used to add accent or to accentuate certain parts of your living space. They’re often the least known type of lighting solutions because task and ambient lights overshadow them – and quite literally at that.

Reasons Why You Need Accent Lights

  1. Number 1: They’re Versatile in Their Use

Modern spotlight style gilded wall light

Shown in Image: Pettersen Modern Spotlight Style Gilded Wall Light

Perhaps the most widely overlooked lighting elements, accent lights are lighting elements and fixtures placed strategically over certain areas to highlight or accentuate them. They’re usually placed over artwork, as wall scones over table tops, and as outdoor accent lights over potted plants. 

Lighting can be divided into two types based on functioning:

  • Mood lighting, and
  • Functional lighting

Mood Lighting

Mood lighting is, in fact, a misnomer. They provide their own dedicated function and that is to set a mood, improve on an aesthetic, and decorative purposes. Accent lights are usually classified as mood lights while task and ambient lights are classified as functional lights.

Accent Lights

Technically, accent lights are directed at strategically angles over areas they’re intended to accentuate. Ambient lights cast illumination at three-hundred and thirty degree angles, whereas accent lights cast illumination over fifty degree angles. This is usually achieved because of their designs and angulation. 

Their designs might call for lampshades or decorative elements over their bulbs and their angulation is usually directed as either downward facing or upward facing. 

  • Downward facing accent lights – These lighting elements are more common. Downward facing lights project their illumination from the top and have something incorporated into their design to keep light in that angle. This could be a lampshade, a bar, or anything of the sort.
    Downward facing accent lights are usually installed over pieces of art, and over table tops. The most common example of lighting over table tops would be of wall scones. Another common example of downward lighting would be of track lights.
    Track lights are multiple lighting elements arranged onto a single bar or a single framework for the entire lighting element. They’re usually seen over vanities, in alley ways, or used for outdoor lighting.
  • Upward facing accent lights – These lighting elements are not as common. Upward facing accent lights are usually seen in dual featured scones. That is, these scones cast accent lighting from above and below.
    Upward facing accent lights are also relatively uncommon because upward lighting casts a shadow over the area that they’re accentuating. Their aesthetic appeal, usually, isn’t as desirable as downward facing accent lights.

Number 2: Indirect Lighting Are Mood Lighting at its Best

Indirect recessed lights

Credits: Renopedia, Starry Homstead

Having understood the concept of mood lighting and overviewing types of accent lights, it’s important to understand that some lights are meant to be used as indirect lights. 

Indirect or Recessed Lights

Indirect lights or recessed lights are practically the opposite of ambient lights. Ambient lights provide general illumination. With one overhanging pendant light, your living room has enough illumination for you to read, watch television, and practically do anything you need to get done.

Recessed lights or indirect lights are strategically placed lights in the corners of your living space to provide for mood lighting. These lights provide some illumination, but not what could be deemed as adequate enough to go about your usual tasks. 

The concept of layered lighting is usually absent when it comes to indirect lighting. Why? Because layering lights means using all three forms of lighting strategically in the same room for three dedicated purposes. 

Indirect lights are intended to be used as solitary light sources. They’re aesthetically pleasing, mood-setting, and visually pleasing lights. Most recessed lights are incandescent (yellow lights) instead of bright halogen lights. 

Number 3: There’s an Accent Light for Everyone

water patterened glass shade wall light

Shown in Image: Leif Elegant Water Patterned Glass Shade Wall Lamp

Track Lighting

Track lights involve multiple lights on a solitary framework for a lighting element. Each individual light can be adjusted in a particular direction to highlight specific parts of the room. Some of these lights are intended solely for decorative purposes (mood lighting) than others for dedicated purposes (functional lighting). 

Picture Lights

Picture lights (as the name indicates) are lights often found overhanging pieces of artwork or picture frames. While you might only rarely find them in a house or an apartment, you’re likely to find them in museums and art exhibitions. 

Tape Lights

Tape lights are all the rage nowadays. These lighting elements work as recessed or indirect lights, illuminating corners of the room. They could also be used to accentuate unique architectural elements in a room. 

Gorgeous gilded track lights

Shown in the Image: Gronar Vintage Gold Track Lights


For every aesthetic you can possibly think of, there’s a scone for it! Scones are wall-mounted fixtures that shine in pretty much any room of the house. Their designs are usually decorative and their functions range from accent to ambient lighting.

Under-Cabinet Lights

These lighting elements are great for kitchens because they brighten up the space and highlight unique touches like counter-tops or common dining areas.

These lighting elements aren’t limited to being used solely as accent lights. Under cabinet lights are also used as additional task lighting elements – if installed in the right place.

They’re versatile in their use: to display ornaments and decorative pieces on shelves, in libraries, and of course in the kitchen.

Outdoor Lights

elegant outdoor lights

Credits: Renopedia, Free Space Intent

Accent lights really shine outdoors – pun intended. Lighting elements highlight items in your porch that you’ve been growing, up-keeping, or maintaining over the course of several months to years.
Some outdoor accent lights are also rated for use in wet locations, meaning they can be submerged in ponds or used to illuminate water features.


In conclusion, accent lights are highly versatile in their use and function. These lighting elements serve both decorations and functional uses – the perfect blend between form and functioning. 

For accent lights ranging from track, recessed, scones, and outdoor lighting solutions, go to online lighting store Light Vault’s website and browse through their exhaustive catalog of lights in all shapes and forms.