What is Ambient Light and Why Shouldn’t You Overlook it

What is Ambient Light and Why Shouldn’t You Overlook it

What is Ambient Light and Why Shouldn’t You Overlook it

When you walk into a room at night, what do you do first? Turn the light on, right? Now, consider what is the first light switch you look for. This light switch is most likely connected to the main ambient light. As the principal source of illuminating a space, ambient lights are almost always enabled before task and accent lights.

what is ambient light-chandelier

Ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting are the three primary forms of lighting used to improve a place. An effective lighting plan makes the most use of these three forms of lighting to illuminate a room based on purpose and style. Task and accent lighting are more focused on a single function, whereas ambient lighting offers general illumination to a room. This sort of illumination should never be underestimated.

What is Ambient Lighting?

By definition, the term “ambient lighting” is also used to refer to general lighting. Ambient lighting dominates the lighting landscape of any space. This lighting category generally includes the main lights that you utilize to illuminate the entire area.

Ambient light also has a way of setting the mood in a room. The amount of ambient lighting determines whether a space is bright, homely, a little darker, or more chilling.  

Ambient lighting is often hung from the ceiling. Chandeliers, pot lights, and track lights, among many others, contribute to the ambient lighting of a space. 

Table and floor lights can also help to illuminate a room. This is especially true if you intend to use one to illuminate a big area of the space. However, there are occasions when these lights are referred to as task lights. On the other hand, there are instances when you’re confined to a tiny area with limited space and don’t need the entire space to be brightly lighted. At these times, task and accent lights will come into play. 

The most fundamental of the three forms of lighting is ambient lighting. It’s the natural light coming in through your windows, as well as the artificial lighting that acts as a substitute for natural light. 

Ambient lighting is essentially indirect lighting. A soft light that is reflected off the ceiling. It reduces the shadows on people’s faces and fills the room with equal brightness, opening up the architecture and drawing people in. Ambient light may be produced in a number of ways.  

The following are examples of ambient lighting fixtures: 

Image source: MODERN.PALACE

The Benefits of Ambient Lighting 

At home, ambient lighting is generally provided by the main light source in your room, which will likely radiate a bright white light across the whole space, allowing you to see clearly and avoid eye strain. Ambient light is typically lowered in bedrooms, restaurants and bars to provide warmth and depth to a place and encourage customers to relax. Furthermore, if people are at ease, they are more inclined to remain longer and so spend more money.  

Various studies indicate that the lighting conditions of a room may have a significant impact on people’s physiological and psychological behavior. Proper ambient lighting (cooler light) offers pleasant illumination levels without glares, which assists in the creation of a productive atmosphere. Glare reduction guarantees that you can work comfortably in the environment and avoid discomforts such as eye strain, migraines, and headaches.

Ambient lighting sets the tone in this San Francisco space. Photo: Randall Whitehead; Interior Design: John G. Hartin, Turner Martin Design

How to Add Ambient Lighting to a Room

To obtain the best outcomes, consider the following variables when selecting ambient lighting for each room: 

Choose the right location 

You’ll need to first select where you’ll place your lights by identifying the important locations you wish to illuminate. You’ll want your ambient light to be well distributed and balanced, so avoid lighting up only one area of the room and leaving the remainder in darkness. Don’t be concerned if there are any tiny places that appear a little gloomy, as you can simply brighten them up later with accent and task lighting, such as lamps and strip lights.

The first step in deciding on a place for your installation is to assess a specific room in the dark. You can turn off as many lights as you like without losing vision of the room, and then mark the places that need to be highlighted. Pathways, reading rooms, fireplaces, coffee tables, bookcases, seating areas, and plants are common features of these locations. 

It is critical to strike a balance when deciding where to use ambient lighting. A huge room will be imbalanced if just one corner is lit. Attempting to illuminate every part of the room, on the other hand, might make it excessively bright, which is definitely not the atmosphere you’re aiming for.

The easiest approach to establish balance in this sort of lighting is to illuminate a specific location, most likely at the front of the room, and place a table lamp in the rear corner of the room.

Colour temperature

Choosing the most suitable color temperature is critical for mood lighting. To create a welcome and soothing ambiance, warm white LED bulbs with a comfortable yellow glow are a safe choice. 

The temperature of a light is measured in Kelvins, which range from blazing white at 2000K to cool, blueish lights at 6500K. We propose LEDs with color temperatures ranging from 2000k (flame white) to 3000k for your ambient lighting (warm white). This type of lighting is ideal for creating a cozy environment around dining and living spaces while yet providing adequate illumination for individuals to conduct basic chores.

Color rendering index

Ambient lighting must be more than simply aesthetically pleasing; it must also be functional. Color rendering index (CRI) refers to a light’s ability to accurately display the colors of diverse objects when compared to a natural light source (sunlight). It is assessed on a scale of 0–100, with 0 being a low CRI and 100 representing the highest. 

We recommend a CRI of at least 75 in your house, which is equivalent to the CRI of daylight. Utilize lighting with a CRI of 90 or above in clothing stores or restaurants if it’s for illuminating a commercial store where the colors of the items being sold are essential. 

If you want to understand more about CRI ratings, read our guide on CRI


Because the tone in your area during the day is likely to be very different from the mood in the evening, you’ll want a dimmable lighting to reflect that. Dimmable LED lights are ideal for this since they can be kept bright throughout the day for a more lively atmosphere, but lowered at night to create a more comfortable, calm atmosphere.

Accent lighting

After you’ve placed your ambient lighting, you can add some personality to your area by installing accent lighting. There are several methods to do this, including utilizing table lights or LED strips to emphasize essential elements of the space. Yeelight LED Light Strip 1S can be used to add tasteful accents throughout your home, including your dining room, bedroom, kitchen, patio, and living room. They’re especially great for adding décor for holidays, parties, and special events.

When selecting LED strip lights for accent lighting, it is critical to examine the number of LEDs per meter. If there aren’t enough LEDs for the length of tape, you’ll wind up with tiny spots of light instead of a continuous line, which won’t give you the sleek effect you want. We propose using an Yeelight LED Light Strip 1S Extension up to 10 32.8 feet long to avoid this.

Creating the right ambient lighting can be very technical and complex and there are some variables to consider in making an excellent plan. However, when achieved, it surely can improve the dull appearance of a room and make it more impressive by giving a little personality.

Examples of Ambient Lighting Design

Photo: Randall Whitehead; Interior Design: John G. Martin, Turner Martin Design

The dark floor absorbs light, making the white area rug with black calligraphy stand out aesthetically. Without indirect illumination, the whole ceiling plane would be black. It also makes the rooms appear bigger while highlighting the wood and beams. The accent lighting gives complexity to the area, while the ambient lighting sets the cozy and elegant tone for the room.  

Photo: Randall Whitehead; Interior Design: John G. Martin, Turner Martin Design

The bedroom demonstrates how the ambient lighting gives softness to this black and white environment. Accent lighting highlights the artwork, while table lamps provide a beautiful glow as well as some reading light near the bed. The key objective is to include ambient lighting into your entire design strategy. Ambient light is what makes a room home.

Consider the glow of light produced by a raging fire in the fireplace. That soothing light showers you. You’re pulled in by its warm amber glow and want to melt in it. Well. ambient light may convey this sensation throughout a house, a restaurant, or a hotel lobby. Without it, the accent lights take center stage. This is known as the “museum effect”, in which the items in the room become more significant than the people who occupy that area.

Ambient Lighting is the First Layer of Your Home Lighting 

Ambient lighting is one of the three basic forms of lighting – it’s critical to remember that every space requires a combination of these to design an efficient lighting environment. As is often the case, selecting lighting for your house is not as easy as it may look! Some spaces require all three forms of lighting to precisely layer the lighting, while others just require one or two types of lighting. Depending on your personal requirements or preferences, you may be able to make a more flexible selection. 

 In summary, we typically begin planning our lighting schemes with ambient lighting and then go on to determine the places where accent lighting would be required. It is typically best to move from generic to particular when picking the many forms of lighting you will utilize in your circumstance. We’ll walk you through ambient light’s definition, its “why”, “where”, and “how”, hoping this will help you design a better ambient light setting for your place!