We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.
Decor

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is Accent Lighting?

By N. Phipps
Updated: May 16, 2024

Accent lighting is a form of lighting used most commonly for illuminating walks with subtle light. However, this form of lighting can also be used to highlight key objects and focal points in the home or surrounding landscape. For instance, many people like to display particular pieces of artwork or other collectible items in their home. Others may choose to highlight water features or plants in the garden. When adding light to a specific object, it can help create or set a particular mood to the area as well.

Some of the most common accent lighting fixtures include track, recessed and wall-mounted lights. Track lighting is probably considered the most flexible. Fixtures are placed as needed and aimed in any direction along the track. They can also be used with other light sources, like sconces or lamps. Recessed lighting fixtures blend into their surroundings. These are usually installed in ceilings, under cabinets, or within bookshelves and are available in many styles.

Wall-mounted fixtures are attached directly to a wall or similar surface. They can also be placed above or below the frame of a hanging. Outdoors, light fixtures may include those placed in the ground or specialized lamp fixtures. Forms of accent lighting may include low-voltage halogen lights, fiber optics, metal halides, and LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting.

Halogen lights are great for highlighting or spotlighting objects, as they emit a strong, white light. Fiber optics are good choices for lighting stairs; paths; or water features, like ponds and pools. Metal halides provide soft light and are best used for subtle lighting in small areas. LED lights are becoming more favored. They are more energy efficient, last longer, and are flexible enough for use in various lighting fixtures and situations.

Different types of accent lighting can be used, but path lighting is the most common. Not only does it provide nighttime safety but can also accent interesting patterns, stones, or plants along the way. The use of floodlights can also provide safety. These accents lights are ideal for emphasizing architectural features in the landscape as well. For a more dramatic effect, the use of well lights can be placed in ground or floor fixtures and concealed with plants to cast light upwards.

There is also submersible accent lighting, which is used for creating drama and highlighting ponds or other water features. Backlights are generally placed behind objects to create shadows or silhouettes. All of these types of accent lighting can be used to create various effects with different techniques. For example, silhouetting is used to accentuate an object’s outline. This, as previously stated, is done by placing backlights behind the object and pointing it upwards.

Spotlighting an object involves pointing the lights directly at the intended feature. This popular method is most often used for highlighting focal points in the landscape. Moonlighting can be achieved with recessed light fixtures, which are placed in the ceiling or with floodlights placed in trees. The result is a downward light pattern that mimics natural light from the moon. The type of accent lighting and method used depends on the desired effect to be achieved.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon176942 — On May 17, 2011

thanks for the page. it helped.

Share
HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.