Accent light serves to showcase a particular piece, feature, or area. Track lighting, recessed light, wall sconces, and even flood-lights fit this category.  Checking your lights for brightness and placement becomes the most important criteria for deciding on accent lighting.

Depending on the item, area, or feature to be showcased, your accent light will have to be placed at a distance where it’s highlighting the subject without drawing attention to itself. At Bulb Daddy, we ask you to consider brightness and placement.

BRIGHTNESS

A staircase lit by LED strips underneath
The lit space under this staircase highlights the elegant curve of the stairs and also the plants placed on the floor.

Unlike decorative lighting–which aims to be the subject of a room on its own–accent lighting is meant to be subtle so as to move attention ONTO another part of the room.

“When I see accent lighting, I should think ‘oh, what a lovely staircase’ before I ever get to ‘oh, cool light strip’,” says one employee at Bulb Daddy. This makes brightness a concern; in order for an accent light to not overpower the subject its highlighting, the light needs to be dim enough to not become the sole focus itself.

Dimmability goes a long way in versatility; not every situation or area needs the same amount of light at every time of day. Customization is the number one suggestion we have for accent lighting–always make sure you have control over how highlighted you want your subject.

Dimmable drivers can be added to many Bulb Daddy brand products, which means your dream of having a can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it futuristic or magical shine to your space can be on at the flick of a switch, or touch of a button.

PLACEMENT

Accent light on either side of a white bedroom. The left is a set-in white line design that is backlit by LED strips. The other side has soft pink patches of accent light.
In this bedroom rendered and created by Raphael Langevin, the LED accent lights on either side of the bed draw the occupant toward the back wall, where the bed is.

Placement is the tough part. Many rooms benefit from recessed accent lights, which do an ample job of showing off their subject, and of being hidden. Besides that, the space becomes dedicated to the accent, which has the added benefit of the space demonstrating that it has a place for everything, including visuals.

The light showing it off allows the art piece or architecture to decide the visual pace, and spatial breakdown of the area. The word that should come to mind is “intention”; the highlighted piece intends to guide the space toward it through design, and to lead people toward it as they enter the space.

PHOTO CREDIT: Hutong Restaurant - The Shard, London Copyright - Richard Southall/Ilona Zielinska
Dimmable LED track lights draws the person in the space toward the table and art without being the focus of the room. [PHOTO CREDIT: Hutong Restaurant – The Shard, London Copyright – Richard Southall/Ilona Zielinska]

Another option is to throw caution to the wind, and get track lights. Visible track lights are accent lights for a reason; they are already understated pieces designed to take a back seat to the space. Spaces that have layered, coffered, or otherwise busy ceilings may have an easier time concealing a fixture, but a visible track light also shows intention, which is what accent lighting is all about.

Understated, rather than hidden, is an excellent way to have accent lights, especially when the subject changes (art galleries, seasonal decorations, hall of fame). The added articulation of the knuckle joints provides movement, which can’t be done with recessed lighting (unless it’s recessed AND on a gimbal, like this). Being able to angle your light, rather than committing to a more stationary set-up, can give your accent space the versatility to change to a seating area (or any other function), too.

A proper distance and angle will need to be determined with the room’s particular measurements in mind. Angling the lights away from where they can cause glare is essential. Our team can help you with that aspect.

A neon green painted wall with glass shelves that glow.
Accent lighting can also be subtle, like these lit-from-within glass shelves. You’ll also find this image on our Pinterest board!

If you’re interested in starting an accent lighting project, bring in a picture of the room you’d like to outfit with a light to 1100 Terminal Way, Reno, NV, and an idea of where you’d like the accent light to be. It also always helps to bring in a light from the rest of the room so our helpful staff can match your accent light to your idea and subject and also the surrounding illumination.

Accent lighting can be elusive because it’s trying to not be noticed. We caught a few rooms on our Pinterest board “accent lighting” that fit the bill, and it’s a great resource for planning a new light design:

Not looking for accent light? Try one of these:

Decorative Lighting

Ambient Lighting

Task Lighting

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