The Three Primary Types of Home Lighting

Credit: Modern.Place

Let there be light. Lots and lots of light.

Light can completely change how you and other people view a home. A well-lit home looks comfortable and inviting, a poorly-lit or dark home is unsettling, and an overly-bright home is gaudy. Just a little bit of the ol’ visible spectrum can really brighten up a place, if you’ll pardon that utterly atrocious pun. However, lighting up a home isn’t as simple as dropping a desk lamp on the floor and calling it a day. Different kinds of lights illuminate a home in different kinds of ways. For your information, here are the three primary types of lighting.


Downlight is any light that is coming from above you. Recessed light, fan-mounted lights, chandeliers; if it’s coming from the ceiling, it’s a downlight. Downlighting is one of the most common kinds of lighting installations because it’s similar to the sun. Light from above is something we’re all used to, so it’s comforting. Any shadows it makes are usually underneath stuff, so it usually won’t cast any unflattering silhouettes.

Shaded Light

Shaded light is anything from a mid-range height like a table or floor lamp. Shaded light throws light in all directions from a central point. The reason lamps usually have shades is because without them, their light would be harsh and overly-attention-grabbing, not to mention all of the blob-y shadows it’d create. Shades diffuse light and make it softer, for that pleasant “reading a book by candlelight” effect.


Backlight comes from below. These kinds of installations aren’t usually used for traditional lighting purposes. Rather, a backlight underneath a piece of furniture can really make it pop. A light under a bed or table will cast shadows up the walls around it, drawing all of your attention toward it. You can usually accomplish this with a spotlight on the floor, though certain kinds of furniture do have lights installed.