Caroline Van Wouwe

Caroline Van Wouwe

What you need to know about accent lighting

Lighting which puts a certain element in your house in the spotlight, is called accent lighting. You can use it to highlight a painting, a book shelf or the architectural shapes of your home. It can even add value to your garden. But how can you get the most out of accent lighting? In this article, you’ll learn all about it.

What is accent lighting?

Lighting is mainly divided into two categories: mood lighting and functional lighting.

As the name already gives away, functional lighting serves a direct, practical use, for example illuminating a workspace or a table. Mood lighting on the other hand is mostly used for decorative reasons.

Indirect lighting is often used as mood lighting. You can apply it to create a cozy ambiance or to give a stylish touch to your interior. However, indirect lighting can also be functional. Just think of LED strips that indirectly light the kitchen counter.

Accent lighting is also in the same category. It draws attention to certain elements by shining some extra light on them. This way, you can (literally) put a painting or a plant in the spotlight. This lighting technique adds aesthetical value, which can be used to influence the ambiance of your home.

Technical background

Before we take a look at some nice examples of accent lighting, it might be interesting to explore a little more of the technical story behind this lighting technique.

When it comes to accent lighting, the beam angle is one of the most important features. The beam angle (also known as opening angle) determines the width of the beam coming from a lamp. A traditional incandescant bulb’s beam angle for example is somewhere around 330°, because the light gets spread in all directions (except for the fitting).

Angle LED lighting versus incandescant bulb

This kind of diffused lighting isn’t very interesting for accent lighting. For this purpose you need a more focussed beam. LED spots with their sleek beams are a very good solution, ’cause they give off very little glare.

Interior accent lighting

Probably you’re here to find some inspiration. So it’s about time we take a look at some examples of accent lighting.

Works of art

Accent lighting is often used to highlight a beautiful painting. This way the attention gets immediately drawn to the piece of art.

Accentverlichting Modular Minude and Medard

The painting gets accentuated with two elegant beams, coming from Modular Lighting Minude and Medard spots.

Accentverlichting schilderij en beeld Modular Bolster

Accent lighting isn’t only used for paintings, it can also be used for statues.

There are several ways to light a piece of art. The easiest way is to put adjustable build-on spots, like the modern Wever & Ducré Sqube or the elegant Absinthe Connor. Another perfect solution is aimable recessed lighting.


Accent lighting in a niche can also be visually appealing. The picture below shows you a nice example. The recessed spot draws attention to the work of art and makes the space look deeper than it actually is – an optical trick that is often used.

Accentverlichting Nis

By highlighting the niche, the room gets optically enlarged.


Accent lighting can also be used on closets. You can for example accentuate your book collection with adjustable spots or recessed lighting.

Accentverlichting boekenkast

The book shelf gets highlighted with the aid of a rail system.

Accentverlichting Modular Lighting

Modern and subtle accent lighting with some recessed spots.


A lot of interior designers like to play with patterns and textures. By using remarkable shapes and materials, they add a creative touch to a room. To even draw more attention to the wall and its special texture, you can highlight it with accent lighting, as in the picture below.

Accentverlichting Modular Lighting wand

The texture of the wooden wall gets accented by the recessed lighting.

Exterior accent lighting

So far, we have only talked about accent lighting in the home. There are also a lot of options outside. So far we’ve only discussed interior accent lighting. But also outdoors, there are a lot of possibilities.


With the aid of ground spots you can illuminate trees, plants or decorative pieces in your garden. This way they also come to their own at night.

The choice in ground spots is enormous. The Absinthe ground spots for example are a very durable and energy saving choice. Also the Delta Light Logic is a great choice for this purpose.

Accentverlichting DeltaLight Logic R

The Delta Light Logic floor uplighters give life to the tree and its foliage.


Paths or driveways next to the house can get lit with garden posts or wall lights. This way you add some extra grandeur. It also adds to the safety at night.

Accentverlichting DeltaLight Flip

The garden lampposts make the passage safe and cause a fun highlighting of the garden path.


On facades accent lighting is mainly used to highlight the entrance and also for safety reasons. With ground spots or wall lights, you can light your facade in a very stylish way. This immediately adds some refinement to your home. You can also use it to illuminate your house number.

Delta Light Logic

This Delta Light Logic draws the attention to the concrete texture.