Lighting Terms

There are many different ways that lighting can effect the functionality of your kitchen. How do you decide if you want ambient, accent, task or decorative. Let's start with some definitions.

Accent Lighting

Lighting that is used to accent or highlight a particular object such as a work of art. To be effective accent lighting should be approximately four or five times the level of ambient light in the room.

ADA (American with Disabilities Act)

ADA compliant fixtures do not extend more than 4" from the wall.

Ambient Lighting

General lighting that usually lights up an entire space.


A decorative shaped tube or casting that is used to support a socket that usually has socket wires running through it.

Back Plate

The part of a fixture that mounts to a wall or vertical surface.


A disc or decorative plate that sits under the candle sleeve


The decorative plate that attaches to ceiling to cover the junction box.

Combination Mount

Refers to the ability of a fixture to either be hung by chain or mounted directly to the ceiling.

Compact Flourescent (CFL)

An energy efficient fluorescent bulb with a lifespan that is 10 times longer and 3 to 4 times brighter than an incandescent bulb.


A shield or shade that softens light intensity and/or prevents the light bulbs from being directly exposed.


A device use for varying the brightness of lamps in a lighting installation. Dimming controls are ideal for almost any type of room because they can change the amount of lighting to suit each mood or activity.


Refers to the depth of a wall mounted fixture or the measurement from the wall to the farthest point on the fixture away from the wall.


A small finishing ornament at the crown or bottom of a fixture.

Flush or Semi-Flush Mount

Sometimes refered to as ceiling mounted fixtures, these fixtures mount directl to the ceiling with a "pan" or canopy.

Glass or Shade

A decorative opaque or translucent covering on a light fixture to shield the light source or redirect the light.

LED (Light Emitting Diode)

Extremely efficient and log lasting solid state lighting. Estimated LED chip life = 40,000 hrs.


These fixtures can be used to provide both task and general lighting. Equipped with shades or globes to avoid glare, they are suspended from the ceiling over tables, kitchen counters or other work areas.


An ornamental light fixture attached to a wall to provide additional layers of light to a room.

Task Lighting

Lighting that is specifically installed to light an area where a task is performed.

Top to Outlet

The measurement from the top of the fixture to the center of the outlet box when installed.


An electrical device that transforms the line voltage (usually 120 volts for residential settings or 277 volts for commercial settings) into the voltage that a low voltage lighting system requires ( 12, 15 or 24 volts).


The amount of energy consumed by a light bulb.

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