Different Types of Lights in Restaurants

interior of a modern restaurant

As a restaurant owner, finding the right lights for your business may seem overwhelming. When it comes to getting the right solutions in terms of fixtures and placement, it is important to know the different types of lights in restaurants as a starting point. Here are the main types of lighting used in this unique setting.


When looking at the different types of lights in restaurants, general is the most obvious and noticeable for both owners and customers alike. This is usually the main source of light in a space whether it's the dining area or the kitchen where staff prepare meals. This type of lighting should be bright with high lumen output and a wide cast light scope to provide general visibility. There are a few common types of lighting used for general lighting needs but there are differences between customer areas and staff areas. For the customer areas, general lighting can be found in a range of fixture options such as overhead chandelier fixtures, recessed can lights, track lighting, and pendant mounted fixtures. These are usually made to be attractive to look at while still giving enough light to enjoy a meal. For the staff areas, general lights are about function rather than style. A few examples of lighting solutions for this area include options such as recessed troffers which are easy to keep clean and shatterproof options in areas where heat and vapors are a concern.


As a type of lighting that is only for the staff rather than the customers, task lighting is any type of lighting required to perform a specific task such as cooking, washing dishes, or chopping vegetables. This type of lighting is meant to offer a more direct light spread than general lighting because it is lower down in its mounted position or offers less of a diffused light. Task lighting can be everything from area lights with a concentrated circle of illumination being cast down on a prep table to individual lamps mounted to a wall to provide extra illumination other than what general light fixtures offer to the area.


When looking at different types of lights in restaurants, accent lighting is used in the customer areas. Accent lighting is more about ambiance and mood than necessarily adding to the overall illumination of a space. Accent lighting is meant to draw attention to certain areas such as any artwork or features you want to highlight in the dining area. This type of lighting can be seen in such options as recessed can lights, rope lighting, and wall sconces.