Where ambient lighting is concerned with the overall illumination and atmosphere of a room, and task lighting is intended to make accomplishing specific duties easier, accent lighting is more about décor than anything else.
Accent lights can certainly be used for practical purposes, but they also give you a chance to add flair to a space in the same way you might use art or plants to create visual interest.
Drawing Attention with Accent Lighting Fixtures
In order to be effective, accent lighting is typically much brighter than the general lighting of a room, generating at least three times as much light. Naturally, this will draw the eye, making it easier to highlight certain areas of a room. Perhaps you have a beautiful brick wall you want to make the focal point of a space. Or maybe you want visitors to notice your landscaping. Indoors or outside, accent lighting is the ideal way to focus attention.
Of course, a subtle approach is generally what you're after. Using recessed and track lighting or wall-mounted picture lights will create a visual priority without being too far over the top.