The center lighting fixture, a hold over from the days of the chandelier, and the table lamp, which cast more shade than light, both have been cast into the darkness of the outmoded.

The list of lighting fixtures available today is staggering. The floor-based floodlight is a floodlight inside a cylinder or sphere. It can be used to light a whole wall or just a plant or a work of art.

These lamps can also be fitted with grow-light bulbs, so they can be adding nutrients and vitality to your plants while they illuminate them. These cylinders also are available as ceilingmounted fixtures, either to light downwards, to brighten dark areas of floor, or with a slashed diagonal side , to wash a nearby wall with a brilliant accent light. A word of advice: If you use the wall-washer type, never install it closer than two feet from the wall you want to "wash."

The pharmacist's lamp is a small but sturdy floor lamp that looks like a dressed-up version of the one the doctor uses to look into your throat. These come in many shapes and finishes, and are about the best reading lamp available. They are flexible enough to be bent or turned to exactly the right angle.

The clamp lamp comes in many versions, either as an accent spotlight, or as a working table lamp, somewhat like the kind attached to the architect's or designer's drawing board. A newer spinoff comes as a clamp-on shelf light, a clever contraption that not only looks good, but illuminates everything on your shelves.

But the invention of all time is the track light. I like these because they provide instant and effective illumination as wall-washers or accent lights, and can be surface-mounted and attached to a nearby receptacle. The manufacturers have perfected them to such a fine level that you now can buy corner sections so you can have a full ceiling of track; they have also developed just about every kind of decorative or utilitarian fixture to attach to the track.

In fact, the latest development is a fluorescent fixture that not only attaches to a track, but can be moved along it to change the area of light should you need it, a perfect device, for example, for a kitchen where you may decide you need more light for working in one area than in another.

I track-lit a living room to good advantage in an underlighted space. The room was large, and the people who lived there had an equally large collection of fine art works. Their problem was lighting the paintings and sculptures. For years they had used lights that clamp on to each painting; in recent years, however, they had collected so many paintings that their room looked liked a lamp gallery and they had not yet devised a way to illuminate their best sculptures.

Track lighting was an obvious answer. I used the kind that forms a continuous band around the edges of the room, installing it two feet from the walls.