We take light for granted. Just flick the switch and there it is. We seldom think about the different types of lighting, the right type of lighting or the right amount of lighting. Here we begin to shed some light on light.
Light falls into one of three categories: ambient, task and accent. The type of lighting you want is dependent on the function of the area being lit.
- Ambient (or general) lighting illuminates the entire room and is considered the room’s natural light. You can use a chandelier, pendant light, track lighting or wall scones to create ambient light.
- Task lighting is for a work or reading area. This lighting should be brighter than ambient lighting. Desk lamps and under-cabinet kitchen lights are two good examples.
- Accent lighting highlights a particular area, such as a work of art or bookcase. It may create a shadow around the object for a dramatic effect. You can use wall lights and landscape lights for accent lighting.
Here are some suggestions for room by room lighting:
- Living room: use ambient lighting but also accent lighting to focus on a piece of art or other object.
- Kitchen: use ambient light overhead and task lighting for work areas. Also consider task lighting by the sink.
- Bedroom: Use task lighting on nightstands. Angle overhead ambient light away from the bed and toward the dressing area.
- Bathroom: Use task lighting for the mirror, but be careful because overhead task lighting can create shadows. So consider lighting the mirror on either side. Then use ambient light to illuminate the room.