Lighting is one of the most important features of your home, yet quite often it is only given consideration once the addition, renovation or build is nearing its end. Sure, most home owners think about general ambient light and will go about installing energy efficient downlights.
Ambient lighting serves its purpose, yet it is not the catch-all that we want it to be. Well designed lighting will set the mood for a room and enhance the aesthetic whereas badly designed lighting will cause discomfort, can feel clinical and is most evident at night when you want to create a relaxing environment. Lighting is one of the most important factors when it comes to setting the mood in your home and as such it should be given a high priority in your overall design.
Well designed lighting will quite often have a number of light sources within the one space, allowing you to choose the mood you set depending on what’s happening in the space. Quite often where confusion for homeowners comes into the picture is that many types of lighting fit within each of the general lighting categories. For example, wall-mounted lighting can be used as an ambient light source as well as a task light. First, let’s take a look at the three lighting categories most designers will talk about.
Often called general lighting the idea behind ambient lighting is to provide a uniform illumination across the entire space. The central point of ambient light should be soft yet still have the capacity to fill the entire space, thereby avoiding bright glaring lights that cause discomfort and throw harsh shadows.
Task lighting shines light specifically on the tasks a person carries out in a given space such as cooking, office work or reading for which a brighter light is required in a smaller focal point of the room.
Accent lighting is used primarily to focus on a specific point of interest or to achieve a desired effect. It is more frequently used to highlight an architectural feature, artwork, a sculpture, or a collection of objects.
Now that you’ve got a good idea on the different types of lighting let’s take a look at some areas that can be forgotten or improved.
Dimmer switches in my opinion are completely overlooked! The versatility these little dials can give to a space is amazing! It helps reduce visual clutter and with the turn of a dial you can set just about any mood you want in the space. Perfect for bedside pendants, downlights in bathrooms and kitchens or feature lighting over the dining table.
Watching TV is most comfortable with low lighting that is positioned behind you. I know a lot of people who turn off all the lights to watch TV basically because they’ve forgotten to think about lighting in the planning stage. If you’re one of those then a floor or table lamp will sort this problem out just as easily.