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3 Types of Lighting and Why You Need Them In Your Home

Mitchell Elworthy May 18, 2022 at 10:02 am

 

Home lighting comes in many different forms, from graceful chandeliers to eclectic table lamps. And is that really a surprise? After all, we use lighting for so many things, so it makes sense to have a variety of lighting options available.

What may come as a surprise is learning that not all lights are created equal — in fact, many lights are designed for a very specific purpose. In this post, we’ll dive into the three different lighting types for home interiors and exteriors and learn more about why each deserves some careful consideration in your space.

What Are the Three Types of Lighting?

1. Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting, or general lighting, is one of the most important types of lighting. It provides the overall illumination that you need to see and move safely around in a space. Ambient lighting is designed to reflect sunlight by evenly washing a space with a moderate amount of light.

General lighting is often accomplished with overhead or wall-mounted lights such as chandeliers, track lights, recessed lights, sconces, pendants, cove lights or LED strips. If necessary, you can also use floor lamps or torchieres to eliminate shadowed areas and bring more light into a room

 

 

How to light a room with ambient lighting:

  • Do ensure that lights radiate a comfortable brightness level.
  • Don’t use small, concentrated lights — ambient lights should provide broad lighting for the entire space.
  • Do ensure your ambient light suffuses the room so that you can see.
  • Do make use of natural light sources if you can.
  • Don’t make your ambient lighting too bright or stark.

2. Task Lighting

Task lighting, sometimes called office lighting, is more concentrated than ambient lighting, and therefore more useful for when you need to perform a specific task. It’s a home lighting staple that allows you to function safely and effectively long after the sun has gone down.

Chances are you’ve seen task lighting in areas such as the bedroom, living room, office and even the bathroom — all areas where you’ll likely find that ambient lighting just isn’t enough for certain activities. It’s most often used for things such as reading, applying makeup, cooking, studying, working and gaming, as it not only helps increase concentration and focus but also decreases eye strain.

There are many different ways to introduce task lighting into your home. In the kitchen, you may consider using cabinet lighting or track lighting. Bathrooms often boast vanity lights. For the bedroom or living room, a floor lamp is often the way to go. And, of course, table lamps are always a popular choice for office desks, nightstands and side tables.

 

Task Lighting Example with a floor lamp

 

How to light a room with task lighting:

  • Don’t place your lighting fixture in a spot where it will throw shadows on your work.
  • Do choose a lighting source that’s bright enough for the job.
  • Do choose the right lighting appliance for the task you’ll be doing — for example, a table lamp is great for reading, but not ideal for applying makeup.
  • Do invest in light fixtures with extra features such as dimmers, adjusting arms, etc.
  • Do angle your lights to reduce glare.

3. Accent Lighting

Accent lighting, also called highlighting and display lighting, is designed to focus on a specific area or piece of the room. It can add drama and flair to a room by drawing the eye to certain elements — such as artwork, décor, interesting textures or designs and other features. Accent lighting is also commonly used outdoors to highlight buildings and grounds.

Great accent lights showcase your space without drawing attention to themselves and create a feeling of sophistication and importance. The most common fixtures used for accent lighting are track lights, recessed lights, landscape lights and wall-mounted lights.

 

 

 

How to light a room with accent lighting:

  • Do use very intense lights at least three times as strong as the ambient lighting.
  • Don’t choose gaudy or flamboyant lighting fixtures.
  • Don’t use too many lighting fixtures in one area.
  • Do use a soft, downward focused light for the best results.

 


How to Light a Room: The Importance of Layering

Wouldn’t it be frustrating to try and prepare dinner by the light of a single table lamp? Or try to wind down after a long day by the light of harsh overhead fluorescents? There’s a reason that we have so many light fixtures available to us — combining the different ones makes your home a much nicer place to be!

One of the most important elements of lighting design is layering — using all three different lighting types for your home to create a beautiful and functional space.

Too many people these days make the mistake of trying to light a room with just ambient lighting. The result? A lacklustre, one-dimensional look that feels bland and impersonal. If you truly want to step up your lighting game and improve your house inside and out, include every type of home lighting type discussed above. Doing so will help you create a beautiful balance of light and shadow that will make your space feel more alive.

If you’re ready to give layering a go, here’s what we suggest. Focus on the ambient lighting first (using the tips above). Once you’ve got that pinned down, you can determine any areas that could use accent lighting — such as textured walls, interesting artwork and even furniture such as bookshelves. Finally, locate areas in your home that need an extra bit of light and install task lighting fixtures as needed.

You may not use every type of lighting in each room, and that’s okay! Still, we suggest aiming for at least two different types of illumination to ensure you get the most out of your lighting design.

  

Light Up Your Home with The Lighting Outlet

Now that you know how to light a room effectively using layers, it’s time to put your newfound skills to use! If you’re ready to start layering light in your home, The Lighting Outlet is the place to go for high-quality, affordable home lighting fixtures. We offer a huge range of outdoor lighting, indoor lighting, lighting accessories and much, much more.

Have any questions about lighting your space? Contact our friendly team today and we’d be happy to help you find your answers!

 

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