Friday, November 12, 2010

5 Types of Lighting for Your Home

Well-Illuminated Kitchen - General, Accent, and Task Lighting - Southern Living

How many times have I heard a homeowner say, “I want my home to be light and bright”? If you posed this challenge to me,  one of the first things I would examine in your home before recommending paint colors is the natural and artificial lighting.

Beach House with Lots of Sunlight -

If you are lucky, you’re blessed with lots of natural light. Natural light makes colors appear vibrant and is a healthful, cheerful light necessary for living. Too little light for activities such as reading, writing, crafting, surfing the Internet (!!), or other detailed tasks can cause exertion and eye fatigue. A dark interior can also affect your overall mood. When natural light does not meet your living needs, it’s time to bring on artificial lighting.

Natural and Artificial Lighting - HGTV

General lighting gives your rooms an even broad plane of light. It can be delivered through a ceiling fixture that focuses downward. Many times this type of lighting is not adequate for room functions or does not create ambience in a room.

General Room Lighting - House Beautiful

Ambient lighting throws light against a wall or ceiling reflecting the light back into the room. Recessed eyeball spotlights, touchier lamps, sconces, and uplights, are examples of this type of lighting.

Ambient Lighting Created by Sconce on Wall - Decor Pad

Task lighting is purely functional. It illuminates a specific area for a particular job such as chopping food on a kitchen counter, laboring over a woodworking project, applying makeup, sewing, reading or eating. Task lighting should always be included in any room where specific functions take place but its use should be optional. Task lights should not be on the same switch as the fixture that provides general illumination. Using both simultaneously creates a harsh too bright effect.

Task Lighting - House Beautiful

Accent lighting focuses or highlights a work of art, an accessory item, or particular area of a room and serves to emphasize the item. It creates interest and drama through small spots of light or by casting light in small areas against a dark background. Lights recessed into a soffit above a kitchen countertop cast a downward glow of illumination that offsets the counter without spilling light into the rest of the room. Cove lighting over a bathtub shimmers above the water and delineates a bathing area dramatically. 

Cove Lighting  Above Tub - Decor Pad

Decorative lighting draws attention to itself. It can be moving such as candle light or flames in a fireplace, or static such as fixed wall candelabra. It can be used to draw the eye upward toward a cathedral ceiling. By capturing your eye, decorative lighting forces your focus away from anything else. It doesn’t highlight anything like accent lighting does. Furthermore, it doesn’t provide a lot of illumination like ambient lighting does. Some other types of decorative lighting can be chandeliers, neon signs, or a string of miniature lights. Include this type of lighting to unify a room or to strike a balance among the various types of lighting including natural light from the sun and moon. In December, you'll be using lots of this type of lighting to welcome Santa.

Decorative Lighting  - Strings of Lights on the Christmas Tree and Fire in Fireplace - Southern Living

Task lighting and accent lighting are examples of high-contrast lighting – they eliminate shadows and bring an object into sharp crisp focus. Ambient lighting and decorative lighting are more diffused. They are softer more forgiving lights that are comfortable and relaxing. Most rooms benefit from a combination of contrast lighting and diffused light so incorporate both in your lightng scheme.

Task and Ambient Lighting - Decor Pad

~" In the beginning there was nothing and God said, 'Let there be light.' And there was light.  There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better!" ~  Ellen DeGeneres


sandy said...

i love this article!its great.

Mary said...


Thanks for commenting. I hope you can use the information on lighting presented here in your own home. If there is another topic on home decor or paint colors you'd like me to write about, please let me know.

neelmani said...

Wall Lights are very impportant in decorating house..light must be used according
to the colour of the room.and clour must be selected according to the person nature.than only
a beautifull house is created.

Mary said...


Your points are good ones. Ambient lighting which creates light on the walls creates a beautiful effect. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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