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Guide: How to Light Up Your Home Perfectly

April 10, 2019

While you may read or hear about natural light (daylight or sunlight) very often, you may be less familiar with ambient, accent, and task lighting.

These are the basic forms of artificial light, that when used appropriately together create ‘layered’ lighting; this effect typically casts an optimal level of illumination for any space.

Interior Lighting Guide

Interior Firm: Spazio Design

To achieve lighting levels that are ‘just right’ in your home, follow these three tips for evenly applying ambient, task, and accent lighting.

1. Start with ambient light

Interior Lighting Guide

Interior Firm: Vlusion Interior

Think of ambient light as the primary source of illumination for a specific space. If we are being strict with definitions, ambient light can also be the result of several types of lighting that forms the general brightness of a room.

The common lighting fixtures that are considered ‘ambient’ include ceiling downlights (recessed or mounted), wall lights, chandeliers, and track lighting. Most homes have at least one type of this basic level of lighting.

Interior Lighting Guide

Interior Firm: Interior Plus

However, ambient lighting alone is generally not enough to sufficiently light up space. There may be dark spots or angles where ceiling lights are unable to cast on.

This is why layering with multiple lighting types is necessary for optimum brightness.

2. Add task lighting

Interior Lighting Guide

Interior Firm: Nature Concept

This type of lighting is installed for practical tasks, and its illumination tends to be more concentrated. For instance, pendant lights that hang above your kitchen counter or under-cabinet or stove area track lighting for when you are cooking are examples of task lighting.

Interior Lighting Guide

Interior Firm: Interior Plus

In general, task lighting fixtures tend to be finer and brighter. But since it does not have to be switched on (at full power) all the time, it would benefit from dimmer switches; and this would apply in bathrooms too. Do install sconces and mirror lighting with adjustable brightness in the vanity area to improve visibility when grooming.

In bedrooms, living rooms, and studies; adding task lights that are flexible such as swing arm lamps, add to its usefulness, especially if you need to adjust the lighting for different tasks such as reading, sewing, and crafting, etc.

3. Complete with accent lights

Interior Lighting Guide

Interior Firm: Mil Design & Construction

After installing general and task lighting in the home, you should also consider bringing in accent lights. As its name suggests, accent lights are meant to accentuate or draw the eye toward certain areas in the home.

For instance, use accent lights to illuminate a feature wall, artwork and collectibles, showcases and shelves, niches, and bookcases, as well as certain notable furniture and architecture.

Also, decorative lighting (e.g. patterned lamps, ornate wall sconces, lighted art, etc.) can also function as accents to further stylise the décor as well as add another source of illumination.

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