This month, Design 101 is all about Interior Lighting! We'll discuss different types of lighting, how to choose a light bulb, how to come up with a lighting plan, and more. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter to be in the know! We're also looking for some reader feedback. Send us your lighting dilemmas and we'll randomly pick one lucky reader to receive free lighting design! Email us at Regan@RBHomeDesign.com.
When approaching lighting in your home, it is important to first understand the types of lighting used in interior design.
The amount of sunlight a room gets is the first thing to consider when coming up with a lighting plan for your home. The quality of natural light in a room can depend on several things such as the time of day, the weather, and the season. You've probably noticed that certain rooms in your home are brighter, or even hotter, than others. These are factors of natural light. When you think about adding artificial lighting to a room, consider how much or how little natural light the room gets so that you can find the right balance of functionality and aesthetics. Other examples of natural light are candlelight and firelight, both of which create a wonderfully cozy environment.
Ambient Lighting is the most common type of artificial lighting in a home. It provides a room with a general glow, without creating any shadows. Typical examples of ambient light fixtures are chandeliers and wall sconces. Ambient lighting can be placed in strategic areas of a room to create a warm and comfortable environment while also adding visual interest to a space - there are ambient light fixtures out there to fit all style preferences! When considering ambient lighting, think about how you want the room to feel. Should it be bright or cozy? We also suggest installing dimmer switches with ambient lights so that you can control how much light each fixture gives off.
Task Lighting is also very common in a home. It is exactly what it says it is - lighting that's used to help you perform daily activities such as reading, cooking, putting on your makeup, etc. Typical examples of task lighting are under counter slight strips, directional reading lamps, and vanity mirror lights. Task lighting should enhance visual clarity so that it keeps your eyes from getting tired. When you consider lighting for your home, think about certain areas that you use specifically for day-to-day tasks that could be enhanced by task lighting. A good example of this would be your favorite reading chair where you may want a floor reading lamp that offers directional lighting onto the page of your book. We suggest keeping task lights on their own switch so that unused areas don't need to be lit up until you need to use them.
Accent Lighting is directional light that highlights a specific object, an architectural detail, or other feature in your room. Typical examples of accent lighting are recessed wall washers and stairwell lights. An accent light will often have a cover over it to direct light in a certain direction. When you consider lighting for your home, think about any areas you would like to highlight such as a highly textured stone wall, stairs, or a bookcase. We light halogen lights for accent lighting, and suggest putting the lights on dimmers so that you choose between a soft, glowing highlight of the space or a strong feature light.
There is such a thing as using light as art! Perhaps you've seen sculptures that incorporate lighting into them. We featured one on our Book Art post. WE love this as a different way to add interest to a space. Aesthetic lighting can also be used to highlight art. Typical examples of aesthetic lighting are spotlights and picture lights. When you consider lighting for your home, think about areas you want to show off such as a favorite piece of art, a beautiful object, or a plant (this can work outdoors too!). We like halogen lights for aesthetic lighting and recommend putting them on dimmers so that you can control the amount of light each fixture gives off.
All of the above types of lighting can be layered in a space to offer functionality within a room, but also an inviting and pleasing environment. Stay tuned to Design 101 to learn more about how to achieve a well lit home!
If you have questions about lighting, ask us now and we'll make sure to answer you this month.
Next Up: How to Choose a Light Bulb. It's harder than you think!