Lighting Design 101: A Lesson in Layering with Light
Lighting Layers Explained:
Now that you’ve learned the basics in lighting design, lets dive deeper into these topics.
1. Ambient Lighting:
As mentioned above, ambient lighting is the base layer of light in any room. The main purpose of ambient lighting is overall illumination of a room that lets you see and move clearly throughout the entire room. Just about any lighting fixture can provide a room with ambient lighting. The most popular fixtures are table and floor lamps, chandelier, pendants, flush mount and track lighting fixtures. If you plan to layer your lighting, we suggest the use of dimmers that allow you to adjust the ambient lighting to allow for other layers to be used along side of the main lighting source.
2. Task Lighting:
Task lighting improves efficiency for completing routine tasks in your home. When upgrading your task lighting bulbs and fixtures, make sure you are taking the demands of the room into consideration. For example, an office may only require task lighting near your primary working area that could be resolved with a table lamp, where a bathroom or kitchen requires bright overall illumination. Proper task lighting will minimize glares and shadows – make sure to take into consideration the heights of counter spaces and distance from the lighting sources. The most popular task lighting fixtures are recessed or can lighting, under cabinet lighting and table, desk and floor lamps.
3. Accent Lighting:
Last but certainly not least is accent lighting. Accent lighting completes the overall ambiance of a room. Most likely if you feel that your room may be missing that “special” something, it may be the accent lighting. This lighting layer is used to highlight design elements of your space. Enhance a fireplace, painting or entryway with directional lighting. The most common accent lighting is typically seen outdoors. Think of the spot lights that brighten landscape at night. Bring the directional lighting indoors with wall sconces, recessed, track, tape and rope lighting.
You now know the basics of light layering! Improving the ambiance in your home with lighting may just require you to re-arrange your existing layout. Many light fixtures can function as two layers of light for your room. A great example of this would be floor lamps – you can take an existing floor lamp and move it closer to your favorite reading nook so it is not only ambient lighting, but task lighting as well. Similar to table lamps, recessed lighting can be arranged to be great task lighting for kitchens and put on a dimmer in living areas for accent lighting.
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