When designing a room we sometimes overlook the importance of indoor lamps and lighting. Furniture, paint, and floor coverings get the first considerations while lamps are often haphazardly placed about the room without consideration of how the light they emit will affect the overall design aesthetic. But understanding the different types of indoor lighting and what they are meant to accomplish will help you better plan your room.
There are four types of indoor lighting, each meant to realize a specific feeling or function. They are ambient, task, accent, and natural lighting. Ambient is meant to illuminate the entire room. It creates very few shadows and flattens the room. Examples of ambient lights would be wall sconces, paper lanterns, recessed, and track lighting. Task lighting focuses a direct beam of light onto an area where a specific task is performed, like reading, cooking, applying makeup, etc. These lights make performing the task easier and decrease eyestrain. Accent light is meant to highlight an object, picture, or architectural feature. All you need for this is a bulb and some sort of shield to direct the light to its target. And natural light is usually sunlight, though candlelight and firelight are also considered natural lights. It is important to consider how natural light will affect your design, especially during the day.
Most rooms are awash in ambient light, but it is important to use more than one type of light in a room. This will give you greater flexibility and allow you to create more dramatic effects. For instance, the kitchen is a room that screams for more task lighting. You can install individual recessed lights trained down for high usage areas like the sink or the range. You can also install lights under the cabinets that will allow you to fully illuminate your countertop work.
Bathrooms are another place task lighting is essential. You want to compliment the ambient light from the main bulb with a bright fluorescent or incandescent light around the mirror for tasks like shaving and putting on makeup.
One room that you don’t want overly bright light is the bedroom. The lamps in this room should create a warm glow meant to prepare you for sleep. Wall sconces are great ambient lights for the bedroom. They emit a soft glow perfect for the bedroom. You do, however, want to include some task lights at your bedside for reading. Reading lights, in the bedroom or any other room, should be placed about 42 inches from the floor.
One of the best ways to diversify the lighting in a room is to install dimmers. This will allow you to alter the lighting in a room depending on the situation. Another great tip for those with limited space is to install recessed or track lighting. This places the lights on the ceiling and frees up floor or table space in the room. Also track lighting allows you to better control where the light is being directed. The days of placing two or three table lamps around a room are thankfully past. With so many options now, there is no reason for a poorly lit room.