Home lighting is about more than being able to see in the dark. It’s about getting the right light, doing the right job in the right spot – sounds simple enough, but there is always more to light than meets the eye.
Essentially there are four artificial light types to consider – ambient, task, accent and decorative lighting. A room or home becomes an ideally lit environment when it has a proportional amount of all four types of lighting.
Most homes have at least ambient lighting, whether it is adequate or not is another matter. Ambient, sometimes referred to as general light, usually comes from a central light source fixed to the ceiling. These lights are most commonly pendant fittings and recessed or external down lights. Ambient lighting’s main job is to spread light evenly over the ceiling. Considering dimmers in conjunction with ambient light selections is always a good option. Dimmers deliver the ability to control the amount of light delivered to a room, plus they help accommodate differing changes in natural light, personal preferences, and moods of a room.
Specific jobs require specific light and without it things like reading, hobbies, and even cooking become that much more effort. Control is usually the key to success with task lighting, being able to adjust the amount or direction of light makes for ideal task lighting.
Light is and has always been a way of drawing attention to a specific area or feature in a room. Home owners who choose to undertake their own lighting design usually only apply accent lighting to the outside of a house. This is an oversight. When used with restraint accent lighting is a great tool for elevating an interior from ordinary into the extraordinary.
While the choice of light fitting and the light it delivers should be considered together for all types of light. Nowhere is this more critical than with the choice of decorative lighting. As the name suggests the function of decorative lighting is purely aesthetic. The ability of patterned or fractured light to create or evoke specific atmospheres in a space is limitless.
The beauty of well executed decorative lighting is its subtlety. When done successfully decorative light alters the mood or a space and our response to a room without the source being instantly noticeable. Currently woven pendants and chandeliers are the most common decorative lights chosen by home owners. However there are many more options each with its unique decorative nature.
Not every room needs all four types of lighting, however having multiple types of lighting in a room allows for the right light to be used for the right purpose, plus it adds depth and interest to a space.
By Alex Honey, Interior Designer
Sterling Interior Design