Well-planned lighting can change the character of a room, highlight architectural details, and facilitate everyday activities. But what’s the best way to make successful lighting choices? First, think about how you use specific rooms in your home. Then, think about your preferences in style – and mood. Finally, consult with a lighting expert who can help evaluate your needs, and help you determine the best solution. A consultant can recommend fixture types, and easily identify where lights should be placed in order to deliver proper illumination. There are three types of lighting that work well together in your home.
- General or ambient lighting provides an even wash of light that can be dimmed for atmosphere. Recessed and track lighting, chandeliers, and wall-mounted fixtures all provide ambient lighting.
- Accent lighting spotlights paintings, furnishings, and unique spaces. Accent fixtures provide focused light that is typically five times stronger than ambient light. Track, recessed lighting, and wall-mounted fixtures are ideal for accent lighting.
- Task lighting eases activities such as reading, sewing, or cooking. This lighting illuminates a small area with a bright light that can be dimmed or brightened to help alleviate eyestrain. Task lights include standing lamps, down spots, focused-track, and recessed lighting. You can determine the appropriate blend of accent, ambient, and task lighting by noting the most frequently performed tasks in a particular room – and visualizing the ambiance or mood you feel most comfortable with. Installing the right combination of lighting sources can help you create a cozy, inviting, and functional home.
Today’s kitchen doubles as a workplace and family gathering center. This busy room requires lighting that is both practical and decorative. Strategically placed recessed lighting can provide a general wash of light throughout and can be dimmed for evening meals. To facilitate food preparation, mount undercabinet task lighting with either low-voltage halogen bulbs or low-profile fluorescent bulbs. Hanging pendant fixtures provide additional task lighting over dinettes, breakfast nooks, and island counters – and can be decorative as well.