Did you know that lighting affects how we perceive space and objects? That it can set a mood, create drama, highlight or camouflage the structural features of a space, and enhance or diminish the effects of color?
Lighting is one of the basic elements of interior design. It is an essential décor feature that should be included when you are thinking of your overall design plan. The right lighting can transform a room into a seamless combination of functionality and style.
When designing/decorating your space think of applying the three layers of lighting to your design plan – ambient/general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. This will help you achieve warmth, depth, dimension, interest and the likelihood that you will have sufficient lighting.
1. Ambient/General Lighting – this is the most basic and the first/base layer of lighting. It provides general illumination in a room. Examples of ambient lighting are recessed lights, chandeliers, ceiling fans with light, cove lighting, other ceiling fixtures. Most people stop at just general lighting. Don’t stop there – continue with the next 2 layers!
2. Task Lighting – this is needed to perform tasks i.e.reading, applying makeup, food preparation/cooking, dining. Examples are chandeliers, pendants, table lamps, desk lamps, under-cabinet light and vanity light. Task lighting aims at minimizing glare and shadows while being sufficient to prevent eye strain. Think of how you are going to use the space before determining the type of task light you will need.
3. Accent Lighting – this is used as a way to provide contrast and visual interest. It is used to highlight important objects or architectural features and also to draw attention from things that are not as pleasing. Examples are under cabinet lights (which can also serve as a task light) picture lights, directional recessed lights, niche lighting, lighting inside a cabinet. To get a dramatic effect, the accent light should be much brighter than the general lighting in the space.
Put lights on dimmers to change the mood, decrease energy and heat output, and lengthen lamp/bulb life.
Go ahead; illuminate your space to its maximum potential!
Don’t forget to consult an interior designer or lighting specialist if you need assistance with a lighting layout!