Ways to Light Up Your Home
We've all been in rooms that just feel good. They have a palpable, comfortable atmosphere that makes you want to put up your feet and stay a while. Beyond the practicality of light, which is that we need it to see, the lighting scheme in your home has a big influence on the personality of a room. You wouldn't want a bright overhead light shining down on an intimate dinner party or a single lamp lighting a space where you're trying to do a project. The main goal of lighting design is to introduce varying degrees of light into a room, which are called layers. If you only have direct light sources, it will make a space feel dark and gloomy. And if you light the ...view middle of the document...
They also have the benefit of being recyclable, whereas regular light bulbs are not. The downside is that fluorescent lights have a reputation for casting unattractive light, but manufacturers are continually working to improve this. No matter what bulb you use, overhead lighting is practical but it can be garish, so ambient light sources need to be complemented with other kinds of lights to provide contrast. In the next section, we'll talk about accent lighting.
Accent lights are directional lights whose main purpose is to provide visual separation in a room. They're secondary lights in a room, and as a rule of thumb, they should be three to five times brighter than the ambient light level [source: Light Bulbs]. Wall-mounted fixtures, such as sconces, are a good example of accent lights, as are table and floor lamps. For example, a chandelier in your dining room would provide ambient light, and one or more wall sconces would be the accent lights. Another use of accent lighting is to showcase a feature in a room, such as a painting or a collection. You've probably seen this in art museums. The ambient light is usually dim, which evokes peace and quiet, and the accent lights highlight the paintings, keeping you focused on the art. You can do this in your home as well, and it doesn't have to be fine art. If you have a big, beautiful plant you want to highlight, you can put a spotlight on the floor behind it and let the light bounce off its leaves, creating shadows and drama. Typically, a spotlight or floodlight is used to accent an object, though tracklights also work in certain applications. Higher wattage incandescent bulbs are often used in table lamps and wall lights for accent lighting, and halogen lamps are primarily used in spotlights.
Task lighting provides the primary light in a room, and is ideally six to 10 times brighter than the ambient light. It's used to increase illumination above ambient levels at workspaces, and carefully chosen task lighting can minimize the need for overhead lights, which is helpful in conserving energy. The term "task lighting" has noticeably popped up in the vernacular since home renovations have become all the rage. Task lighting for our ancestors often consisted of a bright lone bulb in a utilitarian desk lamp, but now the options are endless. It's a key element in the kitchen and office, where specific tasks requiring proper light are prevent. It's also useful in the living room for projects, or in the bedroom for reading, and helps to avoid eye strain. There are many different kinds of lights that perform the job of a task light. Under-cabinet down lights are helpful for kitchen tasks, because typically, your shadow gets in the way of the ambient light source. Desk lamps or floor lamps trained on a desk are useful in the office, and table lamps with high watt bulbs work...