Have you ever pondered how certain homes have a look of sophistication despite having very regular interiors with regards to furniture and furnishings?
Lighting is the vital key that takes your home interiors to the next level.
Without the right lighting your home interiors will just fall flat. On the other hand, planned and well-executed lighting can make your home the talk of the town!
While one cannot stress enough about the merits of maximizing natural sunlight for a home, it is equally important to consider the artificial lighting of a home.
Gone are those days when all lighting meant was a sturdy fluorescent tube-light or two in all the living areas and a lamp/chandelier for the special social evenings!
Let's see what are the types of lighting based on the functions they perform:
1) Functional or Ambient Lighting:
Well, you gotta see things in the dark, haven't you? These are the most basic Lights you need for their original function - to illuminate an area.
The right selection of Ambient Lighting and level of illumination is important for high traffic areas of your home such as the entrances, living room, the reading areas, kitchens etc.
This room is an example of a well-planned lighting. Look at all the sources of light: There are ceiling lights for general ambient light. Up-lights mounted on the wall send light to the high ceiling. The stair risers have lights to make it easy to watch your step.
Functional lighting need not necessarily mean white/fluorescent light; it just needs to be high in intensity for best visibility.
There is this technique of bouncing light off walls and ceilings is known as indirect lighting, which is a current favorite because it minimizes shadows and glare. This can be used on ceilings, below cabinets, around your art, television etc. Indirect lighting directed to the ceilings makes it look higher.
Mood lighting which is softer, warmer, and allows fewer details to be plainly seen. You can achieve this with the same lights used for ambient lighting by decreasing their intensity using dimmers or by using indirect lighting. This generally enhances the overall appeal of the space, hiding the imperfections and highlighting the look and warmth of a space.
In fact candles work wonders to create that perfect, soft, warm glow you want to create!
Ambient lighting can be in the form of ceiling-mounted or recessed fixtures (concealed in the false-ceiling) that direct light downwards, wall sconces or floor-lamps that light up the space. Chandeliers in reception lobbies of large spaces are also examples of functional lighting.
2) Accent Lighting:
Also called highlighting, accent lighting draws attention to a particular object, such as artwork, sculpture, plants or bookcases. Recessed or track lighting is often used for accent lighting, with adjustable fittings that allow light to be focused precisely even on a small object.
3) Task Lighting
Task Lighting as the term implies is intended to illuminate a particular item/area.
Certain spaces at home need more illumination for purposes such as reading, cooking, sowing etc. Task lights serve the purpose here. For instance table lamps on study tables, pendant lights over the dining table, lights in stair-risers,lights inside wardrobes, bedside reading lamps, under-cabinet lights to light up the kitchen counter-top etc.
4) Decorative Lighting
Decorative lighting is lighting in which the light fixture is a focal point in the room. Chandeliers, decorative candles, light from a fireplace, wall sconces and beautiful decorative lamps are examples of decorative lighting. Decorative lighting is often the focal point of the room.
A home needs a right blend of all four kinds of lighting.
Many options exist for providing light in a home, from integrated architectural solutions that require contractors and tradesmen, to decorative lamps that need only be placed on a table and plugged in to the nearest outlet. Although some types of fixtures are more commonly associated with a particular layer of lighting—ambient, task or accent—most fixtures are versatile enough to be used in a number of ways.
The single most important concept in creating a good lighting plan for the home is to use an array of different types of lighting.
It is best to create three layers of lighting—ambient, task and accent.
Most people make the mistake of expecting one type of lighting to do it all. Each type meets a particular need.
When planning the layers of light in a room, it usually makes sense to consider the ambient lighting first, then consider task and accent lighting.
Remember, good lighting assures a warm, inviting and functional atmosphere in your home as it enhances everything in a room - from the furniture, flooring, fittings to the finishes and textures. Yes, selection of the right lighting can help you achieve a perfect balance between style, comfort and practicality in creating aesthetically beautiful yet functional interiors.
L: Lighting for your Home
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