As any good set decorator or make-up artist will tell you, lighting is everything. Well that same idea holds true for your home. The right lighting can turn your home into a cheerful and inviting spot or even a romantic getaway while the wrong lighting can alter the true colors used in the space or result in a gloomy room full of shadows.
According to the experts at The American Lighting Association, lighting is broken down into several different categories but the basics are: ambient, task and accent lighting. And I would like to add a very important source of lighting and that is natural light.
Ambient or general lighting
Ambient lighting is used to illuminate an entire space, provide lighting for halls and stairways or to generally light an entire area. This is accomplished through the use of a chandelier in a dining room or entry, for example, or recessed lighting (also called can lights or pot lights) most commonly used in utilitarian areas such as the kitchen, laundry room or home office. Other sources of ambient lighting include wall sconces that illuminate a stairway or outdoor lanterns that light up the front porch, walkway or garage area.
Pretty self-explanatory, task lighting are those light sources that focus on a specific task and include under counter lighting in the kitchen or on the work bench, table and floor lamps that provide light for reading and needlework. In some circumstances, ambient lighting could also be considered task lighting. For example, ambient recessed lighting could fall into the task lighting category when used in a kitchen, craft room or work space.
Often used outdoors, accent lighting is a very important tool when decorating the interior of your home as well. It allows you to direct the focus and attention to a specific item or area of the room. Spotlights directed onto a special painting, flood lights that bathe an entire feature wall or floor lights that light up a dark corner and cast interesting shadows are all examples of effective accent lighting.
We are all familiar with the energy a sun-filled room can provide or the mood that is set in the light of dusk or twilight. Natural light is the power house of all lighting. It provides ambient lighting to illuminate large spaces, task lighting for working and even accent lighting depending on the location of the window or doors that allow the natural light to enter. Lighting fixtures can be used in conjunction with natural light in order to properly illuminate a space. Imagine how dark this little bath would be without the benefit of natural light spilling in from the perfectly placed dormer window.