Lighting in Layers
There are generally three layers of lighting in a well designed and thought-out room: ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting.
Ambient lighting is the general light source, usually an overhead light. Task lighting is the appropriate lighting for the purpose of the room, such as a desk lamp or reading light. Accent lighting is for comfort and style; it generally illuminates some features of the room, a cabinet, shelf or work of art.
Notice the picture of the living room above. Ambient lighting is provided by the window, task lighting is provided by the two reading lights on either side of the couch and accent lighting is provided by the two mini spotlights over the pictures.
Take some time to notice the illumination in each of your rooms. Do you have at least three layers of light? If not, what is missing?
You almost certainly have ambient lighting. If you are taking our advice and layering your light, ambient light can be less intense than it would be if it was the sole light source.
Task lighting can be used in any room. For kitchens, under cabinet lighting is helpful. For bathrooms, lights over the mirror are best. For living rooms and bedrooms, reading lights are perfect – even if you don’t read much.
Is there sufficient task lighting? If not, ask yourself ‘what is the purpose of the room’? What do you do there?
Is there accent lighting? What feature of the room would you like to highlight? Is there one? If not, you could certainly try some art.