Lighting is a necessity for every home or office, and more specifically, for every room. But lighting isn’t one size fits all, and there are different types of lighting options that are best suited for different rooms in your house and for the different uses of those rooms. Here are the top four lighting options and where we think they might fit best in your home.
Task lighting is exactly what it sounds like: lighting that’s used for completing tasks. They’re not used all the time, only for when you’re doing things, whether it’s writing or reading or something of that nature. You want to have a good array of task lighting in rooms that are used for a variety of activities, such as a living or family room. We use these rooms for everything! Chatting with friends over coffee, reading a book, playing board games, watching movies, having a holiday party, housing guests…the list goes on.
Lighting choices are important in these rooms but also need to serve a variety of purposes. No one wants a glare when they’re trying to watch TV or use their laptop, and no one wants to squint while they’re trying to read. Because of the various functions of a living room, having various types of lighting is key. HGTV calls it “layering light,” meaning having a variety of lighting options for any given time or activity. In a living room, be sure to have tabletop lamps on end tables and a good floor lamp by your couch or arm chair.
If you’re in an office, it’s also a good idea to have a desk lamp for those late nights or early mornings. Most businesses use an array of task lighting effects. In kitchens, closets, and bathrooms, many people are now choosing to add cost-effective lighting strips, under-cabinet lighting, or motion lights as well, all to help in seeing their way through various tasks.
You’ll most likely have a main source of ambient lighting in each room (more on that in a bit), but task lighting, once again, is to help aide in specific tasks. It naturally helps you focus on one, concentrated area or task, stimulating your brain and helping you to focus. And remember: portable lamps and lights with multiple brightness settings are perfect for task lighting!
Like task lighting, it’s all in the name! Accent lighting is for accenting certain features and aims to highlight specific objects or points of interest. Perhaps you have a painting that you really love, or trophies and awards you want on display. Or perhaps you want the focal point of your living room to be the fireplace or the television. Accent lighting helps. The general rule of thumb for accent lighting is that it ought to be about five times brighter (when directing one’s attention to the point of interest) than the main source of light in the room.
Recess and under-cabinet lights are best for this sort of lighting. They are often adjustable and can point directly at an object or area or placed directly under or above one. You can place these lights anywhere, in any room, for anything you may want to put the focus on.
Ambient lighting (also known as general lighting) is the main light source in any room. It will set the overall mood and feel of a room. Ambient lighting is the ceiling light or the chandelier, but it can also be a large wall sconce or a portable lamp. Track lighting or recessed lights are also often used for ambient lighting. Really, it’s whatever is the room’s main source of light. Or it can be what you want the main source of light to be. It’s also the most important light source because it’s typically the most used, and again, sets the whole tone of a given room.
According to Del Mar Fans & Lighting, ambient light ought to be “as natural and as flat as possible.” You want ambient lighting in any room to be as close to natural light as you can, and neutral so that it’s not too dim or too bright.
Again, it’s all in the name. Decorative lighting is just that: decorative, and because it’s decorative, it can take many forms. It can be anything from a fixture cover to a chandelier to a table lamp to a wall sconce. There’s not much to say about this kind of lighting. It really just comes down to what the homeowner in question finds lovely or visually appealing. Any one of the previous lighting types mentioned can ultimately be decorative as well.