If you are considering freshening up or transforming the look and feel of your home with new lighting, there are endless options available on the market. But before you start shopping, it’s important to understand and explore the three main types of lighting or layers of light: ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. The most effective lighting plans involve a combination of all three.
Successful designs take into consideration the specific tasks carried out within a particular area; incorporating multiple sources of illumination, placed at different levels in a room, to create layers of light that are both practical and aesthetically pleasing at the same time. Sometimes just adding one of these layers is all a room needs to see a dramatic improvement in the quality of light.
1. AMBIENT LIGHTING
Also referred to as general lighting, this is a necessary layer that provides basic, overall illumination to a room and allows for safe movement around the space. Commonly generated by overhead fixtures, ambient light creates a comfortable and evenly distributed glow, which serves as the base for additional layers of light.
HOW TO CREATE AMBIENT LIGHTING
Ambient lighting is generally uniform and provides approximately 75% of a room’s light. During the day, natural sunlight streaming through the windows is enough to provide this first layer of light, but at night needs to be substituted by another source. Recessed or track lights, chandeliers or pendants, and sconces or wall lights can all provide adequate ambient lighting when positioned correctly within the space. It is highly recommended that you hire a certified electrician to carry out any new lighting fixture installation or rewiring.
2. TASK LIGHTING
Designed to enhance visual clarity, task lighting draws brightness to the parts of a room where activities occur. Task lighting complements the ambient layer, focusing more intense and concentrated light directly onto areas that need to be illuminated to perform specific tasks such as reading, cooking, applying makeup, or studying. It is important to first consider which activities take place within a room before selecting your lights, so you create a lighting plan that is sufficiently functional and effective for the designated space.
HOW TO CREATE TASK LIGHTING
Efficient task lighting should provide adequate illumination, whilst minimising glare and shadows. In bedrooms and lounge rooms, this light can be used to aid late-night reading; whilst in kitchens it can sit under cabinets and help keep surfaces visible and clean, or provide light to read a recipe book whilst cooking. Examples of effective sources of task lighting include cabinet and vanity lights, track lights and pendant lights.
3. ACCENT LIGHTING
The final layer to complete your lighting picture – the purpose of accent lighting is to draw attention to specific items or features within a space. This could be an artwork hanging on the wall, a sculpture, architecture, plants or any other features you wish to become a focal point in the room. Accent lighting is often referred to as decorative lighting, since it provides the ability to highlight points of interest and therefore enhance decorative elements.
HOW TO CREATE ACCENT LIGHTING
As a rule, accent lighting should always be approximately three times the illumination level of ambient light in the room, in order to successfully highlight the desired features. Wall and spot lights can effectively create accent lighting, allowing you to highlight pieces of all sizes. Landscape lighting is also a clever way of drawing attention to outdoor spaces such as pathways, textured walls and fountains.
It is important to keep in mind that some fixtures can function as two layers of lighting simultaneously, eliminating the need to always use separate lights for each layer. Chandeliers and wall sconces can provide both ambient and accent light, particularly when dimmer switches are installed. Downlights can similarly be used for ambient and accent lighting, and track or recessed lights can function as any of the three layers of light, depending on how they are utilised.
A carefully considered lighting plan will bring together efficiency and design; delivering cleverly positioned, multi-layered lighting that will enhance a room’s visual appeal. Contact a professional electrician near you to discuss the various lighting options available, and to ensure any lighting installation is carried out safely and efficiently.
Service Today electricians are the lighting experts. Our highly skilled technicians have a great eye for recommending the best lighting options to suit your home, and can take care of any installation and rewiring required. Whether you’re looking to brighten up your indoor or outdoor space, give one of our experienced technicians a call today!