Lighting - Why Do So Many Get It Wrong?

The one thing that just about every client gets wrong is lighting

First off, there is a general lack of good lighting styles in the retail market and it is excessively priced. Spending $600 for a lamp is just not necessary. Even in the wholesale markets, good lighting can take its time to be found. But it is there and at reasonable prices.

Secondly, you need to pair types of lighting with the purpose of the lighting. Ambient lighting creates moods and tone, while task lighting is for reading or specialty areas and accent light illuminates individual items. Use the right wattage and shade for the right purpose. While I love opaque lamp shades, they are terrible for reading. Always use a beige-like shade for reading with a 3 way bulb. This gives you some leeway for various purposes. Opaque shades are great for mood lighting. Vary up lighting and down lighting to create a comfortable environment. LED spot lighting has come a long way and finally come into its own. LED lighting is also dimmable today. LED lighting is great for under the kitchen cabinets, recessed spot lighting and the like. Energy efficient lighting is usually not as luminous as regular lighting. So opt for a higher wattage.

Ambient

Ambient lighting meets the necessary requirements for safe and effective interior illumination. Also called overall or general lighting, ambient lighting allows easy, hazard-free movement throughout a room by bouncing light off ceilings for even diffusing and minimal shadows. Dimmer switches allow you to adjust the mood and timbre of a room’s ambient lighting. Typically, a central source, mounted to the ceiling, meets the practical requirements of ambient lighting. However, ambient lighting is only the “base” layer in a thoughtful lighting layout. Well-layered illumination is achieved in concert with wall-mount sconces, portable lamps, and hanging pendants.

The position of the lighting in an area is very important. Place the ambient lighting in a triangular pattern. You need at least 3 different lights, plus task or accent lighting, to fill a normal size room in each of 3 corners. The larger the room, the more lighting is needed. Don’t just use recessed lighting to light a room. It is usually too much lighting, not personal enough for reading or other tasks. It also casts glares that are not hospitable. You need both recessed and these various types of lighting in a given room.

Task

While ambient illumination welcomes us into a room, task lighting is focused on the myriad things we might do there. The demands of task light vary substantially from room to room. Kitchens require strong, shadow-free lighting in areas where food preparation occurs, as well as warm, inviting illumination that underscores the room’s role in social gatherings. Detailed grooming tasks performed in the bathroom take special care, requiring extra attention to vanity illumination. Reading, hobbies, and game-playing each have their own unique lighting requirements, which can be met with a variety of pendants, wall-mounts, and portables.

Accent

Not only utilitarian, light creates and complements thoughtful design. A room may bring together interesting textures, features, or works of art, but these design aspects garner appreciation only when they can be seen. Accent lighting allows you to focus attention in specific areas that highlight a room’s aesthetic features. Well-placed sconces can draw your eye to architectural elements, such as the interesting texture of a stone or brick fireplace, while a picture lamp tastefully illuminates a prized-possession. In order to achieve its full effect, accent lighting should be three times brighter than the ambient light surrounding the area of focus.


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