Lighting Style and Trends Blog

Four Types of Interior Home Lighting

Posted by Gavin Martin on Tue, September 29, 2009

Home lighting is the art of painting light and shadows onto a dark canvas. The best lighting designer is a problem solver, determining where light is needed and then directing it there with economy and flair.

Murray Feiss LightingFour Types of Lighting

There are four basic types of lighting that are used to achieve optimal lighting design. They are ambient lighting, task lighting, accent lighting, and decorative lighting.

Ambient lighting

the undefined areas of a room are filled with a soft level of general light, enough or someone to navigate through the room by. An ambient glow not only makes a room more inviting it also helps people in the room look their best by filling in harsh shadows created by stronger point light sources. Ambient light usually comes from indirect lighting fixtures that provide diffuse illumination. Directional fixtures aimed at a wall or wall sconces can also produce a wash of soft light.

Task Lighting

is a bright light that illuminates a particular area where a visual activity, such as reading, sewing or food preparation takes place. Task lighting is often achieved with individual fixtures that direct a light pattern of light to a particular area or worksurface. The ability to adjust task lighting is important as is shielding - hiding the bulb from direct sight. It is best to angle task lighting so that it does not cause "hot spots" or throw shadows onto the work surface. Where possible, two sources of task lighting are better than one.

Accent Lighting

is similar to task lighting in that it consists largely of directed light. Accent lighting is used to focus attention on artwork, to highlight architectural features, to help set a mood or provide drama.

Decorative Lighting

can be found in any of the three previous categories. Decorative lighting draws attention to itself, and can sometime be the centerpiece or focal point of a room. Dining rooms and two-story entryways are classic examples of how the lighting can be a very important, if not the most important decorative aspect of the room.
Murray Feiss Lighting

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Tags: Murray Feiss, Accent Lighting, Ambient Lighting, Task Lighting, Design tips

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