Littman Bros |  October 18, 2013

What does it mean to Layer Lighting?

Layered LightingA room cannot be properly lit using one light source; different sources provide proper lighting for specific uses. Light layering is a design method in which a number of different light sources are blended together to create a cohesive and inviting design. Think of lighting as a wedding cake: three tiers with a little frosting on top.

The bottom tier and overall basis for every lighting plan is your “general lighting”. This light source provides an overall wash of light over the entire room and can be accomplished with recessed lighting, a chandelier or a ceiling mounted fixture like a pendant, flush or semi-flush mount.  Next, layer on some task lighting for specific work areas; a kitchen would benefit from pendant lighting over a prep island or under cabinet lighting. Reading lamps in your family room also allow for multiple functions of the space. Accent lighting is the delicate top tier. Be careful not to overpower the space. The job of accent lighting is to highlight key points of interest, like a painting or fireplace. Lighting can be used to add interest to a room lacking architectural detail; place up-lighting behind a coach or back-light a plant to add texture and soften sharp angles. The last step would be to add your frosting or decorative lighting – this should be a single item that provides soft lighting so as not to overpower the layers of light. This piece is your focal point and creates an eye-catching design with wonderful reactions from guests when entering the room. The layers of an effective lighting plan will accentuate a space, add beauty, provide utility and increase the perceived value of the home.