My goal is to help you find the perfect lighting for your space and create the perfect lighting layout. When it comes to selecting lighting, first determine the size of the area of focus. The area of focus is the space in the room that needs light. The size of the area will determine which fixture type is most appropriate. There are three main types of lighting: Ambient Lighting, Task Lighting, and Accent Lighting. A great lighting layout is achieved by designing well-layered ambient lighting in concert with accent lighting, and task lighting.
TIP: The best way to set up a lighting fixture layout is to start with a scaled drawing of your room. You want the lighting to be evenly distributed throughout the space. Consider how much natural sunlight comes in, and plan accordingly.
The First Layer: Establish Necessary Ambient Lighting
The Second Layer: Determine the Required Task Lighting Specific to Each Room’s Use
The Third Layer: Enhance the Aesthetic Design Features with Accent Lighting
TIP: Have a budget in mind, as well as a general idea on which style you are trying to go for; try to think about each room and what kinds of activities take place within each, as well as what impression you want the room to give off.
Ambient lighting is the ‘base layer’ in a thoughtful lighting layout; it is what will allow us to walk into a room. It meets the necessary requirements to safely and effectively illuminate the interior design of a space. Also referred to as general lighting, ambient lighting allows for easy movement throughout a room by bouncing lighting off ceilings for even diffusing and minimal shadows. Typically, a central source, mounted to the ceiling, meets the practical requirements of ambient lighting. Consider ceiling lights like chandeliers, track or recessed lighting, flush and semi-flush mounts as well as bright table or floow lamps. Each room should have a solid foundation of ambient lighting.
Accent lighting is not only utilitarian, but creates and compliments the interior or exterior design. A room’s textures, features, and attributes will only garner appreciation when they can be seen. Accent lighting allows you to focus attention in specific areas that highlight a room’s aesthetic features. In order to achieve its full effect, accent lighting should always be brighter than the ambient lighting that surrounds the area of focus. In terms of selecting a fixture that accents a space, I focus on the materials, and how they will compliment the design of a room. Plating, frame, quality, and craftsmanship are what make some lighting fixtures superior to others.
Task lighting focuses on the myriad of things that might occur in a given room. The demands of a task light will be determined by the task at hand. For example, kitchens require strong, shadow free lighting in areas where food preparation will take place, as well as warm, inviting illumination that highlights a kitchen’s role in social gatherings. Other examples to consider are the detailed grooming tasks that will take place in a bathroom, or reading, hobbies, and game-playing. Each task at hand will have their own lighting requirements, which can be met with a variety of pendants, wall-mounts, and portable fixtures.
Outdoor lighting is essential when lighting your home; it heightens the beauty of your property while providing safety and security. Especially in the spring and summer, outdoor lighting allows you to use those spaces in the evening hours and enjoy the fresh outdoor air. Here are some general tips for your outdoor lighting scheme:
- Make sure you have a well-lit front entrance in order to welcome guests and distinguish your visitors.
- Path lights or post lights surrounding a walkway will provide ample light for you and your guests and allow for a safe walk to the front door. Another way to shed light on your walkway is by accenting plants, trees or bushes with outdoor spotlights or uplights.
- Outdoor hanging lanterns or outdoor flush mounts are great for the porch or additional overhangs around your home. For decks, porches and patios you can use deck or step lights as well; low-voltage landscape lights provide a more romantic setting.
- A garage should have outdoor wall sconces mounted on either side for sufficient safety and security.
- Try and match the style of your outdoor lighting to the look and feel of the exterior of your home; you want a cohesive look, it is the first thing your guests see after all.
- You can enhance the architectural appearance of your home by accenting the details of your home’s exterior with landscape spotlights.
- For added security, think about adding a spotlight or wall sconce to the over-shadowed sections and side of your home.