One of the key features of any interior design must be the lighting plan. When considered carefully the correct lighting plan can really add a layer of style and atmosphere to any room within the home. Now we must look at the three types of lighting we can use, which when correctly combined, can achieve this. They are general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting.
General lighting, sometimes referred to as ambient light, is the most common used type of lighting within a room. Either it will be the centre light fitting suspended from the ceiling as your main source of light or it can be wall light fittings if there is no centre ceiling light. General lighting is the most important form of lighting within a room as it has the function of producing sufficient light to ensure people are able to see and move within the room in a safe manner.
Task lighting is primarily used to add an additional level of lighting for a specific task where the general lighting may be insufficient. For example, a reading desk may require the addition of a table or desk lamp to give light aimed at a certain place to enable the reader to view paper work clearly without impeding the eyesight.
Another important area of the home where we should use task lighting and is very often overlooked is under cabinet lighting in kitchens where the general light is often blocked by a person preparing food on a work surface. The use of under cabinet lights will generate the perfect illumination for task lighting in a kitchen creating a safely lit area.
Bathroom lighting is another form of task lighting within the home. The same situation occurs in the bathroom as in the kitchen when a bathroom mirror is used and a person’s body will block out the general light impeding the view. This is easily rectified with the use of either wall lights or mirror lights. Remember when choosing a task light for bathroom use, only use a light intended for that particular bathroom zone, and the other is to consider the illumination glare from the chosen light.
Depending on the wattage used, type of lamp bulb and positioning of the light, thought must be given to stop the glare from a light actually impeding vision rather than assisting it. Task lighting in a sitting room can be in the use of a floor standard lamp positioned behind a chair or settee to light up a specific area for reading. Bedroom task lights would be in the similar theme either table lamps or wall lights again for lighting targeted areas.
Accent lighting is by far the most creative and interesting of all three categories of lighting as it is not used at all for practical use; instead it is used to create moods within rooms and to highlight features.
Accent Lighting has really empowered the home lighting designer to become more and more creative over the past few years and with new styles of products becoming available it is the most creative type of lighting that can be used to fashion many wonderful moods around any home, making very dramatic lighting design statements or to create beautifully subtle effects, which can be striking in their minimalism.
One aspect to be considered when choosing accent lighting is to consider the energy consumption of the fitting you choose to create this ambient type of lighting. With the cost of energy bills rising, the awareness of the environment and our carbon footprint we should choose accent lighting that uses low energy light fittings which will create effective features without damaging our wallets as well as the planet.
Accent lighting will give your home an individual and unique personal touch from the use of LED's that are very low wattage and can highlight any feature in your home such as curtain pelmets. A dark gloomy corner of any room can be transformed into an array of different colours. The only thing that can hold you back on accent lighting is your own imagination.