Does your home feel dark, dull, and dreary during nighttime hours? This is probably a symptom of poor indoor lighting. Lighting is important for a huge number of things—it influences how functional and livable your home is, and can vary wildly from space to space. It also influences how your home looks and plays a crucial part in your home’s aesthetic qualities. Therefore, updating poor lighting is a pretty high improvement project on many homeowner lists.
However, improving lighting isn’t some small secret that can be easily and quickly implemented. While changing bulbs and updating fixtures can greatly improve your lighting, there’s a very particular science to doing so. But it doesn’t have to be difficult—understanding the different types of lighting in your home and what these types of lighting do can help you better understand how to improve your lighting dramatically.
Here are the three types of lighting and some examples of each so you can better understand how to properly utilize electric lights throughout your home’s various spaces.
Ambient lighting is by far the most common and important type of lighting in any particular space. This type of light is your primary source of illumination, and thus needs to be the strongest and most readily available type of light. However, ambient light also cannot be focused too strongly—if you do, you’ll get a spotlight effect that heavily illuminates just one area while leaving the rest of the space in shadows. For this reason, ambient light is typically extremely bright and designed to be cast all around the room, including using the walls and the ceiling itself to reflect light over a much greater area.
Some examples of ambient light are large fluorescent lights that illuminate a kitchen space, recessed lighting in a dining or living area, or even the light fixture on a ceiling fan positioned in the middle of a bedroom. Ambient lighting is typically attached to a light switch somewhere in the room as well, allowing you to quickly and thoroughly illuminate that room with ease and minimal effort.
Whereas ambient lighting needs to be widespread, bright, and unfocused, accent lighting typically is heavily focused on one very small area. Accent lighting is used to highlight certain areas or certain spaces within your home. Accent lighting can be small and subtle or it can be big and bright, depending on what it is you’re going for. For example, if you have a treasured work of art hanging on one of your walls, you may choose to have a special lamp dedicated to illuminating it so you and anyone else looking at it can truly appreciate its color properly.
There may be no better example of accent lighting than uplighting around a home’s exterior. Uplighting is a form of decorative lamp that is positioned on the ground near the foundation of your home. The light is positioned in such a way that it casts a narrow beam that goes upward along the side of your home, creating a long, beautiful beam of light that highlights a particular feature or creates an eye-catching pattern. Sometimes uplighting is also placed near trees or in gardens near tall bushes. That way you can enjoy that particular feature of your property even when the sun goes down. Other types of outdoor accent lighting can include decorative lights in your garden that selectively light certain features.
Task lighting is sort of a combination of ambient and accent lighting: it isn’t the main light in a space, but it is still functional and it does still need to be bright and filling. However, it also does need to be focused. Task lighting is something put in place to allow you to do something. For example, a chandelier hung in a dining room space may not be the only light in the area. In fact, it may not even be the primary light source. However, this fixture has an important role: illuminating the table so everyone can see what they’re eating and enjoy the meal in comfort.
There are tons of different types of task lighting out there. A swivel lamp over a workbench is a type of task lighting, a hanging lamp that allows you to work under the hook of a cark is a type of task lighting, and even a flashlight that helps you during a power outage is a type of task lighting. We could go on and on with examples. However, that last one explains why task lighting and ambient lighting are different—if you have ever tried to light up an entire room with a flashlight before, you were likely extremely disappointed. Sure you may have been able to see a little bit, but the focused nature of this task light made it difficult to discern anything other than what the lamp was pointed directly at.
Are you looking to improve your lighting? Our electricians at Service Today can help! Dial (888) 998-2032 to schedule a consultation and learn more about improving your lighting now.