I’ll be honest here…lighting makes me giddy. Honestly I LOVE it. I had two lighting courses one semester and just found it so fascinating. I also took this amazing lighting certification course at Philips Lighting that was WAY cool. But don’t worry I am not here to bore you with lumens or watts or bulbs or any other technical information. I just wanted to let you in on this little secret you may not know about, and that’s there are three, yes, three types of lighting every space needs to not only look right, but to also function properly. I’m also going to let you in on what I believe is one of the BIGGEST lighting mistakes that is made.
Ambient, Task, Accent
That’s it, the three types of lighting every space needs…ambient, task and accent lighting. Let’s break it down. Ambient lighting – think over all general lighting of a space, like the sun and moon are to the earth. It’s up high and shines down and covers everything in an even flood of light. Basically it’s what allows us to see the space as we enter. Most common ambient lighting options are recessed down lights and flush fluorescent lights in commercial spaces. Basic simple, usually not fancy or anything you want to draw attention to. There is of course those times that a large gorgeous chandelier serves as a source of ambient light for a space, but is rarely alone in doing it’s job.
Task lighting…as per the name is used to light a task. Like a desk lamp for reading, under cabinet lighting in your kitchen lights your hands while you are chopping veggies so you don’t end up missing a finger (OK I still sometimes end up taking a nick out, but at least I saw it!), the special light a dentist uses to peer into your mouth…you get the point. It’s a light for completing a specific task, and should light the task itself.
Last but not least because it’s the fun lighting…accent lighting.
It’s the pretty light, the light that makes the space pop, adds romance and beauty to a space. It’s the decorative touch that sets the mood of the room. It’s the up lighting on top of your cabinetry, it’s the decorative wall sconces, it’s the track lighting that highlights a wall of artwork. It’s the floor lamp in the corner that acts as a piece of art itself. Accent lighting is the lighting that pulls your space together and makes it special.
The biggest lighting mistake…
How could we go wrong, it’s seems pretty simple, right? Doesn’t sound too difficult… light up the room, light up whatever task you’ll be doing there, and add a touch of pizzazz with a little accent lighting. So what are we doing wrong…the biggest lighting mistake I see is trying to light a space with task or accent lighting. AKA using lamps or under cabinet lighting to try and light an entire space. It’s seems kind of silly right? But it’s honestly the biggest mistake I see. Listen it’s not always our fault. You may have moved into an older home (like we did) with no overhead lighting. Our whole house came with three overhead lights when we moved in, one in each hallway, upstairs and down and one over our kitchen table…all three left a lot to be desired, both in function and aesthetics. Which left me scrambling for…you guessed it…lamps.
Living in the dark is no fun. Working in the dark is no exception. Time and again I have seen one tiny 2×2 light in a large private office. Tired eyes = slower work =less productivity =less $$$ Plain and simple.
Lighting affects our mood, how we work and live.
So don’t make the biggest lighting mistake out there. As long as your space has electricity (considering you are reading this I’m assuming you have electricity) it is fairly simple to have some recessed lighting installed by an electrician. If you can do no other lighting, at least get your ambient lighting in, believe me, you’ll be thanking me for getting you out of the dark!
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