Are there areas of your home you avoid without knowing exactly why?
Are there certain tasks you just don’t like to do?
Do you find yourself paying the bills at the dining table instead of at your desk?
The proper indoor lighting can radically alter the way you use and feel about your spaces, making your home more comfortable and more beautiful.
If you think about why you avoid these areas or find the tasks burdensome, you might find that part of the problem is inappropriate indoor lighting. Maybe there is too much light for certain activities like watching TV or enjoying a romantic dinner. Or maybe there’s not enough light for reading, conversation or food preparation.
The right indoor lighting can absolutely change the look and feel of a space, making it more pleasant to be in and more comfortable for doing the activities you need to do in that space. Let’s look at some types of indoor lighting and how to incorporate them into your design plan.
Natural Indoor Lighting
Natural indoor lighting will come from windows, lighted doors (doors with glass panes in them), and skylights. It will vary in intensity throughout the day depending on the orientation of the light source and the presence or absence of clouds. Of course, at night it will be gone.
In large rooms, it may be desirable to “zone” your indoor lighting so that areas that receive natural light during the day are not artificially lighted, but areas that do not benefit from natural light can be. It may also be necessary to filter or block natural light at certain times of the day to prevent overheating of a space or sun in your eyes while trying to work.
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Overhead Indoor Lighting
Overhead indoor lighting can come from ceiling mounted light fixtures, track lights or recessed flood fixtures (can or pot lights). The goal of this type of indoor lighting is to provide a certain level of light throughout a space. In eating or entertainment areas, you may want to install a rheostat (dimmer switch) so that the intensity of the light can be adjusted according to the activity at hand – less light for dining or watching TV, more light for playing cards, reading or doing paperwork.
Task lighting can come from recessed spot lights, pendant lights, under cabinet mounted lights or lamps. It can be used alone or in addition to overoverhead indoor lighting. The purpose of task lighting is to provide the right amount of light in the right area to facilitate tasks that require more light such as cooking, reading, paperwork, food prep in the kitchen, etc.
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Indirect lighting is hidden, usually behind a crown molding or wall panel, and reflected off the ceiling or adjacent wall surfaces. It makes great lighting for a media room, den or wherever gentle indoor lighting is required. Indirect lighting makes it easy to safely move around in a space without having the glare of an exposed fixture in your face, hence making it ideal for media or TV areas and other low-light activities.
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Accent and Spot Lighting
Spot lighting can be used in specific areas to highlight art works or to bathe a focal wall in light or to provide localized intense light for specific tasks. Spot lights can be recessed into the ceiling, attached to picture frames or come from lamps. Partial shades are available for recessed spot lights to direct all of the light to the desired area.