The Importance of Lighting part 1 (of 2)

Lighting is an indispensable decorating element: the most important component in a home’s decor.  It affects our mood, performance and mental health.  It illuminates our treasured objects and highlights our favorite colors, creating ironically, both reality and illusion. 


              Photo credit: Ralph Kayden of Unsplash

Light is the source of life, giving us needed energy and uplifting our spirits. Without light, life stops. Many homes are gloomy simply because they don’t have enough lighting fixtures.  Light can make a space appear larger, as well!  Interior designers bring light and energy inside the home by creating a lighting plan.

What are the components needed to create and sustain life in our world? Oxygen, water and… light!  Even a home with a surplus of windows can’t promise sunshine (especially in the Northwest!)  Natural lighting comes through skylights and windows depending on the weather, time, and season. It varies in intensity and brightness. 

          Photo credit: Sidekix Media of Unsplash

Manmade lighting, when appropriately set can make your rooms shine brilliantly. Therapeutic benefits of light can make the vast majority of us feel good, and when we lift our spirits we’re more effective at almost everything we do.  When the light is dim, any room lacks color and in general dampens the Ch’i (energy or life force) and weakens the disposition of its inhabitants. 

Without lighting, there would be no color, and when the lighting is dim, it dampens the vitality of a room and depresses your spirit. Balance plays an important part in the lighting of the home. 

Four Types of Lighting

There are four types of lighting that need to be considered – ambient, task, accent, and wall lighting.  All of these sources must work in harmony. The combined lighting effect should provide asymmetrically balanced light and supreme flexibility for various purposes, such as lighting for conversation, reading or accenting a collection of favorite objects.  Kitchens require the most options and often the most lighting in general per square foot, because you need ambient, task and frequently accent lighting to meet the needs of this often-used space.

1.   Ambient lighting 

This lighting provides illumination for the whole room, dissolving darkness and providing a foundation for all other lighting in a room. Ambient lighting includes: recessed downlights, cove lighting, valance lighting, sconces, track lighting, chandeliers and portable fixtures.  Installing dimmers when you select lighting fixtures will provide you with much greater versatility in making an effective lighting plan.

Photo credit by Kristin Hardwick from StockSnap








                                                      Photo credit from Bonnie Kittle from StockSnap

2.   Task lighting 

This is intended to help in completing the task at hand.  This could include cooking on your range, preparing food on kitchen countertops, completing school or office work, reading, and grooming. It should be free of glare, and effective without causing eye strain. Task lighting includes: mini-track lights, wall sconces, valance lighting, pendant lights and portable fixtures such as desk lamps.

              Photo credit: ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay

3.   Accent lighting 

This type of lighting focuses on illuminating an object like wall art, a statue or an architectural element of your space. It is provides more illumination than ambient light.  Accent lighting can come from fixtures, wall scones, lamps, indirect lighting, and from cove lighting.

4.   Wall lighting

This lighting is needed when you want to feature the texture of a wall made of stone or brick.  You may also want to wash the wall with light, and minimize shadows on an arrangement of family photos (or even a wall that has a lot of defects.) Wall washers, sconces and track lighting are examples of accent lighting.


                           Photo credit by George Desipris from StockSnap

We’re guessing you’re still asking, “How many recessed canned lights do I need in my kitchen/living room/family room?”  While you want to have some light in 100% of your space some of the time, having the identical amount of light throughout a space actually makes the space look a bit boring.  Another consideration is that lighter colors tend to reflect light, and darker ones absorb light. In that same vein, reflective surfaces such as polished granite will throw back more light than will surfaces with more texture, which will absorb it.  A more effective lighting plan will highlight your focal points and help the eye to move around the room and focus on features you want noticed.  The space will appear more upscale, and you and your guests will enjoy it to a greater extent.

                                         Photo credit: Taryn Elliott from Pexels

In Conclusion:

Not ready to develop a lighting plan for your space? Well, now you have a better sense of what the considerations need to be. Need help? I’m here to help you. This website will give you more information about the possibilities for your office or your home.

Have questions or wish to share your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you! If your home has need of some more light, take a picture and send it to us.  We’d love to help you start your next project.