Lighting is one of the most important elements of any space. Even a beautifully decorated room can be dull and drab – not to mention non-functional – without the proper lighting.
Thinking about lighting in terms of “layers” can make it easier to break a daunting task into more manageable parts.
Lighting throughout a room should be from each of three different layers:
1. Ambient Lighting. The first and largest lighting layer is the ambient lighting. Ambient lighting is the light that fills the room. Quite often, ambient lights are installed in the ceiling of a room, and they are controlled by a light switch near the entrance of the room. Ambient light tends to light a room evenly, but it does not provide adequate light for detailed tasks. Good ambient light provides illumination for cleaning a room and for entering a space without tripping over things on the way in.
2.. Task lighting. The next layer of lighting is task lighting. Task lights are used to illuminate a small area – say a comfy reading chair – and provide brighter light for reading, writing, cooking or other tasks. Task lights are most often portable lamps, but they can also take the form of pendant lights shining down on the surface of a countertop or undercabinet lighting in the kitchen.
Lamps need to be placed on a living room furniture table large enough to accommodate both the lamp and other items such as a book or a cup of coffee. To choose a table in the proper size, be sure to select one that is larger than the diameter of the lampshade on your fixture; if your table is too small, the lamp will overpower the furniture. A lamp table such as the Round Poppy Table Lamp in the Sanctuary furniture collection is large enough to accommodate a reading lamp as well as your favorite refreshments and decorative accessories.
3. Accent lighting. The last layer of lighting included in a well-lit space is accent lighting. Accent lighting typically provides very little useful light in a room. Rather, accent lighting is used to highlight architectural or furniture details throughout the space.Accent lamps look perfectly at home atop a buffet in the dining room, a sofa table in the family room or console table in the entry foyer.
The right lighting can change a space from a dramatic place for entertaining guests to a bright space suitable for working on your taxes. Including light fixtures from each of the three light layers will ensure you have enough lighting to meet all your decorative and functional needs.