Lighting can make a big difference in how you feel about your home.
It helps you perform tasks more easily, makes you feel safer and more comfortable, and allows you to enjoy your home to its full potential. Lighting adds beauty and drama to a room. It can make a small room look open and airy, and a large room appear cozy and inviting. It can create a stimulating atmosphere for a night of entertaining, or a quiet feeling of relaxation after a long, tiring day. In so many ways, lighting can make a difference. And, it does so inexpensively compared to other home decorating or remodeling options.
Determining your needs.
Lighting should be planned to complement your lifestyle. So, first you need to develop a home lighting plan that suits your individual needs and those of your family. When planning your lighting, look at the activities that occur in each room, the atmosphere you want to create and the decorative elements you wish to emphasize. Keep in mind that light can be absorbed and even wasted in dark-colored rooms, or reflected and used as additional illumination in light-colored rooms.
There are three basic types of lighting that work together to light your home: General, Task and Accent. A good lighting plan combines all three types to light an area, according to function and style.
General Lighting provides an area with overall illumination. Also known as ambient lighting, general lighting radiates a comfortable level of brightness, enabling one to see and walk about safely. It can be accomplished with chandeliers, ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures, recessed or track lights, and with lanterns outside your home. A basic form of lighting that replaces sunlight, general lighting is fundamental to a lighting plan.
Task lighting helps you perform specific tasks such as reading, sewing, cooking, homework, hobbies, games, or balancing your checkbook. It can be provided by under cabinet, tape and track lighting, pendant lighting, and portable lamps. Task lighting should be free of distracting glare and shadows and should be bright enough to prevent eyestrain.
Accent Lighting adds drama to a room by creating visual interest. As part of a decorating scheme, it is used to spotlight paintings, houseplants, sculpture, and other prized possessions, or to highlight the texture of a wall, drapery or outdoor landscaping. Accent lighting requires at least three times as much light on the focal point as the general lighting around it. This usually is provided by track, under cabinet, tape, or wall-mounted fixtures.
Information Source: American Lighting Association