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Article: How To Use Lighting In Interior Design

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There are three different classes of lighting. These are broad categories and that some lights may fall under more than one category, e.g. track lights. LED, fluorescent and incandescent lights may be used in either class.

Ambient/General Lighting

Ambient, or general lighting is the first class of lighting most people think of. It includes:

  • Chandeliers
  • Up-lights (facing upwards) e.g. wall lights
  • Down-lights (facing downwards) e.g. lights on ceiling fans, ceiling lights
  • Natural light

Ambient lighting is the main source of light in any room, a basic requirement for any home. Using different lights will change the overall warmth of the room, but the effect is too general to highlight specific elements of your interior design.

Focal/Task Lighting

Focal/task lighting comprises lights required for specific situations and needs, like reading and cooking.

  • Table/floor lamps
  • Recessed lights
  • Track lights
  • Cabinet lighting

These tend to be smaller lights illuminating selected areas as needed. Focal lighting is just as functional as ambient lighting, but capable of providing a localised effect. For example, the cosy feel created by a floor lamp emitting amber light next to a sofa.

Accent Lighting

More decorative than functional, accent lighting tends to be ‘softer’ than focal lighting. Accent lighting includes:

  • Sconce lights
  • Recessed lights
  • Track lights
  • Niche lights

Accent lighting is to ambient and focal lights as a scalpel to a knife: helping to draw further attention to focal points (one of the principles of interior design), much as makeup is used to highlight desirable features.

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It is necessary to consider and design the lighting in conjunction with all your interior design selections as without lighting you will not be able to view your hard work?

 

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