Use This Simple Lighting Technique Now for the Win
Earlier this week, I wrote about transforming your space with lighting. In today’s lighting series, I want to go over the different types of lighting. Mainly, there are 4 categories: ambient, task, accent and decorative. By layering different types of lighting, you can have both functionality and beauty. Win, win! That’s why I love layering so much, because you can have a lot of fun with it and injects personality into your space.
I always think of styling is a bit like making a cake. You have the foundation, which is the cake. It can be yellow cake, chocolate cake, whatever cake you want. Within the cake there is filling, that “glues” the layers together and adds flavors. Then there is icing, covering the exterior of the cake. Lastly there is decoration, which determines the style and appearances of the cake. For example, you would decorate a cake for a wedding very differently from a cake for a graduation. All together, you create a cake based on your design and purpose. It is the same with styling and with lighting.
Lighting can always sound very dry and technical, but it is a crucial component of styling the interiors. Lighting sells, it also affects our moods. Naturally, we are drawn to spaces that are well-lit and light filled. Bright spaces also sell better, both for the products and the spaces. Just think about Apple stores, ranked in United Staes as the number 1 retailer with highest sales revenue per square foot (source). The stores are not only filled with light, they are also very well lit.
This simple technique of layering these different types of lighting will help you build a well-lit interior that is both attractive and functional.
Ambient lighting is the general lighting, the basis of layered lighting. It’s the structure lighting. Like the overhead lighting in the room. This is your foundation, the cake. It serves as background lighting. It is always almost the least noticeable, but without overhead lighting, the room will feel darker and the overall lighting will feel uneven.
As the name suggests, task lighting is lighting for the function of the space. It helps you perform specific tasks. For example, the lighting on the night stands help to illuminate the room and gives you light when you read before bed.
Accent lighting is the highlight, like showcase light. It can adds drama to the room and create visual interests. Accent lighting is often used to draw the eyes to certain elements in the home, like paintings, prized possessions / collections and landscaping in the yard.
Decorative lighting is purely decorative, like chandeliers. This is the wow factor when someone first walk into the space. It may not be functional, but it adds to the ambience of the environment. A statement piece of lighting can also become the focal point of the room, like this photo above.
LIGHTING IS NOT JUST FOR FUNCTIONAL PURPOSES!
To build a beautiful and delicious cake, you need all 4 elements. Often times, you can have one lighting that serves multiple functions. For example, a chandelier can be both decorative and ambient.
Lighting itself can also be decorative objects. A beautiful piece of light fixture can become the focal point of the room, conversation topics and introduce visual interests.
Lastly, don’t forget natural light! By blending various lighting types and sources (both natural and artificial), you can create spaces that are both attractive and functional.