First we start with ambient lighting. When I start a lighting project I will usually start with the ambient lighting. This could be recessed lights or surface mounted lights or a combination of the two. You want to make sure the room is well lit by placing the lights where the light will reflect off the walls. This will make the room feel more inviting. When you place recessed lights too far from the walls it will create what is called the cave effect and the room will feel very unpleasant.
Next, we want to add the accent lighting. I think this is crucial because this will create points of interest in the room. We can light artwork on the walls or a sculpture on a stand. We can add a well-lit wall niche or wash an entire wall that has an interesting texture. This is where you can get creative by using track lighting or individual spots and picture lights. Your recessed lights can be accent lights, too.
Now we need to think about the task lighting. Task lighting needs to be a very direct light source. This is really important in kitchens where you are preparing meals. But also important in the office, the bedrooms and even the family room if you have an area where you play board games or the kids do homework. The kitchen will need undercabinet lights and perhaps a few pendants over the island. The bedrooms may need reading lights and the office a nice desk lamp.
Now you now what to look for. So, the next time you walk into a room see if you can spot any or all of the three basic types of lighting. And if you need help layering the lighting in your home, know that I am here to help.
About the Author: Joe Barone has been with Farrey's Lighting + Bath for over 27 years and is one of our go to's when it comes to anything lighting related.