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Lighting: How to Expertly Light Any Room

A well-lit room is one you’ll never notice, because the lighting is discreet. Whether it’s a brilliantly-lit kitchen or a softly-lit bedroom, well-chosen and well-placed lights brighten the room without drawing attention to themselves. Here’s a quick overview of lighting, how to choose it, and how to place it.

Task Lighting

Task lighting is what it sounds like. It’s the workhorse: the light source that provides what you need to get the job done. Often, the places in your home that most need task lighting are your office, kitchen, bathroom, stairwells, and garage, as well as any other workspaces or places where safety is absolutely key.

Task lighting can be as simple as a lamp on a desk or as complex as recessed lights in the ceiling, but the key thing to remember about task lighting is that it should increase contrast. The human eye values contrast and it’s a good way to ensure that something pops out to your eye, making your tasks easier. It’s why you’ll often find very bright, downward facing lights in kitchens and offices; the contrast helps you do your job.

In the home, consider small, bright lights, such as track lights, to provide your task lighting. Look for a color temperature as close to white as possible; again, this will help increase contrast. Avoid diffusion, and make sure they’re not the primary light source for your room; otherwise they can make objects appear a bit too harsh.

Ambient Lighting

This is generally what people think of, when they think of “lighting” in the home. Ambient lighting is designed to provide a nice, even, diffused light source that can fill a room. Generally, ambient lighting starts with a fixture in the ceiling; look for something translucent, so you can diffuse the light and give things a softer shadow and a gentler look. You find ambient lighting mostly in living spaces: Bedrooms, dining rooms, and living rooms are lit primarily with ambient light.

Great lighting mixes home decor and light design.

Look for lights with a slightly warmer color temperature, if possible, or use the new computer-controlled LED lights that can shift in temperature; if not, or if you need maximum brightness, consider getting a colored glass fixture. And don’t be shy about choosing a fixture; there are thousands of styles and designs to choose from, to fit every single style for any home. Beyond that, look for lamps and other fixtures that throw lots of light, but perhaps bounce it off a wall or shine it through a translucent shade.

Also, if possible, put your ambient light fixtures on dimmers. Dimmers give you an enormous amount of variety and control in both light and shadows, but will need to have the voltage properly matched with the fixture and the bulb. Otherwise your house will be filled with an annoying buzzing.

Accent and Mood Lighting

Any room in your home can have accent and mood lighting; if you want to get particularly creative, you can create a mood with a flick of a switch. The key, however, is to ask yourself before installing any accent or mood lights whether they’re necessary or useful. Often you can create similar effects with items such as lamps or candles.

Need to have your lighting installed just right? Start with Trusted Home Contractors. We’ll help you find electricians and lighting professionals to give your home all the lighting it needs, and done right. So make your home brilliant, with Trusted Home Contractors. End

Photo credits: Maher Berro, Theen