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I would like to add lighting to my plan's interior. Do you have any suggestions?
Lighting is an important consideration in the design of any interior space. Well designed lighting is tailored to the activities that take place there, enhances the decor, and helps create a positive experience of the space.
Interior lighting is often described in terms of layers, with each layer performing a specific function. Ambient light provides general illumination for a space and is usually considered the first layer. The next layer is task lighting, which provides additional, directed lighting for aiding in particular activities like reading or food preparation. After ambient and task lighting, the next layer to consider is accent lighting, which is used to call attention to special objects or architectural elements or which actually act as special features themselves.
Interior lighting can take many forms, including ceiling, wall, and cabinet mounted fixtures, as well as table and floor lamps, and there are a variety of light fixtures available in Home Designer software to help you plan your space.
Ambient, or general, lighting is light that illuminates the whole room and can be thought of as the indoor equivalent of natural sunlight outdoors. The majority of a room's ambient light usually comes from general purpose ceiling and wall fixtures, but light from other sources like task lighting and windows also contribute to the total ambient light in an interior space.
Typical sources of ambient light include flush mounted ceiling lights, ceiling fan lights, chandeliers, and torchieres. In addition, some wall sconces and recessed wall lights can be used for ambient lighting.
When planning the ambient light in a room, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:
Additional light fixtures can be added to your plan from the Library Browser, as described below.
Task lighting is used to supplement a room's ambient light, providing extra light in areas where specific tasks are often performed. Task lighting can contribute to the ambient light in a room, but one of its benefits is that it actually allows you to reduce the overall ambient light required in a space and save energy in the process.
Examples of activities that should have task lighting include reading, writing, cooking, sewing, and grooming (including bathing, shaving, applying makeup, and dressing). Good task lighting should make things easy to see without producing glare, and helps avoid eye fatigue and strain.
Common sources of task lighting include desk and table lamps, directional ceiling lights, adjustable or swing-arm floor or table lamps, and under counter lights.
When planning the task lighting for a room, it's helpful to start by making of list of the activities you plan to do there, as well as where in the room these activities are typically performed. Then consider the type of light that would be most helpful to each task
Unlike ambient and task lighting, accent lighting does not serve a strictly utilitarian purpose. It is, however, an invaluable design tool that can be used to create atmosphere and both highlight and compliment your other decorating choices. Accent lighting is sometimes discussed in terms of its various effects: including focal lighting, decorative lighting, and mood lighting.
Focal lighting is used to draw attention to a special object, such as a piece of art, or to highlight an architectural feature like a plant shelf, wall niche, or mantle. Focal lighting has the additional benefit of drawing the eye away from less attractive aspects of the space. Examples include art/picture lights, up lights, directional wall sconces and ceiling lighting, and lighting inside cabinetry or shelves.
Decorative lighting, on the other hand, is actually a special object in and of itself. Chandeliers, decorative wall sconces and pendant lights, art glass lamps, candles, and even neon art are examples of decorative lighting.
Mood lighting is used to achieve a particular atmosphere, feeling, or type of energy in a room. Often, focal and decorative lighting can also serve as mood lighting. Mood lighting can also be created with the use of dimmers on task or ambient light fixtures. For example, dimmers allow a kitchen to be well lit when food is being prepared, but more softly lit during meals.
When planning the accent lighting in a room, consider any important objects or architectural features that you would like to highlight, and think about how you would like people to feel when they are in the space.
When planning the lighting for a space or selecting fixtures, bear in mind that often, a light source can provide more than one layer of lighting. For example: