Layered Lighting Explained

An interior space can boast the most beautiful artwork, stylish furniture, and luxurious textiles but if the lighting is not layered it will all look flat and uninteresting. Layering lighting is the process of combining different types of lighting to achieve a multidimensional, aesthetically pleasing, and functional space. To enhance a room’s visual appeal you need to know what the three main types of lighting are and how to use them.

Ambient lighting is sometimes called general lighting. It’s the foundation of lighting in a room and serves as the primary source of illumination. This type of lighting makes the room comfortable to use and safe to move around in. In a home environment, pendants, chandeliers, and flush-mount ceiling lights are the most common fixtures used to create ambient lighting. In commercial spaces such as offices and shops, commonly used fixtures include recessed lights and LED panels. Ambient lighting is the base lighting in a room and must be layered with two other types of lighting – accent lighting and task lighting.

This layer of lighting offers directional illumination so that you can carry out certain activities more effectively, for example reading a book or chopping food. Before you select task lighting fixtures, it’s important that you evaluate what activity gets performed in that area so that you choose an appropriate fixture to meet your specific needs. For example, if you’re looking for a bedside lamp to provide you with illumination to read at night then a wall-mounted lamp with an adjustable neck may be your best option. Task lighting fixtures include lamps, bathroom vanity lighting, pendants suspended above work surfaces, and under cabinet lighting. To reduce or eliminate potential glare, ensure that the bulb is shielded from the viewing angle. Depending on its placement, a single task light can result in shadows across the work surface. Use two different task lights to minimise the shadows.

Sometimes known as the decorative layer of lighting, accent lighting is used to create drama and highlight special objects or areas of the home. Interesting architecture, sentimental ornaments, and treasured artwork all benefit from accent lighting. While its main function is to showcase and enhance, accent lighting also serves as a secondary light source to fill in the gaps where ambient light does not reach. To get the most out of your accent lighting fixtures make sure the light is three times as bright as the surrounding space. Wall sconces, track lighting, downlights, torchère lamps, and LED rope lights are all popular choices for accent lighting fixtures.

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