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When designing your home, it’s important to understand the specific roles that different types of lighting play. There are generally four types of lighting to consider: natural, ambient, task, and accent. When used on their own, they can make a room appear flat, but when used alongside each other they can create a much more interesting space. A well-designed room will try to incorporate all four types of lighting when it can.

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Natural Lighting

Natural lighting in any room should generally be encouraged. Because the position of the light changes throughout the day and the seasons, you should pay close attention to how it affects each room in your home. By hanging a mirror opposite a window, you can reflect the light deeper into the room. This can have the effect of the room seeming larger and eliminate the “cave effect” that can be seen when the bright light that comes from outside the window is contrasted with the darkness towards the back of a room.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting, also known as background or general lighting, will be the primary source of artificial light in the room. This is typically provided by wall or ceiling-mounted fixtures like sconces, chandeliers, or recessed down lighting. The purpose of ambient lighting is to play the part of daylight and provide the main source of light in a space. It’s recommended that you have a central source to provide ambient lighting in each of your home’s rooms.

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Task Lighting

Task lighting, meanwhile, is designed to aid you in performing certain tasks, including everything from reading and writing to grooming and preparing food. Because legibility is a primary focus here, this kind of lighting should be free of distracting glare or shadow effects while also not being so strong that it causes eye strain. Task lights are usually tabletop fixtures like the iconic Angelpoise lamp, but floor lamps like this can also be used successfully.. When shopping, try to find something that is adjustable in both height and angle.

Accent Lighting

Finally, accent lighting is designed to highlight a specific piece of feature in a space. This is used by designers to create an immediate point of interest. It’s typically used to draw the eye to unique works of art, flora, or architectural features. In order to be effective, accent lighting should use at least three times as much light as the ambient lighting surrounding it, otherwise it won’t be  noticeable enough to give of the desire effect.

When it’s time to start thinking about renovating your home, don’t forget to factor in how different lighting can affect things. You might be surprised at what a difference seemingly subtle changes can make.

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