While it’s easy to get excited about picking furniture, art, and textile accessories for your home, there’s an important aspect of your home’s mood and function that can’t be overlooked: lighting.
The layers of lighting in your rooms establish and support the use of each area. There are generally four layers of lighting.
- General or ambient lighting
- Task lighting
- Accent lighting
- Mood lighting
First, general or ambient lighting is where you start lighting a room, a baseline. It is the even, overall amount of light in a space and is usually provided by overhead fixtures, whether recessed lights in the ceiling or fixtures mounted to the ceiling. The lighting effect is usually soft and even. Higher levels of lighting, such as is needed in a workspace or garage, often come from fluorescent fixtures.
In a dining room, however, you might choose a chandelier for your source of ambient light. In the evening, our White and Gold Quatrefoil Chandelier from The Mint Julep’s collections would cast a soft glow over your dinner party.
Secondly, task lighting is provided by fixtures that illuminate a particular area for a certain purpose. Kitchen work spaces, reading, study, or dressing areas, for example.
Our Gold Honeycomb Pendant is one to consider. What’s not to love about this honeycomb gold pendant? Can you envision it over your kitchen sink or breakfast table? Or a pair over your island or peninsula? For good academic lighting, how about over your children’s homework desk or table?
Not only kitchens and desks require task lighting, but consider your bathroom mirror.
Why settle for a builder grade fixture casting harsh shadows over your vanity when you could flank your mirror with a couple of amazing wall sconces? Style unlimited--and we all know face height bulbs are best for makeup application!
The third layer of home lighting is accent lighting. While accent lighting can serve to spotlight a feature in your home, it can be a feature in itself. Lamps are a typical type of accent lighting.
At times, the functions of task lighting and accent lighting overlap. Table lamps and floor lamps are perfect for illuminating your reading or conversation area, of course, but as accents they are also a stylish part of your decor. (Really, that gold brushed shade!) Choosing accent lamps--that’s where you can really have some decorating delight! Lamps perfectly perform as accent lighting, but also consider sconces in this role. Picture and artwork lights would be considered accent lights.
How do you want your space to feel at any given time? Perky? Inviting? Restful? Mood lighting is not actually a separate category of lighting, because any of the above types of lighting can be used to establish a mood for your tasks, occasions or activities. You can put a dimmer on your chandelier for an intimate dinner. You can create a welcoming ambience with pendant lighting or wall sconces in your foyer. Accent lamps can brighten a dark corner.
Just like the natural light of a room in the daytime, your lighting choices influence how a room feels and functions. Look around your rooms and see how a few judicious lighting changes could change the look and quality of your interiors.