Light Your Home Like a Design Pro!

Lighting is key to room function and ambiance.

Accessories are often called the "jewelry" of room design. In that spirit, we can compare lighting elements to wardrobe basics. No matter how stylish they might be, you can't function with a closet full of nothing but pants. And without the right types of illumination a room won't function properly. Finding the right lighting is about more than selecting attractive fixtures, it's about making sure each room is comfortable, beautiful and practical.

Three Types of Lighting
There are three main types of lighting to consider, accent, ambient and task. Not every room needs all three types, but some combination is typically present in the public spaces of your home.

Tip from a Pro: How much light does one room need? Lighting pros use a basic formula to make sure each room has the proper amount of illumination. Multiply the room's length by its width, then multiply that number by 1.5. The sum represents the total amount of wattage appropriate for that room. That wattage may come from a single chandelier or an overhead light and two table-side lamps, depending on the room's functional needs.

Ambient Lighting  
Overhead lighting fixtures that diffuse light throughout an entire room provide ambient lighting. Don't be confused by industry terms, chandeliers, wall sconces and pendants are sometimes referred to as "general lighting" as well.

Tip from a Pro -- Install dimmer switches on some of your overhead lights to control the amount of ambient light throughout the day.

Accent Lighting 
Light used to illuminate artwork, plants or other important objects is considered accent lighting. Track or recessed lights are typically used for accenting because they can be positioned in a specific direction.

Tip from a Pro: Proud of a beautiful paint job? Use an up-facing can light to accent a special wall finish in an otherwise dark corner.

Task Lighting  
Just as it sounds, task lighting is the concentrated light you need to perform daily tasks. Reading lamps, vanity lights and lighting over kitchen workspaces are a few examples of task lighting.

Tip from a Pro: Instead of using two or three table lamps to provide task lighting, use a table lamp, a floor lamp and a small pendant to project light from different heights and add more visual interest to the room.

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