Using Lighting in Design: The Basics

When designing a space, it’s essential to determine the best lighting scheme—one that provides both beauty and function. To do this, you must understand the different types of light that will play into the overall ambiance of a room.

The American Lighting Association offers a wonderful overview of lighting types: ambient, task and accent, taking you through the definitions of each type and the best fixtures to accomplish them.

Think of ambient lighting as the main source of lighting, the foundation for illumination throughout a space. Task lighting does exactly what it sounds like—provides the light you need to do tasks like reading, cooking, working and so on. Accent lighting highlights specific accessories or walls, most often drawing attention to important artwork or architectural details.

In the Western ranch-style space on the right, we incorporated a chandelier to provide ambient light and brought in table lamps for task lighting.

Visit the American Lighting Association’s helpful guide to learn more about these lighting basics.

Image: Interior design by Home on the Range; Photo by Tim Murphy; Architecture by Joe Patrick Robbins, AIA


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