There are at least three types of lighting that will amplify the room’s ability to help you fulfil your function. Creatively deploying them will help you achieve the maximum returns of the interior space and also customise them to your discerning taste. Good lighting should be designed as a balance between these three types:
AMBIENT/ GENERAL LIGHTING
Ambient lighting is the overall illumination of the space, without a particular purpose or task. Since it provides illumination uniformly to the entire space, independently of other sources, it is a fundamental aspect of the lighting design.
Ambient lighting creates an overview of the room, and when it is reflected off of walls, it lights up the area to create more space. Basically, it should make it easy for people to move around in the space.
This is the most common type of lighting that we commonly find at homes. The goal is to make the lighting as natural and flat as possible, so it isn’t suited for working closely with things or to highlight your spaces/ artefacts. It is also referred to as ‘mood lighting’ since it is designed to create a relaxing, stress-free environment.
Common types of ambient light sources: Chandeliers, pendants, recessed, track, ceiling, etc.
When we work, details can make all the difference between a good and a great job. General illumination is not enough. For reading, cooking, computer work, crafts, etc., the lighting has to provide the right amount of illumination to ensure a pleasant, positive feel of the place. For this, you will need a brighter light that focuses on the specific section of the room where these tasks are carried out.
Task lighting is achieved with smaller, more concentrated lights with strong contrast. Without contrast i.e., if the entire room is illuminated evenly as a task light, you will have a lot of glares and shadows. The contrast in light keeps the mind focused and boosts concentration. Task lighting is usually used for functional purposes.
Common types of task light sources: swing arm lamps, spot light, etc.
You can create a visually arresting interest in a space with the right kind of accent lighting. It is designed to draw focus to a specific point of interest, though it can also be used to achieve other seamless effects. Accent lighting gives the impression of a larger room, and is used to highlight an architectural feature, or personal and cultural artefacts. It is mainly used for decorative purposes.
Accent lighting adds oodles of charm and style to your personal space. The usual rule of thumb the focal point of accent lighting has to be at least 3X brighter than that of the ambient light. Your goal is to draw attention to the desired point without the light itself drawing any attention.
ADDING LAYERS TO THE LIGHTING
The right type of lighting can elevate the ambience of the space and wrong choices ruin what could have been perfect. The perfect space requires all three types of lighting balanced to suit its functional and aesthetic purposes. You can creatively use the different types of lighting to create layers that build the overall ambience and mood of the room. Consider each of the types mentioned above to design the best lighting design for your space. Ensure that the focal points of the room have a central theme. Ideally, you should start with the ambient light and then add the accent and task lighting sources to ensure the right contrast and cohesion.
Hidden light sources are a great idea to add character to a space, especially when layered with other sources (even natural light). When someone is in that space, they are intrigued by the source and expands their perception of space. It emphasises the form or structure while adding a bit of mystery.