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Lighting Design and How Understanding it can Improve Your Space

Updated on March 25, 2016

For many of us, the only time we really stop to think about the lighting is when we flip the switch and nothing happens, or perhaps when we decide the lights are too bright – or perhaps insufficient – for a particular space. Otherwise, as long as the lights come on when we need them, little thought is given to the lighting in a particular space. In fact, up until recent years, the light bulb has stayed relatively the same. The shape has changed and amount of wattage has increased, but otherwise a light bulb and light fixture was just something we used, but did not give much thought to.

However, in recent years, not only has the shape and wattage changed, but so has the types of lighting available. Thanks to a better understanding of how light not only allows us to see, but can set moods, increase work, and can even aid in helping one feel better. In fact, according to lighting expert, Patricia Rizzo of DesignWorks Program Manager for the Lighting Research Center, "Lighting is a powerful tool in a person's health, and in their daily rhythms."

The Types of Lighting

Today, lighting can be divided into four types – ambient lighting, task lighting, accent lighting, and decorative lighting. Each of these serve a specific purpose, and most space will us a combination of types.

  • Ambient lighting is used to fill in the undefined areas of a room. It is usually a softer level of light that allows a person to navigate a room without fear of running into anything.
  • Task lighting is set up to make it easier to perform a specific job. It might be a reading lamp, track lighting in kitchen prep space or perhaps above a table where a specific hobby is enjoyed.
  • Accent lighting is often a form of a spotlight used to highlight a work of art, a particular architectural feature, or some other focal point in a room.
  • Decorative lighting is quite often simply a way to draw attention to that particular light, though it could be a chandelier, or piece designed to not only provide light but to coordinate with your room’s décor.

Keep in mind, that lighting should be used efficiently, meaning that it should be used to enhance a space, while making it easy for people to see what the room contains. When you combine any of these types of lighting, you can accomplish a room design that is not only illuminated, but attractive, too.

Understanding lighting design will allow you to create the perfect mood for any environment – be it the office or the dining room. You don’t even have to be a lighting designer! Of course, if you need help in creating the perfect lighting layout for your home or business, talk to a lighting pro such as those at The Lighthouse and ask them to check out your space.

Many websites provide additional information on the topic of lighting design. One such site worth visiting is The Lighthouse

anet Slagell independently authors articles for, Inc. for search engine marketing. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those solely of the author, and not of any other person, company or organization. No guarantee or warranty, express or implied, is made regarding the accuracy, fitness, or use of the content herein.


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