I saw the light & the errors of my ways, of setting them up...!
I swear it was the day I turned 40 that my perfect 20 / 20 became an optical illusion of the past, to which there would be an easy fix if only I could grow an extra twenty inches onto my arms. I'm off on a tangent again.
Having some handy-work project or other on the go at all times and becoming farsighted made me realize I need good light and at the right spot. With other words, finding out about all the different types of light was a must.
Surrounding or Ambient Lighting
The definition of surrounding or ambient lighting is obvious. It's the lighting source that produces uniform illumination throughout an area. Most commonly this is the centrally located overhead lighting. Ceiling lights (for short) are the surround light source that resembles the spread of natural lighting.
Tip: It's easy to install a dimmer switch which lets you adjust the lighting need according to time of day or even season and also will conserve energy.
The drawback with surround lighting is that if you work or read with the light source at your back your body can create shadows in front of you.
.....that problem would lead us to
Point source or directional lighting
This doesn't need too much explanation either. Directional lighting emphasizes on a particular object or draws attention to a particular field of view. Some obvious choices of point source lighting would be the ones directed at art work or such, exterior spotlights focusing on the pond or home front entrance etc.
Tip: For a very dramatic dinner-party, set-up just one spot light focused on the floral center piece or even the beautifully roasted turkey.
Task or spot lighting
The name says it all, this type of lighting would be intended to illuminate or light up your immediate work or read area. For instance a desk or table lamp focuses the light into one spot. The general rule of thumb (my Dad used to say) is for an at least 18-20 inch wide beam spread for needlework, reading and writing.
Tip: When you're planning on doing a lot of needlework wear white or light clothes as this will reflect the light back to your work.
Task lighting is also a way to conserve energy by lighting only work areas at any given time.
Note the difference between ambient and ambience. I would include into the Ambience lighting category the flickering and dancing lights from the flames of a fireplace, or candle light, and who could forget a flash from the past, the 70's disco balls etc.
Tip: Every type room can become a cozy retreat when using candle lighting, but remember for obvious safety reasons never ever leave a candlelit room unattended not even for just a minute or two.
Re-evaluate your lighting set-up
If you've ever accidentally bunched a black sox with a navy one or paired brown sox with black pants, gotten headaches from long time reading or needlework, or just plain as day (even with your glasses on) couldn't cheat from the solution pages of the crossword puzzle book, you need to re-evaluate your lighting set-up.
In conclusion the right watt-age of light bulbs in properly placed lamps will not only save energy but also on eyestrain.