Friday, October 31, 2008

The Wonders of Lighting

Lighting plays a vital role in interior spaces. It can make a room gloomy, vibrant, depressing, energizing, boring, or exciting. A poorly lit room that is well designed with materials and furnishings is a waste of your money, you are not showcasing what you have spent your time on. The key to great lighting design is layering. I think most of you know a space that is lit by just one type of lighting, like the average office. We all know how 'inviting' that can be. The average hospital room is also a great example of poor lighting design.

Layering refers to using a combination of general or ambient lighting, task lighting, accent lighting, and decorative lighting. Ambient lighting generally lights the entire space with a light wash and eliminates too much contrast between spaces that are lit and those that are not. Task lighting is of course specific to an area where a task is performed and is a higher light level. Accent lighting highlights specific architectural or artistic features (a painting for example) and is about 3 times brighter than ambient lighting. Decorative lighting is when the fixture itself becomes a prominent element in the space.

You also want to use day lighting to your advantage and for great cost savings before the sun goes down. For further savings, only use efficient lighting fixtures with long-life lamps.

The photo is an example of using layers to create a positive lighting mood.
photo: SoBe design group

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