4 Simple Ways to Enhance a Room with Lighting

“Without light there is nothing”

This is one of the best bits of advice I remember from my professor while studying interior design. You can spend forever selecting fabrics, furnishings, and paint colors, but none of this matters without spending a little time on showcasing the space with excellent lighting. Lighting is actually a complex subject, but rather than spending time worrying about lumens, candlepower, and veiling reflections let’s focus on the basics to keep things simple.

There are three types of lighting: Ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. By layering these three you are able to bring your room from blah to beautiful!

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Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting, also referred to as general lighting, is the type we are most familiar with. This type of lighting acts as the general illumination. The easiest way to use this is through the basic overhead lighting. Maybe it is just the way I was raised, but I have never been a fan of the boring solitaire “big ugly light”, as we used to call it, overhead. A great way to get lots of general lighting is through fun table lamps throughout the space or a stellar chandelier in the master bedroom. Simple recessed lighting throughout can help to add necessary light to a room as well. During the day it’s a great idea to utilize daylighting, which is using the natural light of the sun, through windows and skylights.

Ava's room


Task Lighting

Task lighting is light that is used for a specific purpose, like reading a book or cooking. Have you ever been trying to whip up a great meal from your family, only to realize your kitchen is full of dark corners? This is a great place to add some task lighting. Under cabinet lighting (which can pull double duty as accent lighting….bonus!) or a pendant light over the sink can be super helpful. Just because this type of lighting is utilitarian does not mean that it cannot also be gorgeous! A desk lamp can not only be perfectly useful, but it can also bring in the style of a room or add some much needed color.

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Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is where we are able to keep things exciting and add lots of depth to a space! This type of lighting is mainly decorative and used to showcase different design elements. Kick up your bookshelves a notch by adding some downlights to highlight your fabulous book collection and knick knacks. Point a spotlight towards your favorite painting to create a high impact focal point that will really glam up the room. Even adding a dimmer switch to some of your other light sources (under cabinet lights for example) can allow one light source to pull double duty.

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