Lighting 101: The Three Types of Lighting

Electric lighting is unquestionably one of the inventions that revolutionized the world. Today, electric lamps provide us with safe and consistent light without relying on an open flame created by burning fuel. Advancements in lighting technology have enabled us to create even more beautiful spaces by utilizing light in ways that are pleasing to the eye and highlight the areas we want to focus on while drawing attention away from others. And they do all of this by using a simple principle that details three different types of lighting.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is the most common type of light you’ll find in any room. Ambient lights are tasked with the job of providing the majority of the light you see in any particular space, meaning the light needs to be broad, full, and far-reaching. However, because this type of light often reaches to the furthest corners of a room, it also needs to be properly tuned. A light that is too bright can make an entire room feel harsh and can be painful on the eyes. A room that is too dim can feel unwelcoming and uncomfortable. Odds are, if the lighting in a particular room isn’t good, ambient lighting is the reason why.

Ambient lighting is typically the most predominant fixture or set of fixtures in a space. This might be something as simple as a single lamp located in the corner of a room to a few recessed lighting fixtures installed in the ceiling. Even a magnificent and grandiose chandelier in the center of a room provides ambient lighting, as it illuminates just about everything else in the room. All of this makes ambient light the foundation on which you should build your light design, and that means poor ambient light will make all other lighting in a space look poor as well.

Task Lighting

Task lighting is generally smaller and more focused than ambient lighting. While ambient lighting is not directed at one particular thing, task lighting is generally used to provide a lot of extra light to a small space, thus providing you with extra illumination to see what you are doing. In a practical sense, this might mean additional lamps installed over a garage workbench or under-cabinet lights that shine brightly on the kitchen counter below. These lights allow you to better see something you are working on, and this can help you avoid making a mistake.

Task lighting is generally considerably smaller, and in many cases is as bright as possible. While there is such a thing as too bright when it comes to task lighting, it isn’t at all unusual for task lights to carry a much higher wattage rating than ambient light fixtures in the same room. However, sometimes you don’t actually need all that strong of a lamp for effective task lighting, either. By directing and reflecting more of the light onto the surface or area of the room you are working in, you can still see clearly and gain more benefit from that light without actually increasing the amount of light in the space. If your task lighting seems just a little too bright, try using a slightly dimmer bulb—you might find that you can still see great without the strain on your eyes.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is designed to provide accentuating illumination to a particular feature of a space that you want to draw attention to. This can be something like a fine piece of art, a display on your wall, an entrance or exit of a space, or even a piece of furniture in the middle of the room. These types of light are not like ambient lighting in that they are not depended on to provide even and dispersed light to the entirety of a space, but they aren’t quite as focused and specific as task lighting would be either. They sort of sit somewhere in between.

One example of accent lighting would be decorative up-lighting installed in your garden outdoors. This type of lighting does not provide ambient illumination to the entire outdoor space, nor does it provide light that is really all that functional for the space it is in either. However, by directing light in a particular way, these lights provide an added accent of beauty that highlights everything from the architecture of your home to the trees or plants that might populate your garden.

Tired of bad lighting making your home feel dreary or dull? Call Lightning Bug Electric at (404) 471-3847 today to get help with installing new light fixtures that dramatically improve your lighting!