Designing with Light
By Natalie Fuglestveit
Lighting and reflection is a very important aspect in interior design. Shine, sparkle, and brightness are important elements to consider and can help you set the tone of a space. There is so much you can do to enhance an interior if you consider layering your lighting properly. Lighting can create dramatic, happy, soothing, fast, and peaceful environments. There are four important types of interior lighting to consider; ambient lighting, task lighting, accent lighting, and decorative lighting.
Ambient lighting is lighting that will provide overall illumination to a interior space. This could include potlights, ceiling fixtures, and/or natural lighting coming in from windows or skylights. Bright ambient lighting is important and a necessity to have in each room within your home. When planning your ambient lighting consider your needs in both the day and the night. Often windows and natural light are adequate in the day if applicable, however these need to be layered with artificial lighting for the evenings. Ambient lighting helps you while preforming tasks such as cleaning and moving throughout a space. When looking at a room in your home, make sure you have proper bright ambient lighting first and foremost!
Task lighting includes table lamps, desk lamps, floor lamps, under cabinet lighting, etc. Task lighting is a more concentrated area of light that illuminates a surface when you are preforming tasks such as reading, prepping food, putting on make up, etc. Task lighting is important in a room that already has ambient lighting within it and locations and needs will vary on where your tasks will occur.
Accent lighting has a purpose to illuminate points of interest or focus in a room. This includes art lighting, Christmas tree lighting, upward recessed ceiling lighting, or potlights in niches. Accent lighting not only emphasizes what is unique in the space, it helps draw your eye around a room. Accent lighting is similar to task lighting in the sense that it is important that you have good ambient lighting in your space first.
Decorative lighting is usually unique light fixtures that can stand alone as points of interest in a room. Decorative lighting could include chandeliers, pendants, and or unique lamps and come in various shapes, finishes, colors, and sizes. They can preform both ambient or task light functions, however can stand alone as a fixture in a space. In designing interiors make sure you consider what lighting in your home will be decorative and how that will compliment the interior space.
Not every room in your home will require all 4 types of lighting, but when layered and designed properly, lighting can create visual balance, excitement, and add sparkle and brilliance to your home. Here are some photos that show the 4 different types of lighting describes above.
Natalie Fuglestveit, c.i.d.,b.a.i.d,
Owner & Principal Interior Designer, Natalie Fuglestveit Interior Design