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Adding Lighting when Sunlight is Not Enough

by Jessica Ackerman on Mar 26, 2010

A sunlit room is perfect for creating a bright and open ambiance, but it is often the case that some rooms in your home do not get enough sunlight. They may be facing north, located in the basement, or the windows may be blocked from the outside.

A room like a study or a kitchen, where detailed tasks are performed, will usually need more light than a sunlit space can offer. The following are basic types of lighting that you may add to brighten your home. Combining the three types in a purposeful and well-thought-out manner will create a space that is bright and inviting  

Adding ambient lighting

Ambient lighting provides general, evenly distributed illumination for space. In contemporary homes, recessed ceiling lights and track lighting are common sources of ambient lighting. Recessed lights are canister lights that are placed into holes cut into the ceiling, making them inconspicuous. Track lighting is made up of individual lights mounted onto a ceiling track that can be swiveled or manipulated to face a certain direction. Track lighting is versatile and can be used as a task or accent lighting when directed accordingly

Other ceiling-mounted light fixtures, including the flush mount and semi-flush mount fixtures, pendant lights, and chandeliers do a good job of providing general lighting as well. They may be added to the center of the ceiling in a room, or along hallways. In addition to their functional use, the different forms and styles of these ceiling-mounted lights can create very different decorative effects  

Adding accent lighting

Accent lighting adds a layer of interest and personality to the space. Wall sconces, table lamps, floor lamps, and display lighting are some examples. These lights should be strategically placed to call attention to decorative accents in a room. For example, wall sconces placed on either side of a painting can bring out its colors and texture, enhancing its beauty. Spotlights can be used to highlight a valuable collection of personal items displayed in a glass cabinet or on a wall shelf

Candles and lights on dimmer switches are especially useful for creating an intimate, restful ambiance. Table lamps can make a bold statement with their unique form and style, which can range anywhere from a globe-shaped rice paper lantern to a tasseled silk lampshade with a porcelain base  

Adding task lighting

Task lighting provides focused light in a specific area where a task is performed. Whether a space needs task lighting will depend on the function of the room. A study or home office requires task lighting for working on the computer, doing paperwork, reading, and so on. For these purposes, a desk lamp would be most suitable. In the kitchen, task lighting in the form of pendant lights and under the cabinet lighting can illuminate countertops where food is being prepared. In a family room or living room, a floor lamp with an adjustable arm is useful when carrying out activities like reading or sewing

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