Layering Light: Finding the right balance

Posted by Jorgelina Lopez on

When planning your interior lighting, the key is to understand the main lighting categories and to know how to layer these light sources to get a perfect interior balance. Layering light it’s about combining them to create a particular mood or feel but also bringing versatility, functionality, and flexibility to the space.

Ambient Lighting for interior decoration

THE THREE MAIN CATEGORIES OF LIGHTING
 
- Ambient or general lighting provides overall lighting which radiates a comfortable level of brightness to make an interior space visible. With this type of lighting, warmer lights are recommended to create a tranquil atmosphere.
 
- Task or functional lighting illuminates an area where you perform a task like reading, sewing, cooking, or homework, where you need a clear and downward direct light such as a desk lamp or under the cabinet lighting in a kitchen.
 
- Accent lighting adds drama to a room by creating visual interest. As part of a decorating scheme, it is used to illuminate or “accentuate” architectural features in a space or a piece of wall art.

the three categories of lighting, ambient, task and accent lighting

When you start thinking in terms of these three kinds of lighting – ambient, accent, and task – and how they complement, you can start planning how to balance your layers of light for an overall look and feel.

Things to consider when planning your lighting interiors:

FUNCTIONALITY
Think of the activities that occur in each room and what kind of atmosphere you would prefer to create (relaxed vs work). Light can be functional, practical, or decorative. Layering allows you to emphasize different aspects for different purposes. Also, take into consideration those areas that serve more than a single purpose and those that will require more than one type of lighting. Mixing and matching multiple light sources can transform the room, bringing versatility and flexibility to the space.
 
DIFFERENT SOURCES OF LIGHTING
Think of the different sources of light and how they relate to the three categories. Once you establish where the activities are located in the room, place task lighting accordingly and add warm lighting for ambiance.

main lighting categories for interior decoration

Ambient lighting is one of the most important elements in achieving the perfect balance of interior lighting. It set the tone for the space and will have a big impact on the way we feel. Pendant lamps and ceiling fixtures may not offer enough ambient light and should be supplemented with other sources like wall lamps or sconces, floor lamps, and table lamps that can provide more localized ambient light to certain areas.
 
Placing your lighting at different heights and using more lamps in the same room, can create an interesting play between light and shadows transforming the room into a more pleasant atmosphere. Furthermore, don't forget about accent light. Enhance artwork or other objects in your home with spotlights.
 
Keep in mind that one source of lighting can be also used for all three kinds of light providing even greater flexibility in your lighting design. For example, floor lamps or wall lamps can provide ambient light, task lighting for reading, or accent light if positioned under a particular architectural feature
 
MOOD SETTING
The color of light has a noticeable impact on our feelings and productivity levels. Appropriate lighting temperatures will influence our mood and well-being.
Warm and diffuse light sources create a warm, cozy, and relaxing feeling, great for overall ambient lighting, while cold and directional light is good for work-related contexts and promotes concentration which works better for both spot and task lighting. Although, it is best not to vary the light temperature too much in the same room, as it will create too much contrast.
It also is vital to have a way to control the brightness of the light. Dimmers on overhead lights are helpful for this, as well as multiple light sources that can be turned on and off as needed.
 
When planning the atmosphere you want to create keep in consideration that the colors and materials of the floor, walls, and ceiling will influence the lighting as well. The combination of the type of lighting with the color and materials of the space can transform the room. For example, uplights along the wall in a room with white walls and ceiling will make the space appear to be higher creating a more spacious place. Darker color tones walls and light sources with a warmer light will create a more intimate and cozy feeling.
 
NATURAL LIGHT
And last but not less, light sources don’t have to be electrical. Natural light is an important source of interior as well as exterior light. Don’t forget to take into account the natural light (sunlight & moonlight) when designing your lighting to create a functional space that makes strategic and stylish use of natural and artificial lighting.
Consider the direction that your room is located in, this will have an impact on how natural light will enter your space. Analyze and observe how the natural light in your home alters throughout the day. There may be corners of your home that need additional lighting during the day and artificial lighting will add brightness to those spaces.
On that note, natural light should be utilized as much as possible if the space allows. Try always to maximize natural light sources since they can be positively impactful on an individual’s mood and energy.
We hope this simple guide will help you to understand how we can incorporate lighting design into our everyday life to create more comfortable, relaxed, and efficient spaces. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to send us a message. We will be happy to help!

Lighting Guide

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