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Understanding the best light to put in each room of your home

Good lighting is essential for creating a good home experience. That calls for using the proper light for the proper room. 

A key element in home lighting is providing a variety of lighting types. Three layers of lighting, accent, task and ambient lights, are encouraged by top design professionals. Each type addresses a specific lighting need.

Shedding some light

Task lighting focuses on a specific part of the room. These lights are designed specifically for the task at hand. Kitchen counters may take dedicated lights to shine on food preparation areas. In the living room, task lights may shine on places where people read or watch TV. 

Ambient lighting, also referred to as general lighting, gives the room overall illumination. This allows a person to enter a room, turn on the light switch and shed light over the entire space. This form of lighting can take place with wall scones and floor-lamp torchieres as well as recessed fixture or ceiling-mounted lights. Other variations of ambient lighting includes soft, valance and five lighting. These lights bounce off walls and ceilings. Under-cabinet lights in the kitchen, overhead lights for office desks and table lamps at specific areas all provide examples of task lighting that complement the overall ambient lighting.

Accent lighting puts the lights on a specific object. Also referred to as highlighting, accent lights might be used to highlight a landscaping feature like a tree or water theme. These can be adjustable to focus on features small or large. That makes it easier to move from general lighting overviews to specific areas. However, rooms with specific purposes like offices of play rooms may begin with task and accent lighting.

Understanding lighting needs

Bottom line, it's key to understand the space the lighting is intended for and address the specific situation. That makes it easier to decide on the lighting type and placement. One way to do this is create a lighting planning worksheet. Use a separate form for each room that needs to be illuminated. Consider the absent lighting followed by the different fixtures, lighting needs and layering patterns to be employed.

As with any home improvement project, planning pays big dividends in saving time, money and energy. While lighting represents a small part of home costs, it also is key to appreciating the room. After all, people notice lighting first when they step in a room, so it's a major part of enjoying any room and home.

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