Tips for Good Interior Lighting

Decorating, Home, Home & Family, Living Green
on April 20, 2003

Light fixtures neednt be boring. They can add ambiance, as well as light, to a room and offer a variety of decorating options and price ranges.

Houses need a combination of general, task, and accent lighting which allows people to perform daily tasks easily while making them feel comfortable and safe.

General overall lighting creates a low level of light throughout a room and provides diffused background illumination for moving around. Task or local lighting is needed wherever theres activity, such as preparing food, personal grooming, paying bills, or studying. Accent lighting calls attention to an area, creates a mood, and works with general and task lighting to make a comfortable and appealing atmosphere.

General lighting is provided by built-in ceiling and wall fixtures controlled by wall switches. In bedrooms and hallways, the fixtures are close to the ceiling, while in a dining room its often a chandelier that hangs in the center from a cord or chain.

Wall sconces, also called wall lights, often are found in halls and stairways. A built-in recessed fixture over a kitchen sink provides task lighting for food preparation. A fixture over the bathroom tub assures safe light when bathing and showering. Over a bed, it provides light for reading.

Cost and function

A plain ceiling fixture for the bedroom can cost as little as $10, but a better quality one costs upwards of $40. A stylish chandelier sells for $100 or more. To have one installed you can hire an electrician, do it yourself, or choose the installation service offered by the retailer where the fixture was purchased. Youll see two tagsa price tag and one that includes the labor for installation.

A table lamp or floor light combines function with fashion and provides task and accent lighting. Both provide illumination for any work requiring good light.

Accent lighting includes spotlights mounted on walls or in the ceiling and is used to showcase art. Miniature track lights concealed inside a cabinet can highlight its contents.

A combination of fixtures that are built into the walls and ceilings and stand-alone lamps and floor lights offer the best lighting. And remember, you can add dimmer switches to control light levels.