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A Short Guide to Perfect Home Lighting

Spokane Home Builders, Building Custom Homes in WA, ID, Coeur d'Alene

A Short Guide to Perfect Home Lighting

Lighting is so important that you can actually hire a lighting expert to review your building plans and offer feedback on how to best utilize lighting, both natural and artificial.

Lighting that nails it transforms a modest house into an elegant home, a bland structure into a welcoming showcase, and a dim and gloomy shack into a magical luminous castle.

A lighting professional will review each room of your house for these three elements:

  • Ambient lighting
  • Task lighting
  • Accent lighting

Each plays a specific role. Together, they bring a cohesive feel and inviting warmth to your house. And the main rooms of your house need all three to really pack a punch.

Ambient Lightingbuilding your home with inviting lighting

Ambient lighting is the main illumination in a room. Ambient lighting is typically soft, though bright, meaning it doesn’t have a glare while still radiating enough brightness that you can easily move throughout the space.

In terms of function, ambient lighting is the most crucial of the three types. On its own, however, it often lacks luster and pizazz.

Ambient lighting can also be referred to as general lighting. It’s often the first kind of lighting people notice and the first one that is missed if not present.

For interior spaces, it can be in the form of chandeliers, can/recessed lights, fans, wall mounts, and track lights. They are often in the center of the space, or along its perimeter. On the exterior of a building, it can be in the form of porch lights, sconces, and floodlights.

Task Lighting 

Task lighting helps you, well, perform tasks. A piano light, for instance, is a type of task lighting since it brightens the notes on the sheet of music and illuminates the keys.

Consider the types of tasks you perform in your house, and then evaluate if you need additional task lighting. Some common tasks include cooking, reading, getting yourself ready, playing games, working on a craft, watching television (if you are the kind of person who doesn’t like the TV being the main source of light), and even walking through the house at night without waking everyone else. Each of these tasks can benefit from task lighting, which limits its influence to the area, or task, that needs illuminating.

And yes, task lighting can (and should) be sexy.

Common examples of task lighting include lamps, track lighting, recessed lighting (yes, we also listed that under Ambient lighting…depends on how it is used), pendant lights, and under-cabinet lighting. Avoid glares and shadows.

Accent Lighting 

This one is my favorite in terms of sexy. Accent lighting can elevate a room big time. A good accent light highlights something in your house – an architectural feature, a vibrant work of art, or an attractive piece of furniture. Museums are examples of structures addicted to accent lighting, and for good reason.

Some experts recommend, as a general rule, to use at least three times as much light on the focal point as the general lighting surrounding it.

A Sad Lighting Tale

We fell in love with a log cabin. It was sturdy and boasted solid logs. It was nestled against a mountainside, it came with 11 acres of delicious seclusion, and it had a creek running through it. We bought the house and lived there for several years.

It wasn’t until after we bought the house that we realized the lighting sucked.

Big time. even cabins can be built with the permapanel system

In fact, the poor lightning became one of the aspects we disliked most about the otherwise great place.

There were so many shadows and dark spaces throughout the home. Nothing was featured. Nothing was highlighted for tasks.

We bought several lamps, which helped, but since the walls were solid logs, installing new wiring and new lighting was not an option we could consider for this home. It lacked luster and it lacked function – things that could have been resolved during construction and not after.

Some Other Tips 

Here are some additional considerations when planning the lighting in your house.

Don’t forget about planning the exterior as well. Strong exterior lighting improves the curb appeal dramatically. And yes, a good exterior lighting design encapsulates the three types of lighting listed above – ambient, task, and accent.

Large windows in almost every room are very popular again. The spike in popularity is in part because windows are much more energy efficient and also because people love their views. WindowsAdd to your home's natural beauty with north facing windows provide a significant amount of natural lighting throughout a house, which can lower energy uses dramatically.

North-facing windows offer the most “stable” light in that there aren’t as big of fluctuations in intensity throughout the day, thus art studios prefer such a setup.

Consider south-facing windows for colder climates since the sun can heat up spaces quickly. Thermal drapes are a must, however, to block out the cold of night as well as the heat during the summer day.

When it comes to artificial lighting, something often overlooked is how difficult changing light bulbs can be in a fixture located high up on the entryway. Either use a fixture that hangs closer to the floor and/or buy super long lasting bulbs to limit the amount of aerial gymnastics required for you to change them out.

Pick fixtures that compliment other features of your house, such as knobs and other hardware. Keeping the same style of fixtures throughout your house will give your home a cohesive design touch.

There is a lot you can do on your own. Some additional consideration, though outside of the scope of this article, is the amount of illumination, the correct colors of light to use (yellows versus blues, for instance), and how many lights for each space.

About Benson Bondstone Benson Bondstone Logo

Benson Bondstone was created because the way we build needs to change. Needless disasters happen every year simply because, as a society, we’ve continued to use outdated methods. There is a better way–and it’s even affordable. Feel free to swing over to our home page for more information, or, you can come over to our Coeur d’Alene Home Builders Google+ page.



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