How to Think Like an Interior Designer Part 10: Light

Proper use of light is essential to accentuating all the other aspects of interior design.  It influences how colors are seen, sets the mood in a room and brings attention to a focal point.  Natural and artificial light both have their parts to play in making a space look its best.  Making sure that natural light can come through while assuring that artificial sources can make up for any gaps in coverage is important when it comes to making a home as inviting as possible. 


While natural light obviously comes from the sun, there are three types of artificial light that can assist with enhancing any room: ambient, task and accent.  Ambient light is considered your general lighting.  These are the main light sources you use when you enter a room and need basic overall coverage to see.  Examples of ambient lighting are chandeliers, recessed can lights and wall-mount fixtures.  They are usually the first types of light you think of when furnishing your home.  Task lighting is next.  This lighting is used to assist you in performing daily functions in your home.  Good examples of task lighting are desk lamps for getting paperwork done, track lights for under the kitchen cabinet to illuminate your meal prepping and vanity lighting for the bathroom mirror to perform your morning and evening cleansing routine.  Finally, there is accent lighting.  This type of lighting is used to bring attention to the focal point in a room.  The bulbs used tend to be brighter to accomplish this goal.  Accent lighting can be used to showcase a large painting over the fireplace, bring focus to items displayed on open shelving and even bring light to shadowy recessed sections of a wall.  


One of the best things you can do for your living space is invest in dimmer lights.  Having control over how light or dark a room is coming in handy when you are having a dinner party and want to create a more relaxed mood.  It’s also perfect for bedrooms, since bright lights aren’t conducive to good sleep.  Even the bathroom can benefit from a dimmer as well.  You don’t want to be greeted each morning with an overwhelmingly bright light when you’ve just woken up. 


Now that you know the functions of each type of lighting, you are ready to choose the right combinations for your home.  Remember that while you may have enough natural light in some rooms during the day, you will still need to have enough artificial light sources for the evenings.