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How to Choose the Right Lighting for Any Space

Indoor Lighting

Choosing lighting for your space can be a daunting task. There is such a large selection of lighting types and varieties that it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Don't fear! Robert the Electrician from Wired For Success is here to make choosing your next light simple!

No matter the size of a space, how you light it can make all the difference A well-placed ceiling light fixture or lamp can provide pleasant and functional ambient light. Let me explain the different types of lighting and where they’d work best in your home, while providing a step by step to choosing lighting ideal for your project.

Step 1. Choose the Correct Fixture for Your Needs.

lighting fixture and type chart for interior lighting
The 3 Types of Lighting for Indoor & Outdoor Spaces

There are 3 basic types of lighting to choose from when picking out a new fixture for your space, ambient, task and accent. The size of your room and room type will determine which types you need. In general, you want at least two layers to properly light a room. Sometimes simply adding a layer of light can dramatically increase your home’s quality of light. The chart on the right outlines the layers of light and where they should be used.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient, or general lighting, is needed in every room. It provides a comfortable overall level of light. Ambient light sources are typically overhead lighting, such as ceiling light fixtures, and as a general rule it’s the best place to start when lighting a room. Ambient light sources to consider for your lighting plan: ceiling fans, chandeliers, flush mount or semi-flush mount ceiling fixtures, pendants, recessed lighting, torchiere lamps, track lighting, vanity lighting and wall sconces.

Task Lighting

Task lighting allows you to see while you’re performing a task. It supplies the intense, direct light needed for detailed work — reading, cooking, prep, applying makeup — in places like the kitchen, office and bath. Task light sources to consider for your lighting plan: desk lamps, island or mini pendants, track lighting, under cabinet lighting, vanity lighting, and work lamps.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting allows you to spotlight interesting features in your home décor, such as a painting or a mantel. It also serves as a secondary light source to augment ambient lighting in a room. Ambient lighting mainly provides overhead lighting, and accent lighting helps illuminate parts of the room where ambient light can’t reach. Accent lighting sources to consider for your lighting plan: recessed lighting, track lighting and wall sconces.

Ok, So you have chosen what type of fixtures you need. What's Next?

Step 2 Choosing the Correct Color Temperature for Your Lighting

color temperature chart for lighting

Color temperature is a relatively new consideration in household lighting. Forty years ago, a bulb was just a bulb. The amount of watts was the only real decision to be made when replacing bulbs.

Modern lighting, however, has brought more choice with it. The color temperature scale is a way of measuring all types of lighting technology, both old and new.

Color Temperature Theory

lightbulb color temperature comparison

During the 19th Century, British physician William Thompson (Lord Kelvin) devised the Kelvin temperature scale. During his research he heated a block of carbon, which began to glow red, then yellow, and finally produced a bright blue-white light.

The path of these changing colors is the essence of the Kelvin scale because each color occurs at a specific temperature. For example, the filament of an incandescent or halogen bulb produces a yellow light at a temperature of 2700 kelvin (2700 K). The one thing to remember is that a higher kelvin color temperature equals to a cooler bluer looking light. Lower color temperatures mean a warmer light.

Are some types of light bad for my eyes?

An important thing to consider when choosing light temperature is how blue light from certain types of lights can negatively impact your eyesight. Exposure to bright, cool, fluorescent lights can cause a 12% increase in eye diseases, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public health in 2011. Solar retinopathy, lasers, and very bright industrial lights can also damage the retina. LED lights emit blue light that can damage the eye's retina and disturb natural sleep rhythms, according to France's government-run health watchdog. Overexposure to "cool" or "bright white" fluorescent bulbs for over 45 hours a week puts your eyes at risk for many health issues, such as cataracts and pterygia, according to the Australian National University.

Outdoor Lighting Ideal Color Temperature

In an incandescent or halogen light bulb, kelvin temperature describes both the color of the light and the actual temperature of the filament. Because LED’s and fluorescents do not use heat to create light, their color temperature is estimated in relation to the color of the light. Many people choose a welcoming warm white light for their home exterior. A 3000K light and looks fantastic by the front door.

For home protection, a 5000K cool white floodlight delivers a crisp, bright light, giving it extra impact as a security light.

Interior Lighting Ideal Color Temperature

A warm and welcoming light is ideal for the hallway. This is also a common place to find pictures and paintings. A warm-light fitting such as a 3000K Battery Operated LED Picture Light will emphasize the reds in a picture. However, a cooler 4000K LED Picture Light will complement bluer tones.

color temperature kitchen lighting chart

Cooler lights are a good choice for the Kitchen as they promote alertness.

Under-cabinet lights such cool white strip lights are a fine choice for the work surfaces. This fitting is a connectable strip light and can be extended with multiple fittings, making it ideal for long worktops.

Bathroom lights are more commonly cool white to increase alertness and give your room a cleaner feel, however some people still prefer warm lights as they are more suited to bathroom relaxation.

In the bedroom, a cosy warm white light is usually desirable. Reading lights are popular bedroom fittings, usually with a warm white bulb.

In a living room or dining room you’ll usually want a warm, relaxing quality of light – and often dimmable is a must for some.

Step 3. Hire an Expert Electrician to Make Sure Your Lighting Project is Wired For Success! Click here to schedule an estimate today!


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