Illumination Techniques

The right light fixture can truly set a room off and give it that “complete” look. The wrong light fixture can seem out of place, awkward, and not provide the lighting needed for the space. So, what factors should a person consider before making a light fixture purchase?

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Before even thinking about a specific light fixture for your home, it is important to first decide what function the fixture will play in your lighting scheme. There are three basic types of lighting to choose from: ambient, task, and accent. The light fixture you choose will depend on what type of lighting you need.

Ambient lighting is basic illumination that brightens up an entire room. A ceiling light fixture is an excellent example of ambient lighting. An ambient light fixture will generally be able to handle light bulbs with higher wattage’s than task or accent fixtures.

Task lighting is the illumination you use to perform tasks—hence the name! A desk lamp is a perfect example of a task light fixture because it is used specifically to perform work. Task lighting tends to be focused on small areas such as end tables or desks but does provide a small amount of ambient lighting.

Accent lighting is just as the name implies—used to provide accent illumination. A light fixture used for accent lighting will not be bright enough to provide sufficient ambient or task lighting. This type of lighting is used to display artwork or set off certain areas of your home.

Ideally, a lighting scheme will include at least one light fixture from each of the three categories. The idea is to balance the light within your home so that there are no dark or bright spots. An example of a balanced lighting scheme might be: a ceiling light fixture for the ambient lighting, table lamps for task lighting so you can read the newspaper or do homework, and an accent light fixture such as a wall sconce or two to set off your fireplace.

So what kind of light fixture do you need? That will depend upon what you intend to use it for—do you need ambient, task, or accent lighting? Once you know the answer to this question, you can then proceed to deciding on specific styles for your light fixture. Remember, a light fixture that coordinates with the room décor makes for a more natural and complete look so be sure to take your time when making a selection.

Of course, one’s budget is always a factor so it is always a good idea to know what you can spend before falling in love with a light fixture you really can’t afford. Plus, don’t forget to take into account energy efficiency when making your selection. While a light fixture might cost more initially, it may save you money in the long run so be sure to take energy efficiency into account before making a decision on a specific light fixture.

As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider when buying a light fixture. Always remember to take into account the function, price, and energy efficiency of any light fixture before making a purchase decision.