The form of lighting you use to illuminate your home will go a long way in defining your overall decor. Light allows you to create an atmosphere that can highlight the furnishings of each space, brighten the color and texture schemes of your walls, and set the mood that best fits each room. Choosing accent lighting to go along with primary lighting choices requires that you consider the bigger picture regarding your style and the ambiance you hope to create. Natural lighting, on the other hand, does more than simply provide a creative way to design the overall look and feel of your décor—it’s also a way that you can conserve energy by utilizing sunlight, not electricity.
Determining which lighting type to use and how these types work independently or together involves understanding the differences among the choices, as well as the factors of your interior design goals.
Primary lighting choices involve the ways in which you light your home for the most basic of circumstances, and are most generally placed in the center of the room. Primary lights are those that can be used during the entire year, whether in daylight or at night. Primary lighting is often a one-size-fits-all solution for lighting your home in that it is intended to provide an optimum source of light throughout the room regardless of the activity.
Though primary lighting is your “garden variety” lighting scheme, there are variations of this choice that allow you to tailor this scheme to best fit your home’s interior design. One way to customize your primary lighting scheme is by choosing the appropriate light bulbs by brightness and hue. Among your choices are bulbs that mimic natural light versus those that are brighter and offer a less natural tone. Energy-efficiency and durability are also considerations that should be observed when choosing your primary lighting source’s bulbs, especially for those fixtures that are placed on the ceiling out of easy reach.
Accent lighting is an invaluable way for you to showcase the features of your home’s decor. Through accent lighting, you can direct attention to certain facets of your interior design, or set a more relaxing atmosphere with a dimmer lighting scheme when primary lights are not in use. Accent lighting offers many of the same choices in light bulbs so that you can choose a tone that works best for your strategy while observing energy costs and durability.
One popular way to effectively use accent lighting is by designing points in your home from which the accent lighting will originate. An example of this creative use of accent lighting is track lighting, which runs along a room’s crown moldings or under cabinetry. When designating areas where accent lighting will be most effective, keep in mind that the direction of the lights will contribute greatly to the resulting effect. Angling lights toward or away from certain features of your home will create different effects that can further add uniqueness to your lighting scheme.
Natural lighting offers a wealth of opportunities to brighten your home and expand the apparent size of your living spaces by inviting in a sense of the outdoors—all while providing you significant savings in energy costs. In some cases, natural lighting is the most effective means for lighting your home as it is more energy efficient and often provides a more natural, soothing glow. Using natural light also enhances your decor, from providing color accuracy and illuminating key furnishings.
To capture natural light, different types of windows can be used to direct it inside your home and reduce your reliance on electricity. One thing to consider when designing a lighting scheme that includes natural lighting is window coverings. Window coverings afford you the ability to focus the natural light in ways that will be most beneficial to your desired aesthetics. For example, when the sun shines directly into your windows for a longer portion of the day during the summer, shades can allow some of the sunlight to enter the room while keeping much of the heat still outside. This strategy allows you to save on the cost of cooling your home while saving you the cost of lighting your living spaces as well.