You probably don’t realize how big an effect lighting has on the interior design of your home. From recessed lighting to accent lighting, you have many options to choose from when giving your home a facelift or just trying something new. Here’s what you need to know about lighting before starting on your home improvement project.
3 Types of Lighting
You’ll find three types of lighting in homes: ambient, task, and accent.
Ambient lighting is the basic type of lighting in a home and provides even, natural light in most rooms. Ambient lighting can be provided by chandeliers, floor lamps, table lamps, wall sconces, typical ceiling lights, and recessed lighting.
Task lighting is common in the kitchen, office space, reading areas, and game rooms. Task lighting can be provided by lamps, pendant lighting, recessed lighting, track lighting, and under-cabinet lighting.
This type of lighting highlights specific spots or objects — like paintings, feature walls, or photos — indoors and outdoors. Accent lighting can be provided by track lighting, outdoor spotlights, landscape lights, adjustable recessed lighting, and wall-mounted picture lighting.
A Few Lighting Options for Residential Use
After you’ve identified the areas in your home that need additional lighting or a change, it’s time to identify the best-suited type of light bulb.
Incandescent light bulbs are most common, fairly inexpensive and provide good color rendering. They have a shorter life span than other types of light bulbs and use more watts to produce light than CFL or halogen lamps. Over 90% of energy produced by incandescent lamps escapes as heat.
Halogen light bulbs have a pretty high operating temperature but are somewhat more efficient than incandescent lamps. These types of light bulbs are typically used in accent, recessed, and floodlighting.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are the most energy-efficient lighting option, last longer, and use fewer watts than halogen and incandescent lamps. CFLs have a low operating temperature and are commonly used in residential lighting fixtures.
Linear Fluorescent Lamps (LFLs) have a low operating temperature and are fairly inexpensive. They are energy efficient and are commonly used in residential basements and garages.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs), according to the U.S. Department of Energy, “use 20-25% of the energy and last 15 to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs they replace. LEDs use 25%–30% of the energy and last 8 to 25 times longer than halogen incandescents.” LEDs are more expensive but some varieties include daylight and motion sensors; they are also very durable and perform well in cold environments. LED lights are commonly used in desk lamps, kitchen under-cabinet lighting, recessed fixtures, and outdoor lighting.
When shopping for light bulbs, we recommend purchasing Energy-Star rated products. You’ll save money in the long run by increasing efficiency and feel good about conserving energy.