When choosing lighting for your home, it’s important to consider three essential elements — purpose, health and sustainability, and design.
1. Purpose. “How will you use your fixture — task lighting, ambient lighting or accent lighting? Ambient lighting - the kind that turns on with the flip of a wall switch - provides overall illumination for a room. It can include ceiling-mounted or recessed fixtures that direct light downwards; wall sconces or floor-lamp torchieres that wash the walls with light; or cove, soffit and valance lighting, says HGTV.
Targeting a particular area of a room, task lighting illuminates a specific function like kitchen counters, living room seating for reading and home office desk surfaces.
Accent lighting, or highlighting, draws attention to a particular object, such as artwork, sculpture, plants or bookcases, adds HGTV. Often used outdoors, it can highlight a tree, plant or water feature, or other area. Adjustable recessed or track lighting is often used for accent lighting.
2. Health and sustainability. Lighting affects our circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle), says Radka Sumberova, design team member at Suran Built, in Crystal Lake. “If you are considering LED’s for your home to save on energy look for bulbs that have color temperature 2500-3000 kelvin. Consider the outdoors as well - animals (birds, insects, turtles and others) are affected as much as you. Look for fixtures and bulbs that allow dimming so you can be in control of the intensity of light you are putting out.”
3. Design. Do you want your fixture to be the focal point of your room or to disappear? Visit your local lighting store and check out styles, finishes and sizes. Think outside the box. For pendant lighting, instead of small fixtures, use fewer larger ones, and always consider the size of your room, adds Sumberova.