Lighting illuminates our lives as well as adds a decorative touch. Various types of indoor and outdoor lighting exist and each has its own practical and decorative functions.
- Ambient. Also known as general lighting, ambient lighting is responsible for the brightness or dimness of a room. Such lighting generally comes from a ceiling or wall-mounted fixture. Examples are chandeliers, ceiling fan lights and track and recessed lighting.
- Task. Task lighting augments ambient lighting, pinpointing light in a specific area. Such lighting allows us to focus on particular tasks such as applying makeup, cooking, reading, writing, and arts and crafts. Fixtures that create task lighting include under-cabinet lights, which are common in kitchens, mirror-mounted makeup lights in the bathroom, pendant lights and desk and floor lamps.
- Accent. Accent lighting is mostly for aesthetic purposes. It is used to set a mood and often draws attention to certain items in the home, such as artwork. Examples of accent lighting include spotlights, decorative light fixtures and wall sconces.
- Mood lighting. Mood lighting fixtures, such as torches, lanterns and string lights, create ambiance in the yard or on the patio and serve a functional purpose by casting light into the dark outdoors.
- Spotlighting. Often powered by a motion sensor, spotlights light up certain areas of the yard, such as patios and decks, making enjoyment of the nighttime outdoors possible.
- Pathway. Strategically placed throughout the landscape, pathway lights enable easy nighttime navigation of the landscape and ensure safety. Areas where pathway lights are generally placed include along driveways, pathways and surrounding elevated locations, such as decking.
- Uplighting. As its name suggests, uplighting lights up outdoor elements such as trees and buildings, which illuminates the canopy of the tree or structure, creating a dramatic effect. This method can be used to create an impressive front-of-the-home display.
- Moonlighting. Also known as downlighting, moonlighting shines light down through the leaves of tall trees toward the ground, creating a mystical effect. This method is especially effective in often-used areas where you want to create ambience, such as outdoor dining and entertaining areas.
- Silhouetting. This outdoor lighting method allows you to silhouette garden focal points that you want to illuminate at night, such as statuary. Silhouetted items appear to glow in the night garden.
- Backlighting. Used to enhance garden elements, such as specimen plants, backlights are positioned so that they cause a shadow to be cast on a wall or other flat surface like a fence. This is an especially effective way to show off structurally eye-catching plants at night.
Incorporating various types of indoor and outdoor lighting ensures that you have a home that is eye-catching in many ways.