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Decorative Lighting Tips

The type of lighting you choose for a room directly affects the atmosphere and the mood. Learn creative ways to light your home and get both flattering and useful results.

Lighting Basics

Attractive, well-lit rooms most often combine four types of lighting:

  • Ambient or general lighting provides a safe and comfortable level of light. Such as wall sconces, flushmounts, pendants and chandeliers.
  • Task lighting supplies the intense directed light needed for detailed work. Such as desk lamps, work lights and under cabinet lighting.
  • Accent lighting spotlights interesting features in your home's décor. Such as track lighting, recessed lighting and wall sconces.
  • Natural lighting includes sunlight, candlelight and firelight. The quality of natural light changes depending on the time of day, weather, season and location of the room:

- A north-facing room receives less direct sunlight than a south-facing room.

- A west-facing room receives strong, warm light in the evening, casting an orange tint.

- An east-facing room receives strong, bright light in the morning, casting a white glow.

If your current lighting scheme employs only ambient lighting, you're missing a tremendous opportunity to add interest and vitality to your décor. Add task and accent lighting to change your ordinary room into one of distinction.

Color Temperature

If your lighting design is complete, but the ambiance is a little off try changing the color temperature of your light bulbs. Look for a warm white color temperature for living rooms and bedrooms, bright white for kitchens and workspaces, and daylight for reading nooks and studies.

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