Lighting Design Tips

You may not realize it, but lighting makes a big difference in your life.  It helps you see better when you’re cooking dinner or helping with homework.  It provides safety around your yard and to a child who’s afraid of the dark.  It helps set the mood for a festive holiday party or an intimate dinner for two.

Light impacts us in other ways as well.  It has been proven to affect our moods, our productivity and concentration, even our sleep cycles!  This is why it’s so important to have the right lighting in your home.  There are three basic types of lighting: ambient, task, and accent.  According to Laurie Gross, president of Gross Electric, “A good lighting plan combines all three types of lighting working together in your home.”

E14_0913 croppedAmbient, or general lighting, is usually provided by a chandelier or ceiling mounted fixture and gives overall illumination to an area.  It allows you to see and walk about safely in a room.

Task lighting helps you perform specific duties, such as cooking, doing homework, applying makeup, or reading.  It should be bright enough to prevent eyestrain without causing glare or shadows.  Task lighting can be provided by many sources, such as recessed or track lighting, pendants, and undercabinet lighting.  Floor and table lamps are also a great source of task lighting.


Accent lighting adds drama to a room by bringing focus to a painting, sculpture, or architectural feature of your home.  It is usually provided by track, recessed, or picture lights.  Accent lighting can also be used outdoors to highlight a brick or stone wall or landscaping.

Lighting is also an important factor in the energy consumption of your home.  LED bulbs are beginning to replace incandescent bulbs — providing the same levels of light, but using less energy and having a much longer lifespan.  LED lighting can be used in areas that weren’t possible a decade ago, such as inside water fountains, under cabinets and bookshelves, and behind glass shelving.

Along with LEDs, lighting controls are rapidly developing technologies.  F15_9442_smWhile you may have had a dimmer switch in the dining room of your childhood home, today’s lighting controls are much more sophisticated and offer more versatility with your lighting.  Remote controls, tablets and other electronic devices are being used to adjust light levels in rooms and throughout entire homes.  With the touch of a button, you can alter the mood of a room by activating a pre-set lighting scheme.

Today’s lighting isn’t just functional, however.  Gross says, “Lighting fixtures themselves have become important design elements in the home.”  With an ever-expanding range of styles, shapes, colors, and sizes, lighting fixtures provide the finishing touch to your decor.

Yes, lighting affects your life in many ways.  The good news is that you’re in complete control!