A Look at Task Lighting, Background Lighting and Ambient Lighting

There's more to lighting than merely illuminating a room. Lighting should serve a specific purpose - perhaps to add to ambience to a room, or just add some background level light, or a task-orientated light - perhaps a spotlight on a desk for reading. This article looks at these three reasons to add lighting to a room.

Task Lighting
Task lighting is arguably the most straight-forward. You set up your lighting based in a specific task - for example, reading from a desk, watching television, or working with a laptop. This type of lighting is practical, and should be setup so that the task that's being lit can be carried out optimally. It doesn't mean aesthetic considerations shouldn't be made (it's not an "either or" situation here between aesthetics and practicalities) - but the top priority is to light the task at hand in the best way possible.

Background Lighting
Background lighting is the type of lighting you're probably most familiar with - this light fills the entire room, and is typically fulfilled by a ceiling light. It's important to get the right intensity/wattage of bulb for this type of lighting. If a room is too bright or too dim, it can cause headaches / tiredness. Even better, get a dimmer switch so you can control the brightness to your exact liking.

Ambient Lighting
This is by far the most creative aspect to lighting a room. Here the goal is to achieve a mood, not necessarily fulfil a practical need for light. Ambient lighting demands creativity - try different coloured lights, different intensities, different directions of light with carefully placed lamps. This kind of lighting can really transform a room, turning it from something utilitarian and "cold" to a much warmer and colourful place. Moreover, you can create a different mood for each room - one perhaps for relaxation, or one for inspiration. By creating a mood to alter your own mood, we're moving into the realms of feng shui - the art of harmonizing the mood of the surroundings with the mood of the inhabitants (and vice versa).

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