Stop making these lighting mistakes
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The Right Light1 of 9
By Amy Ahlberg
Just the Basics2 of 9
"Most rooms require three basic types of lighting: ambient, task, and accent," says Swanson. Ambient light is the overall light in the room; task lighting is focused lighting that helps you perform particular duties such as cooking, reading or applying makeup; and accent lighting lets you highlight certain features in a space, such as prized possessions or artwork.
Make an Entrance3 of 9
"Hanging chandeliers in an entryway or foyer makes a great first impression," says Swanson. "But if your space is smaller with low ceilings, flush-mount or semi-flush-mount lighting fixtures with a bit of reflective crystal are great options," says Swanson.
Mix It Up4 of 9
Living rooms require a mix of light sources. "Floor or table lamps provide illumination for reading or watching television," says Swanson. Most people stop there, leaving the room unevenly lit; accent lighting corrects that, with the bonus of adding visual interest. Install sconces higher up on walls to draw your eye to items at various heights around the room to accent items like potted trees, paintings or interesting architectural details, says Swanson.
Kitchen Helper5 of 9
Task lighting is crucial in a kitchen, says Swanson. "Consider installing recessed lighting in the ceiling, which allows you to illuminate specific areas without taking up space. Similarly, under-cabinet lighting provides the same benefit while illuminating any backsplash design details," she says.
Up to the Task6 of 9
Offices are all about multitasking, so the lighting needs to be versatile. Says Swanson: "When looking for a task lamp for your desk, look for a model with an adjustable lamp head that rotates and tilts, allowing you to eliminate glare from your computer screen while still illuminating written material on your work surface."
On Further Reflection7 of 9
People are paying more attention to good bathroom lighting than ever before, says Swanson. For smaller bath mirrors, she recommends placing wall sconce lights on each side of the mirror; this will illuminate your reflection evenly—a must for applying makeup.
Rest Easy8 of 9
Good bedside lighting is important for reading, but think beyond traditional nightstand table lamps. "Swing-arm lamps and even pendant lighting that hangs above bedside tables are growing in popularity," says Swanson. "They provide great ambient and task lighting while freeing up surface space on bedside tables." Adding a little drama to the bedroom never hurts either—hang a chandelier above the bed or, for a more subtle effect, swag one above a dresser.
More Than Moonlight9 of 9
Outdoor wall sconces provide great ambient light, while also brightening a front entryway or patio area, says Swanson. "Lights along a walkway are essential as they provide lighting for safety, while casting a subtle glow," she adds. You can also place lights at the base of trees to up your home's curb appeal, says Swanson.
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