Thursday, May 26

Layering Light in Interiors

Kichler Systems 
Good lighting isn't just something to work toward as an Interior Designer, it should be a goal for every project, every time.  It is equally as important as the right fitting sofa, or the perfect pallet of colors, and the right mix of textures.  So, here is a run down of how to achieve lighting perfection, for any project, every time.

The Layers
Optimal lighting is achieved using different layers of light. Each layer has its own purpose, and each is equally important. Each layer should have its own stand alone control or switch.  This way, you can control or dim each layer independently.  When creating your mechanical or lighting plan, show all three layers of lighting.  So what are the three layers, what is their purpose, and how do I get that great lighting effect?

Ambient lighting is just that, ambient.  It is also sometimes called general room lighting or background lighting.  Ambient lighting shouldn't be the only lighting put into a room. Your general lighting should be used to brighten the room.  Be sure to use the right fixtures, and the right amout of light.  Though it is background lighting, it still is the light source most often used, and the proper fixtures and amount of light needs to be used.  Good examples of ambient light include recessed can's, ceiling mounted lighting fixtures, chandeliers, and even pendant lights.

Kitchler Lighting Modular 2.0 Tape
Task lighting is the second layer, and is also a very important light source in rooms like kitchens and baths. Task light is just that, lighting directly used for the tasks in a room.  Task lighting increases viability in heavily used work areas, like countertops, for efficient and safe use.  Good examples of task light sources include under cabinet lights.  An example of  under cabinet lighting is Kichler Lighting's Modular LED Pick Lights,

Accent lighting is just that, an accent, adding beauty to any space, and can often double as a night light.  Accent lighting can be used to accentuate art, like the Kichler Lighting Fixed Rail 4Lt LED, or along the baseboard of cabinetry.  I even saw some interesting installations at KBIS, including under a countertop, to light the edge of the surface.  

When searching for Task and Accent Lights, check out Kichler's line of LED Tape.  And if you are looking for more information on light layering, here are a few more resources:

 - Kichler Lighting - "Learn about Lighting - Light Layering" 
 - Residential Lighting - A Practical Guide to Beautiful and Sustainable Design