Lighting Makes A Difference: The 3 Primary Types of Light

Lighting can make a world of difference in terms of how well you can see, glare, and comfort. There are three primary sources of lighting: ambient (or general), task, and accent. Each type is necessary for different parts of your home. This blog will look at the difference between each lighting type. Information in this blog comes from Do It Yourself Network, Elle Decor, and Home Stratosphere.

Ambient (or General) Lighting

Ambient lighting, also known as general lighting, is a hidden source of light that washes a room with a glow. It flattens an interior and creates very little shadow.  Its purpose is to provide broad lighting for the entire space. It is generally the primary source of lighting in a room, but it also directly influences the overall ambiance and mood. If a room has an abundance of natural lighting, that can often be the source of general lighting during the daytime. Think: chandeliers, recessed lighting, or sconces. Use of a dimmer can also provide ambient light.

Task Lighting

Task lighting is just that; lighting that’s used to perform daily activities such as reading, cooking, shaving, putting on makeup, etc. It needs to be glare-free. Effective task lighting enhances visual clarity and keeps the eyes from getting tired. Task lighting is more localized than other types of lighting, and it can come from a variety of sources. The function of task lighting is to brighten a certain work area, providing just enough contrasting light to enhance your productivity.

As we get older, our vision worsens, which is why task lighting is so effective in reducing the glare of lights and preventing eye strain. The types of workspaces that task lighting typically centers around are cooking, reading, crafts, studying, and other kinds of hobbies that are stationary.

ILA has many types of lightbulbs and lamps that fit this category including a color changing desk lamp, a floor lamp with full page magnifier, and a Z-Line lamp by Enfren. Special chromalux bulbs are also available and are recommended by low vision specialists and the National Association for the Visually Handicapped. These bulbs filter out the yellow rays that are emitted by ordinary incandescent lamps which dull visual perception. Chromalux light enhances original colors and textures.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is more design and decorative focused than the other two types of lighting.  It is a type of directional lighting or lighting that adds interest or highlights a certain object or unusual architectural feature in a room. A bulb and some kind of shield to direct the light are all that’s needed for this type of lighting. Halogen spotlights and table lamps with opaque shades are good ways to achieve accent lighting. Accent lighting adds drama to the room it’s in. Its goal is to draw your eyes to the focal point it has created. A well-executed accent light will bring your attention to what is being lit, not how that object is being lit.

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