Lighting is essential to the success of an interior design scheme and is a crucial aspect of setting the tone and mood of a room. With an abundance of exquisite lighting designs available, it can be easy to focus on aesthetics or choose lighting that fails to highlight specific features within a space. Understanding the difference between how lighting can be used will help create the perfect lighting balance in your home. We discuss the difference between ambient, task and accent lighting.
Ambient lighting is the primary level of lighting in a room with the main aim to provide clear vision across the space. It should provide a comfortable level of brightness depending on the size of the room and taking into account the amount of natural light that filters through from windows and doors. The key to ambient lighting is to ensure that it provides a good distribution of light. It can be achieved using pendant lights, chandeliers, downlights, track lights, spotlights or any fixture that provides good illumination and no glare.
Ceiling downlights efficiently light the informal living area of our Richmond project with consideration given to the natural light that floods in from the bay window and skylight.
Task lighting has the purpose of providing illumination for specific functions in a room or to brighten poorly lit areas. It is specifically used for practical purposes and not for decoration. It includes under cabinet lighting, wall lights, table lamps, floor standing lights and mounted reading lights.
The lighting over the counter in our Eaton Mews North kitchen was specified as task lighting to wash light over the counter to aid in food preparation. Two fittings ensure that the entire work surface is covered with light. The lights used are the Elements Tom Box MA 15 lights from Chaplins and have been manufactured in oxydated and nickelled brass to marry with the other finishes used within the kitchen.
The three surface mounted lights above the kitchen counter sink run have also been used as task lighting to illuminate the worktop. The sink run is very long therefore we chose three lighting fittings in black to form an appealing feature at high level. We specified the light colour as 2700 Kelvin to add a touch of warmth and ambience to the space. The lights used are the Luceplan – E04 Ceiling Light with LED ‘retro fit’ AR111 by Flos.
In our Belsize Park kitchen, which had very high ceilings, the task lighting had to be powerful and fully directional so that light could be targeted on the specific working areas around the sink and hobs. The Array pendant light by CTO Lighting was the perfect statement light for this room. The shades have a beautiful gold lining that emits a warm glow over the kitchen island at night.
Accent lighting is used to draw attention to a specific feature or element within an interior scheme. It can be used to create drama, add character to a space or highlight personal objects in a room. A room can be completely transformed when elements such as artwork or the striking architectural features of a space are accentuated with accent lighting. Accent lighting can be achieved using picture lights, wall lights, mirror lights, LED strips or uplighters.
In the kitchen of our Eaton Mews North project, we installed a faux living wall that has been lit from above with LED strip lighting. We specified the colour of the light as 3000 Kelvin to ensure a bright light that mimics daylight to give the impression of natural light flooding in from the top of the green wall, as would be the case if there was a skylight from above.
Wall lights are another fantastic way to highlight a specific area and are also a great way to add your personal touch to a space. With an incredible array of styles and finishes available, light fixtures can serve as a striking feature that adds an instant update to a room so don’t be afraid to make a statement.
We used the Buster + Punch wall light in brass from the Hooked Collection (above) as accent lighting in the kitchen of our Belsize Park project while the Sconce light from Apparatus (below) highlights the beautiful architectural features in the hallway.
Photography by Richard Waite
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