Getting ambient lighting right

By Kim Banks on September 25, 2013

Our friends at recently posted an article, 8 Ways to Get Ambient Lighting Just Right, focusing on how to see clearly and create the perfect mood in a room by harnessing natural and artificial light. We've summarized the points below. Enjoy! 1. Exploit natural lighting. For rooms used primarily during the daytime, natural light can be adequate and inviting. Consider passive light sources first. 2. Expose your rooms. In the northern hemisphere, east-, west- and south-facing rooms are great candidates for increasing natural light. Each exposure offers unique lighting. North-facing rooms draw on natural light as well but typically need assistance from an artificial light source. 3. Reflect natural light. This room has lots of natural light, drawing on a less-obvious strategy. Anytime you introduce mirrors, like the ones on the wall behind the sectional here, you reflect and amplify the light. 4. Amplify the light. In a room like this with one small window, the white paint amplifies the light. Mirrors on the sides of the window opening also would maximize the natural light. 5. Augment with recessed lighting (pot or can lights). Recessed lighting is a go-to problem solver. The goal is to have each light cast a cone of light to pool on the floor, leaving no dark spots or unlit zones. The ceiling height will determine the placement, because each light will cast a pool of light according to its beam spread. 6. Factor in age and health. As we get older ,we can become more sensitive to light but also need more light to enable us to see fine details. Reading lamps are essential, but tuning into sensitivities will help make the overall room more soothing. 7. Up the energy level. Some rooms are hubs for your household's comings and goings. In these rooms you want ambient light to boost energy. 8. Play with color, materials, finishes and placement. A light-filled space gives me joy and energy. For others a more cave-like space will have the same effect. It's all about finding your comfort zone with ambient lighting.

Supplement task lighting with recessed cans to improve ambient lighting in a room.