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Despite our need for it on a daily basis, good lighting is often overlooked in décor because 1) it’s not always the easiest thing to upgrade and 2) we tend to take it for granted as long as all the switches work.
How many times, and in how many rooms, do we let the ceiling light do all the work? It’s an easy compromise to make when there are so many other design choices to make, some of which have more immediate impact (like where you sit, or how you’ll store your stuff).
But, there’s really no substitute for great lighting, and “layering” it is an easy way to add dynamic design as well as more utility to any room.
Ambient lighting is the default lighting in a room. It’s probably a ceiling light, but it might be a floor lamp or even sconces.
Ambient light may be for general use, and utility may drive its design, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. In fact, some people make their ambient light source the focal point of the room with a large statement piece.
If you do, though, your design will benefit from an effort to balance it with accent lighting that allows you more freedom to control when and how you use a larger fixture.
BONUS: Adding a dimmer is also a great way to give your ambient lighting more versatility; so much so in some cases that it can even change how the design plays in the space.
Accent lighting does what its name implies; it accents the room with light. Accent lighting may be decorative, or it may highlight a piece of art … but what it doesn’t do is adequately light the room.
Similarly, it doesn’t qualify as task lighting. You don’t use it for anything but decoration, and keeping this in mind will help you select and arrange it.
BONUS: Of course, this kind of lighting can accent a room with more than just light. Pair this lighting with your ambient fixture, coordinate it with your décor or try both to create a more cohesive look.
Now, go get that luxuriously layered look with your lighting!