4 Types of Lighting
Lighting can basically be divided in 4 categories:
General Lighting provides an area with overall illumination. Also known as “ambient” lighting, General lighting radiates a comfortable level of brightness, enabling one to see and walk about safely. General lighting is typically seen as the starting point for lighting a space or a room, usually giving the bulk of the light. Ambient lighting is often provided by traditional pendant type fixtures, down lights, chandeliers, or ceiling mounted fixtures etc. The general decor and aspect of the room will affect the amount of general lighting required.
While most of the time ambient light comes from the fixtures listed above, in certain applications, it can be the sum of all the accent, decorative, and task lighting that produces the total ambient lighting.
Light strips, pendants, chandeliers, and sconces are all examples of light fixtures that draw attention to themselves and add character to the room being lighted. Many are also used for general lighting.
Task lighting, or directional lighting, is aimed at a specific task. It is a way to provide more light on a specific area to perform a task that requires more light than the ambient fixtures can give. Desk lamps, ceiling pendant fixtures, and appliance lights are all good examples of task lighting fixtures. A desk lamp in an office or a ceiling pendant above a breakfast bar can give the additional lighting needed to read a book or newspaper.
Accent lighting is also a sort of a directional lighting that adds drama to a room by creating visual interest. As part of a decorating scheme, it is used to spotlight paintings, houseplants, sculpture, and other prized possessions, or to highlight the texture of a wall, drapery or outdoor landscaping. Accent lighting requires at least three times as much light on the focal point as the general lighting around it. This usually is provided by track, recessed, or wall-mounted fixtures.