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4 Types of Lighting Used in Homes

Light is light, right? Actually, no. A variety of light sources are needed for safety, livability and ambiance. It can help you accomplish a task or set a mood.

 Photo: OakBridge Timber Framing


As you’re laying out the lighting game plan in your timber home, consider how the four primary types of light can play their part to help you achieve your goals.


1. Ambient Lighting

Simply put, ambient lighting is the general mood lighting, or overall illumination, of a given room. Ceiling fixtures, recessed cans, sconces or torch-style fixtures all provide good ambient lighting.  To figure out exactly how much ambient light is needed, follow this basic rule of thumb: Multiply the room’s dimensions, and then multiply that number by 1.5 to come up with the total number of watts needed. You also may want to consider a dimming switch that can help you alter the general mood of the room at any given moment.


See also Lighting Options for Your Timber Frame Home


2. Task Lighting

When it’s time to cook, read or enjoy your hobbies, you’ll want more than just ambient lighting. This is where task lighting comes into play. Aim for a pool of light that is double the room’s ambient lighting. Hanging fixtures and lamps work well, and in kitchens, think recessed can lighting or under-cabinet mounts that will project ample light onto the counter where you’re working.  In the bedroom, wall-mounted swing-arm lamps are perfect for reading and keep floor space uncluttered.


3. Accent Lighting

More decorative than functional, accent lighting is used to highlight specific architectural elements or other features of a room. In a timber home, accent lights often showcase the beauty of the structural frame or beams. Track lights, directional can lights or spotlights all can be used to draw attention to beautiful details such as woodwork, paintings, textures or angles. Uplighting draws the eye up toward a particular feature.


See also Rustic Lighting for Your Timber-Frame Home


4. Natural Light

Don’t underestimate the power of natural light in your timber home. By strategically placing your home to take advantage of daylight, you’ll save some money on daytime lighting needs while also enjoying a setting awash in the beauty of sunlight. Plus, countless studies have shown that people exposed to a generous dose of natural light are generally happier and healthier. How’s that for looking on the bright side?

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