OOD RESIDENTIAL LIGHTING MUST NOT ONLY PROVIDE THE FUNCTION
of light, but also satisfy the owner’s decorative and visual tastes. For this reason, finding the right solution can be as much art as science. Fortunately, there are rules of thumb that provide basic guidance on what is appropriate. This article describes those applicable to various types of residential spaces, based on multiple sources, including the American Light- ing Association (ALA) and Illuminating Engineering Society (IES).
LESSONS IN LIGHT
MAKE A HOME WORK
Generally considered more an art than a science, residential
lighting still has rules of thumb to use as a starting point.
As with any lighting project, the first step is to find out what the cus- tomer wants. This may come from the owner or builder. After that, the distributor should enter the project with a grasp of lighting lay- ering and a handle on the concept of light levels.
. Layering with light
Light layers include: ✔ General or ambient lighting, which provides light for general viewing and getting around safely. It can be used both for ambient light and as a decorative element, as in the case of a chandelier. ✔ Uniform general lighting, which may produce good light levels but can be boring. Task and accent lighting help the space tell a story. Sometimes, these layers produce enough light that general luminaires aren’t necessary, although they may still be desirable. ✔ Task lighting, which provides more light for specific tasks. A good example is a bedside reading lamp. ✔ Accent lighting, which provides more light on surfaces and objects to draw attention to them. It oper- ates on the principle that the eye is drawn to the brightest object in the field of view. For example, spotlights can highlight a wall painting, wall grazing the texture of a brick wall, and wall washing the wall itself. Note that brightening walls and the ceiling can make a space appear larger and more public; the focus is on the architecture. Direct lighting, meanwhile, can make a space ap- pear smaller and more private; the focus is on objects. Consider dimming where possi- ble in regularly occupied spaces. Dimming allows the tuning of layers to produce unique lighting scenes that can be recalled by the owner or programmed automatically to trans- form the space for different uses. All lighting should enable good vision and visual comfort, with no glare or unwanted shadows. I M A G E C O U R T E S Y O F P R O G R E S S L I G H T I N G
In this example of layered lighting, recessed downlights, island pendants, and daylight provide general and task lighting, while undercabinet lights provide task lighting.
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