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3 Things to Know About Interior Lighting

Last modified: 2020-10-01 | Approximate reading time 3 mins

Léa Plourde-Archer

Chandeliers, ceiling lights, recessed or semi-recessed lights, hanging lamps… There are plenty of options out there for interior lighting.   

Inside, one must decide which type of lighting they wish to use in the rooms but also which type of light source will be well-suited for each specific area. For example, a giant chandelier isn’t exactly the best choice for a small bathroom. 

The different types of interior lighting

Home Depot has determined three (3) distinct lighting categories: ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting.

Depending on the main function of the room (reading, cooking, working, etc.), you must opt for a specific main light source. However, nothing is keeping you from decorating the room with extra lights to complete the look that you are trying to create.

In general, ambient light is the main source of lighting in a room. In a dining room, for example, most people will install a hanging lamp over the table. Starting from the lowest part of the hanging lamp (or chandelier, if you prefer), measure thirty inches to see at what height you must hang it over the table. The size of the lamp should be proportionate to that of the table so it doesn’t create an illusion of having a smaller table. Of course, it should be well centred.

Next, built-in lights set up in strategic areas will add extra strength to the main lamp. If you choose CFL (compact fluorescent) light bulbs, the area covered by the light will be bigger, yet it will not cost more money given their strength and long lifespan. Check the number of watts on the light bulb to make a better choice!

Also, ambient lighting must be strong enough to light up the whole room. Accent lighting will be used to attract the eye towards certain details such as a painting, an architectural detail or a plant.

Éclairage salon_lighting living room

Task lighting is most often used over kitchen counters or on office desks. As the name suggests, it is meant to help improve the lighting in an area where people will be taking part in common tasks. For example, in the kitchen, you can install lamps under the top cabinets. This type of lighting will not exactly be eye-catching but it will be very useful.

Don’t overlook natural lighting. You have to adapt your choices according to the amount of light that comes in through the windows. Windows in bathrooms tend to be smaller than in dining rooms; therefore, you will have to install artificial lighting that helps to compensate for this deficiency. If you install recessed lighting, be sure to install at least one over the mirror.

Éclairage sous-sol_basement lighting

All about dimmers

Dimmers are very useful and you should try to install one dimmer for each lamp. This will avoid having to turn on all the lights in one room, which is practical if the room is very big and you only want to light up a part of it.

By using a dimmer, you can also dim the lights to change the atmosphere of the room. When having dinner with your close ones, you can create a warm atmosphere by lowering the intensity of the light. In contrast, if you are helping your child with their homework, you will need proper lighting to keep your eyes from getting tired.

Installing a dimmer or any other type of lamp requiring the proper skills and tools should be done by a professional electrician. This will reduce the number of risks and potential problems.

Éclairage bureau grenier_attic office lighting

Tips and advice about interior lighting

Don’t hesitate to install different types of lighting in the same room. Also, if you have a closet, no matter the size, you should install lighting inside. There is no need to pick the fanciest lamp for your closet; a simple light bulb will do the trick if you have a more traditional closet (two sliding doors). In doing so, you will have an easier time finding your clothes and won’t have to turn on other lights in the room.

The colour of the walls will influence the type of lighting in the room. If the walls are darker, you will have to install more artificial lighting.

In the end -without necessarily turning your house into a lamp store- the more light sources you have, the more flexibility you will have in terms of lighting. 

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