The Right Amount of Bright | How to Light Your Space

Have you ever been in a space that, while beautifully designed, felt a little flat?  Like you were looking at a picture of the space, not the space itself?  Chances are the culprit of this design flaw is bad lighting.  Lighting can make or break the feel of a space; it can create unexpected delight or underwhelming disinterest simply with the flick of a switch. As such, we wanted to give you a few quick hitting notes on how to properly light a few different spaces for different tasks.


1| Task Lighting

There are two main ways to light a space for different types of tasks:  general ambient lighting and task ambient lighting.

General Ambient lighting: This type of lighting is best for spaces in which the tasks being performed vary greatly.



The Lego Offices are a great example of various types of light used for multi-purpose spaces.


Task Ambient lighting:  In this type of lighting, higher values of illuminance are provided for the area in which one is working, with lesser values in the surrounding areas (think of a light at your desk versus only having an overhead light).



The Battle Hall Reading Room is a great example of beautiful task ambient lighting.

2| Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is created through mixing direct and indirect lighting – or downlighting and uplighting – to create a visually pleasing space.



I always think of wedding receptions when I think of uplighting.  Here the uplighting highlights the gorgeous ceiling architecture, while downlighting allows you to find your seat and chat with guests.


Various different types of lights and bulbs create very different effects in spaces.  The color temperature and brightness of a light play a large role in how our eye reads the room.

Incandescent:  These bulbs emit a warm light, with most of the energy in them concentrated towards the red and yellow end of the color spectrum, which compliments the appearance of human faces and warmer colored designs.




Incandescent lighting in the space is perfect!  It brings out the rich red hues instead of competing with them the way fluorescent light tends to do.

Fluorescent:  Depending on what color temperature you buy these in – they range from warm (3000k) to cool (4100) – you can light a space with an incandescent feel, or a feeling closer to daylight.  



Fluorescent lighting is a must in most ultra-modern spaces.  Too warm of a light source would distort the clean color palette and crispness of the space.



Sparkle is a real term in the field of lighting design references the highlights that add feelings of well-being to a space.  Sparkle can be found in the way light dances and reflects off water, or off a faceted chandelier.  Sparkle is a hard-to-pin-down element that creates deep visual interest in a space.  




This bar is too beautiful for words…all thanks to a lot of sparkle.

Just a few quick hits on what to consider when lighting your space.  Maureen will be delving into this topic more deeply, as she’s doing a talk on lighting soon!  It really is fascinating, you just have to wade through a lot of technical talk!  Happy weekend!