Lighting the Way, Naturally

A natural feel is a better feel. How to “keep it real” with interior lighting.  

Sponsored by Butler Electric Supply.

Most of us are fans of natural light. We’re comforted by transition, shadows, highlights and variation in light intensity in living spaces. 

For quiet evenings, or time with family, there’s nothing worse than overhead fixtures radiating light through three 120 watt hot yellow bulbs; or the florescent, static glow of library-style, doctor’s office lighting panels. But, there’s nothing better when it comes to actually seeing. So, how do you achieve ambiance, a natural feel, and quality lighting in your home?

It’s All About Layers

Layering light is the best way to mimic natural light in your home. There are three types of lighting to consider: ambient light, for general illumination; task lighting, when performance matters; and, accent lighting, to direct attention to specific places or items in your home.

Ambient Light

Let’s take the kitchen, for example. Overhead track lighting or recessed lighting is the ambient light in the room. It’s the light we use to move around in the space without tripping toys, the dog bowl, or…the dog. 3000K LED bulbs are recommended to achieve clean, daylight-like light.

Task Lighting

When you add task lighting, under-cabinet lights for instance, you are creating additional light for specific tasks, like reading recipes, cutting veggies, or measuring spices. This second layer of light makes it easier to see and reduces shadows under the cabinets. Used in this location, a 3000K LED bulb will not only mimic daylight, but reduce eye strain as well.

Accent Lighting

Now, for a little decoration.

Accent lighting can be used to highlight detail, or to cast light on decorative objects. This layer is best used for creating mood, and therefore typically uses a warmer color and less intense light. In the kitchen, consider cove lighting in a tray ceiling or up-lighting above the cabinets to add drama and interest to the room. Turn on the over cabinet lights and dim the overhead ambient light during a dinner party to give the kitchen a warmer, more elegant tone.

Layering is great, but there’s a bit of a science to getting the natural feel you’re going for. Once you identify the space you want to play with, determine which layers of light are most appropriate for the space. Be sure to measure the areas and surfaces you plan to light, then identify the types of fixtures and finishes that will blend well and add appropriate accents.

Natural light is a difficult lighting style to achieve. Be sure to consult with a lighting specialist at a showroom near you to ensure that the look and feel you want emanates throughout your home. 

Visit Butler’s Showroom at: 21013 Castle St. in Wilmington, NC.

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