One of the first things to consider when decorating a room is how much natural light it gets. You should also know when and where the sun peeks into the room. Understanding the amount of natural light and sunlight that comes into a room will help you make decorative light choices that play on the strengths of the natural light and darkness in the room.

Many people mistakenly put off lighting as an afterthought to room decorating. In order to use lighting effectively in your decorating it should be one of the first considerations. Sometimes, you may need to plan for new outlets or fixtures, so it is important to consider lighting options from the beginning of your decorating project.

Mood lighting
Room lighting affects the entire atmosphere and mood of the room. Before you make a decision about lighting think about the uses of the room and the mood that you wish to create. To create an intimate and cozy feeling try using smaller lamps with low wattage. You can also use darker shades if you wish to give a sitting room or library warm, cozy feeling.

Ambient Lighting
All light that provides natural light or simulates natural daylight in the room is known as ambient lighting. There is no glare to ambient lighting. It’s primary purpose is to illuminate the shape and size of the room. Aside from showing your colors ambient lighting has no specific task in decorating.

Ambient light comes from windows or from wall or ceiling fixtures. Determine how much natural looking light you want in the room when you consider window coverings or light fixtures. A room full of light will seem bright and airy, while a darker room can be used with accent lighting to create a particular feel or mood for your room.

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Accent Lighting
Accent lighting is usually easy to choose because it serves one purpose. The purpose of accent lighting is to highlight a piece of art or furniture or the light fixture itself is chosen as an accent piece, for example a Tiffany lamp.

Accent lighting is akin to using a miniature spotlight in your house and can be added using track lighting.

Task Lighting
Some rooms will require areas with strong lights or task lighting. Work stations and reading areas require task lighting. For optimal vision, task lighting should come from above and behind you, but it is often difficult to find visually appealing lights that provide that type of lighting. Just keep that in mind when you are searching for task lamps which are generally designed as desk or table lamps to light the immediate working area. Perhaps you can choose one that is a little taller and use a brighter bulb to properly illuminate your work area.

Different types of lighting serve different functions. Take these factors into consideration when decorating with light.

The House Book, Paragon Publishing, 2002.
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