A Beginners Guide to Lighting and Lighting Fixtures
Three Types of Lighting
Ambient lighting This type has the task to replace daylight. More often than not it will come from a central location at the ceiling. It is kind of an holdover from the times that gas lamps provided the only lighting source. By itself this type of light and location creates a bland, flat effect. If, however, you combine this type of lighting with all or some others, you will arrive at an extremely variable lighting scheme that will serve and fulfil all purposes. Accent lighting This type adds depth and shades with shadows in some corners, while providing pools of light in others. It gives texture, focus, and shape to ambient lighting. The vast majority of lamps and many light fixtures are designed to provide this kind of lighting. Task lighting Is what you need to do a specific job. This can be cooking, working on your computer, reading, sewing, or drawing. It provides a relatively narrow shaft of light that focuses exclusively on the area you're working on. The more focused the shaft of light, the less glare that will bother you. In most cases this shaft of light will come slightly from one side, or from in front of you. If otherwise, you'll be shading the area you want illuminated...
Modern Lamps and Light Fixtures that Fall into These Categories
Pendant lights Normally hangs from the center of the ceiling. If not matched and mixed with other types of lighting and lamps, you get this 'interrogation room' look. They normally flatten shadows and provide a rather dim light. They are the prime target for varying with a dimmer as their negative effects can be easier corrected. Used in this fashion they provide a nice accent. They come in vastly differing forms and shapes; from the ubiquitous paper shade to elaborate chandeliers.
Table Lamps or Floor Lamps Lamps do so much more than simply add light to a room or area. They offer a design element that can change the whole feel of a room. When used on a table they fill a drab, empty space both horizontally or vertically. When used on the floor, they offer the same benefits but have much more flexibility since they can be put anywhere they're needed; behind a chair, in a corner or at the end of the couch.
Track Lighting A straight piece of electrified engineering of varied length that allows attaching various spotlights or floodlights. Ideally equipped with different circuits, so that not all lamps attached go on or off when switched. A dimmer allows for regulating the lighting intensity.
Recessed Lighting Recessed light or downlight (also known as can lighting) is a light fixture installed into an opening in a ceiling. Recessed lights appear to have light shining from a hole in the ceiling, concentrating the light downward as a broad floodlight or narrow spotlight.
Uplighter Probably the lamp that is the least decorative, as the type of light it makes is more important than its looks. It does it's work unseen behind large pieces of furniture, or is even recessed into the floor. It shines straight up at the ceiling, providing a soft light, creating the illusion of enlarging a room, as long as the ceiling is of a light colour. It does a particularly good job in your study, as it prevents any glare.
Modern Wall Lighting and Wall Sconces Anything mounted on the walls, and that at different heights and with a whole lot of different looks, from shades to frosted fittings. They provide a warm light, the character of which depends of course on the color of the wall they reflect their light off. They are perfect in combination with ambient lighting by giving accent and adding atmosphere. Ceramic bowls diffuse the light towards the ceiling, translucent shades give off a soft light. They are great for corridors, hallways, and living rooms. Although this categorization of types of light and lamps is supposed to make the task of composing the right light and lighting for your home easier, getting it right still can be a daunting task. But there is help! Yes, I'm talking about your modern lighting professional who will help you make your decision with expert knowledge and advice.