Great lighting is essential when it comes to setting the mood and elevating the look of every room in your house. Below we’ve broken down the different types of residential lighting — from ambient to accent to landscape lighting — and how each type can bring out the beauty and craftsmanship found in your custom built home.
Natural light – When you’re designing your custom built home, make sure to take a close look at how you’re using sources of natural light like skylights, windows, and doors. If you’re already in your custom home, you can accentuate or soften its natural light with window treatments, for example.
Today’s custom home design trends incorporate plenty of natural light — from glass paneled doors that separate the main living space from the outdoor patio or garden for seamless indoor/outdoor living, windows that soar from the ground floor to the top of a vaulted ceiling, and skylights in unexpected places.
Ambient lighting – Simply put, ambient lighting is the room’s main source of light. In many cases, your ambient lighting is controlled by a single wall switch that turns overhead lights on in the room. While ambient lighting should be practical enough to provide the necessary light to the room, it doesn’t have to be dull or uncomfortably bright (and yes, ambient lighting can be natural light as well).
Make sure your ambient lighting enhances the feel of your room. If it’s overhead lighting, consider controlling it from a dimmer switch. Incorporate elegant or modern chandeliers, vintage lamps, wall sconces, and other types of decorative lights to accentuate your home’s ambient lighting.
Architectural lighting – Recessed, track, and monorail lighting are three types of architectural lighting that can add dimension and depth to any room in your home and really bring out its custom elements. While recessed lighting can be used as your ambient light source, it’s also great as accent lighting to highlight a unique design feature in your home, artwork, or furniture.
Track lighting is another ideal way to showcase a room’s best features, artwork and furniture. Monorail lighting serves a similar purpose and is able to be highly customized to create a unique look for your home.
Task lighting – If you’re looking for lights to help you perform a certain job or function, you’re looking for task lighting. But here’s the thing: just because it’s there to do a job, it can still look great.
Use task lightning in the kitchen underneath or above cabinets and for extra light in the areas where you prepare your food. In the bathrooms, task lighting is essential around vanities and sinks so that it’s easier to do everyday things like apply makeup and brush your teeth. But you could also add track lighting on the ceiling in the shower, above the toilet and above a freestanding bathtub as well.
Task lighting is also needed in workrooms and in the garage, as well as in closets. For the bedroom, consider layering ambient and architectural lighting with task lighting around the bed or any other area where you’ll be reading.
Landscape lighting – Creating depth and texture inside your home with lighting is a lot of fun, but don’t forget about your yard, patio, balcony, deck and garden because lighting can enhance your home’s outdoor areas, too. In fact, outdoor lighting systems (many that can be remote controlled or operated by a single switch) can add curb appeal and even an extra layer of safety for you and your family.
Consider adding lights below or above windows to showcase your custom built home’s unique architectural design. You can also strategically position lighting in the yard to do the same. Accent lighting can be used to spotlight flowers in your garden, trees, and outdoor sculptures.
You could also add underwater lighting in pools, fountains and ponds for extra ambiance. And for elegance and flair anytime of the year, why not add an outdoor fireplace? We love the look of lighting positioned high up in trees to illuminate a wider area of the yard from above, as well as accent lights along steps and paths that can provide safety.
Lighting is a relatively easy and quick way to bring out the many beautiful, unique qualities of your home and set the right mood. Ready to get started? Take a look online at websites like Houzz.com for ideas or peruse local antique, midcentury modern, or specialized furniture stores for inspiration.