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Lighting Your Space- Layers and Effects

The three types of lighting that comprise a lighting system are ambient, task, and accent.

Ambient lighting is the general illumination of a space. Many ambient fixtures are overhead, near or at
the ceiling plane, to provide a fairly uniform distribution of light.
Task lighting supplements ambient lighting to aid performance in a given task, such as reading writing,or cooking. Popular task lights are adjustable desktop fixtures and undercabinet lighting.
Accent lighting highlights a particular item or area, such as a light to draw attention to artwork or displays.
The best lit interiors incorporate aspects of each of these three categories, maximizing flexibility and control. Despite all these artificial lighting options, consumer preference is strongest for natural lighting. Daylight is the most sustainable form of lighting and should be used as much as possible. Using natural lighting as a primary source combined with artificial supplements allows homeowners to enjoy lower energy costs.
Lighting fixtures, or luminaires, take different forms to create various effects. Categories of  luminaries include indirect, semi-indirect, general diffuse, indirect-direct, semi-direct, and direct. These groupings describe the direction the light is channeled by the fixture; indirect fixtures channel light upward toward the ceiling while direct fixtures shine light downward to the users. The other categories shine a given proportion of light upward and downward. A space that has only direct lighting tends to have more glare and a harsher feel while incorporating indirect lighting will create a balanced softer light source. The same space will feel completely different whether direct or indirect lighting is utilized.
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