By Joyce Standridge
As we move into autumn and its shorter days, the increasing hours of darkness bring our awareness to artificially brightening up our rooms and how it can not only work for us, but also benefit us.
Because wood absorbs light so well, log home lighting is frequently more critical than the lighting in stick-built homes, but a strategic plan can also yield greater comfort. The pros agree. Experts with the American Lighting Association (ALA) have studied the entire matter of efficiently and attractively lighting homes.
As a result, hey have identified three types, applicable to any building: ambient, accent and task.
Ambient light is another name for natural lighting. The big question is whether it is harder to control. If you believe that you can’t do anything about ambient — or sun-provided — lighting after the house has been built, then this article (and a little rambling around the Internet) can disabuse you of that notion. In fact, ambient light is far more than just what comes through the window.
As the website Interior Mantra notes, ambient light differs from task lighting because its purpose is to provide an equal flash of light throughout a room, as opposed to concentrated light for a specific purpose. A room that has insufficient (or even too much) light can be altered by viewing the overall design and contents.
While you’re not likely to paint wood surfaces, a coat of color on drywall surfaces — even a just a few shades difference — can completely change how light is absorbed and reflected.
Flooring types also capture or mirror the amount of light, and, of course, the furnishings’ finishes and colors will impact how well the ambient lighting translates into the general presentation.
Unless you are talking about a panic room or a cellar with no access to light beyond artificial sources, the amount of light that is available at any one time can vary significantly from other times — and that is a very important matter to consider in your log home lighting.
Accent lighting is the most fun source and allows your inner decorator to take over. Accent lighting requires as least three times as much light on the focal point as the general lighting surrounding it.
That makes sense, as the point is to draw attention to a specific space or object through track lighting. While task lighting, especially that destined for living areas, can be inventive and eye-catching in its own manner, accent lighting generally exists only to be purpose-driven. It is unusual to see this type of brightening a room that is decorative in its own right.
These lights exist to serve, not to draw attention. If you plan to change the focus of the room, invest in accent lights that are moveable. But since most accent light fixtures will be in the ceiling or in a solidly attached sconce, it requires careful thought and planning to properly light and display an area.
Task lighting is the workhorse of household illumination. Like oats or hay for the horse, it used to be strictly utilitarian. Location was far more important than appearance. Happily, that’s no longer the case.
It’s possible to work beautifully, in every sense of the word. Whether it’s a fixture (meaning it either cannot be moved or has limited motion) or a lamp, designing task lighting for kitchens and offices offers such a wide range of options that you’ll never again misread the salt for sugar.
Or put too many zeroes on a check. Being practical as well as decorative, log home lighting should avoid glare and provide enough illumination to prevent eyestrain, especially for reading areas. And although the terminology sounds less than glamorous, it’s within the realm that many of the exciting, boundary-testing fixtures and lamps are found.
Often, we think of task lighting as being portable, but it can also be a fixture. A chandelier over the dining table, a pool table or even in a foyer (to light the way in — a most-important task), also has value. So, too, are lights that work in the bathroom or as lovely pendants over a sink.
Working with this trio, you have ample opportunity to master the art of log home lighting. Whatever your need, you’ll find light fixtures and lamps to assist in the deed.