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Everything you need to know about ambient lighting for your home

By Ela Das

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The right lighting can make a world of a difference in any home. It can visually open up a narrow space, create a cosy warmer mood in a large room or even create an air of celebration when hosting guests. But how does one create or achieve the right lighting?

While there are several ways to light up your home, the three basic types of lighting are ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. Task and accent lights work towards highlighting a specific area or feature in a room, but ambient lighting also known as general lighting, serves as the primary source of light for a room. It is the foundation of all the lighting, creating a sense of warmth and depth in any room or space.

Ambient lighting can be created by using basic lighting fixtures such as chandeliers, track lights, recessed lights and wall or ceiling-mounted lighting fixtures. If you’re looking to create the right ambient lighting for the home, we’ve worked out a handy guide for every room.

 

1. AN AMBIENT LIGHTING IDEA THAT ALREADY EXISTS IN EVERY HOME

When we think of home décor lighting, we imagine buying new light fittings and accessories for the home. But there’s also a light accessory in every home that can double as the perfect ambient lighting. A simple table or floor lamp can change the mood in any room in the house—from the bedroom to the living room. While you can control the wattage of light with the bulb you fit in it, its lampshade can also enhance or elevate the space’s décor with its design or pattern.

STYLE TIP: For visual intrigue, pick a lampshade with a cutwork-detailed pattern. This will create a fascinating shadow-play of unique patterns on the walls when the lamp is on.

Lamp shade in the living room creating ambient mood - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Envisage

Contemporary living room with ambient light highlighting the in built clock - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, 42MM

2. AMBIENT LIGHTING THAT HIGHLIGHTS THE HOME’S DÉCOR

An interesting or unique accessory or décor piece never fails to make a statement in any room in the house. To highlight this, the right ambient lighting can create a focal point on or around this piece. It could be a warm glow, a multi-hued illumination or a bright spotlight that could do the trick to create the look you’re going for. In this contemporary living room, a row of tiny track lights emit soft beams of light on the larger-than-life clock in-built on the wall.

3. UNIQUE HOME DÉCOR LIGHTING IDEAS

A well-designed light fixture can double as a piece of art in a room. It could be a one-of-a-kind antique lamp or an eye catching contemporary fixture by your favourite designer. With its unique design, a statement light will not only create ambient lighting in the room but also break from the monotony of conventional design.

INSIDER’S EYE: A cool departure from the usual bedside lamps, these two-way spotlights cast a linear beam on each side of the headboard. We love how this subtly pairs with the geometric interplay of lights on the ceiling.

Ambient light fixture doubled as a piece of art in the bedroom - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, A Square Designs

Grand chandeliers as ambient lighting & bedroom décor for the home - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Aparna Kaushik

4. AMBIENT LIGHTING FOR A HOME WITH CHANDELIERS

The grandest light fixture is probably a chandelier! Heralding thoughts of heritage homes, sprawling mansions and large banquet halls, a chandelier immediately makes one think of large spaces and opulence. But, with its soft luminance, a chandelier could create the perfect ambient home décor lighting. While the most obvious choice for this fixture would be the living room, we love the idea of fitting miniature chandeliers or jhumars in the bedroom.

STYLE TIP: If you’re a maximalist looking to add a dash of glamour to your bedroom, swap out your bedside lamps for two mini chandeliers instead!

5. AN ADJUSTABLE AMBIENT LIGHTING FIXTURE

If there’s one room in the house where bright light is more important than the décor, it’s the kitchen. However, if your home has an open kitchen that extends into the living room or an island that doubles as the dining table, you may want to play around with your lighting to create different moods in the room. A channel of track lights running across the length of the kitchen can highlight specific parts or features of a room and double as accent or ambient lighting. They also echo a more contemporary aesthetic in the space, pairing well with all latest sleek and modern appliances and technology in the kitchen.

EXPERT GUIDE: If you want to do away with creating a false 

Channel of track lights as ambient lighting running across the kitchen - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Sleek by Asian Paints

ceiling or cutting holes in your walls for the lights, track lights are a simpler option for any home décor lighting. Allowing flexibility in terms of size a position, it allows you to control the strength of the illumination in every part of a room.
 

Fluted glass pendant light with warm pink glow as ambient lighting - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Asian Paints

6. PAIR THE AMBIENT LIGHTING WITH THE REST OF THE HOME’S DESIGN

If you’re creating a certain look or theme in a room, it makes sense to pair your lights with this aesthetic as well. In this cosy sitting room, we see an interplay of intricate Indian prints on the rug, sofa and the wall. To pair well with the duality of maximalism and minimalism of Indian design in the upholstery and wallpaper created by Sabyasachi Mukherjee for Asian Paints, a simple fluted glass pendant light with brass accents does the trick. With its rose glass exterior, it creates a warm pink glow that elevates the blush tones in the entire room.

7. CONCEAL THE AMBIENT LIGHTING WITH RECESSED LIGHTS

Hidden within a false ceiling, a recessed light is used in a room to illuminate a large area while staying concealed. Certain recessed lights (also known as can lights) can be swivelled and are also used as spotlights. They can also be installed with dimmers to change and control the ambience and mood of a room.

Room with concealed recessed lights for creating ambient mood - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Quirk Studio

Make the ambient lights highlight the piece of art in your room - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Taliesyn

8. CREATE AMBIENT LIGHTING TO FOCUS ON A PIECE OF ART

The art we choose often echos the styles, colours and patterns we gravitate towards. And, usually, a large artwork is meant to create a statement in a room. To further enhance it, a set of recessed or track ambient lights can create a spotlight on its surface. While drawing the eye to the artwork the moment one enters the room, these ambient lights will also help to highlight the intricate and subtle details on the canvas.

9. …OR CREATE A COVE FOR AMBIENT LIGHTING IN THE HOME

A form of indirect lights, cove lights are built into ledges or recesses in the ceiling or high on the walls of a room. Their aim is to provide overall diffused lighting as they direct light up towards the ceiling or down the adjacent walls. If you’d like to highlight a decorative ceiling or add depth to the tops of the walls, cove lights are your best bet. Since they are concealed, cove lights are usually strips (either LED or fluorescent), in the form of a rope or a strip. To achieve the right ambient lighting for home with cove lights, stay away from bulbs that are too fluorescent. Warm white works best to create a cosy haven, while dimmers come in handy when the light feels too bright.

Create ambient lighting with cove lights in your room - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, MADS Creations

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