Since lighting is so important to not only the function but the overall
atmosphere of a room, it is important to choose suitable light fixtures
for each lighting situation. Here is a list of popular lighting
methods and devices, and their definitions.
Uplights, also called uplighters, direct light upward. Because
the ceiling acts as a large reflector, uplights create an ambient light
that is soft and diffused. Uplights result in good background
light, with more refinement and fewer shadows than ambient light that
comes from a central source.
Downlights, also called downlighters, direct light downward from
high in the room. Downlights are very efficient and provide
concentrated light for working in or for displaying an object in.
They may be recessed or surface mounted, and also come in fixed or
Spotlights are reflector lights that project light beams less than
30 degrees wide. Used in different ways, spotlights can be used
in the home to produce a variety of effects, from accent lighting to
Track lighting is a form of spotlighting, in which a track allows a
number of different lights to be connected along its length and
manipulated for the right effect. The track carries the electrical
current, and the lights are plugged in using a special connector.
Pendant lights are any lights that hang from a ceiling, whether they
hang over a kitchen island or a dining room table. Pendant lights
can cast direct light or diffuse light, and can be decorative or
utilitarian. Many pendant lights, such as chandeliers, have
Ceiling lights, often surface-mounted fixtures located in the center
of a room or hallway, cast a bright, overhead light that illuminates an
entire room or area. Decorative ceiling fans, which often include
several lights, are popular home decor accents. Simple ceiling
light fixtures are best suited for utility areas in which atmosphere is
not an issue.
Wall lights, or sconces, are mounted on the wall and create soft
ambient light and subtle background lighting. Wall lights can be
directional or they can emit light all around.
Table lamps provide local light that is warm, cozy, and intimate, and
also provide focal points throughout a room. Table lamps comprise
a base or stand that supports the bulb holder and bulb, and have a cord
that delivers power to the source. The bulb is shaded, and the
shade itself is what controls the distribution of the light.
A floor lamp comprises a stand that supports the bulb holder and
bulb, which is shaded to distribute light. Like table lamps,
floor lamps cast a warm, ambient, cozy glow, and are also good for
delivering local light to a couch or chair. The shape and
thickness of the shade controls the distribution of light.
Task lights, also called work or reading lamps, focus light directly
where it is needed. The light is directional and glare-free.
Most task lights have jointed, sprung arms that are both stable and