shutterstock_8570896When natural lighting is insufficient, or when the sun goes down, artificial lighting steps in to brighten our lives.

If you’re like me, you prefer natural lighting, which is why I’m a fan of large windows. And complementing that natural light with artificial lighting is often the best way to perfectly light a home. I find it impossible to rely on one or the other and instead resort to a combination of spot, valance, recessed and lamp lighting in my personal space.

Spot lighting is the best way to direct light in the particular direction you want or need it. It gives you complete control of the lighting situation and is perfectly suited for areas in the home where task lighting is required. Spot lighting is often used in kitchens above cooking areas to ensure the surface is well lit for preparation needs, and in offices where focused lighting is required to read, write and perform other tasks.

The most popular form of spot lighting is currently pot lighting, a recessed lighting that is installed into a hollow opening in the ceiling so as not to be intrusive. Recessed lighting concentrates the light in a spot light fashion that can either be very narrow in scope, or a broader floodlight fashion.

Valance lighting, though not as focused as spot lighting, is another great way to light up a particular area. With the ability to distribute light both upwards and downwards, it’s a softer take on artificial lighting that can be accented with beautiful valance fixtures. They normally contain linear fluorescent or incandescent lamps for a softer edge, too.

All of these forms of artificial lighting are often accented with lamp and sconce lighting, which add beauty, style and function to a home. A perfectly placed lamp accents a particular area, piece of art, or furniture, but shouldn’t be intrusive. It is often only turned on when necessary and the rest of the time left as its own little piece of art.

Similarly, well-placed sconces perform a dual role by lighting a small area and adding an architectural feature. These pieces are often chosen based on looks, rather than function, and as such the artificial light emitted from them is minimal, but not without use.

All forms of artificial lighting are an investment, and should be considered carefully before being added to any space.