Fixture Upper: Types of Lighting Fixtures
31st Jul 2018
Blow minds at your next dinner party with your encyclopedic knowledge of different lighting fixture styles.
Architectural lighting refers to lighting systems that are integrated into our homes and strategically designed to fill a need. There are three basic types of architectural lighting—cove, soffit, and valance.
Cove: Located on a ledge, shelf, or recess located high on a wall, directing light upward and allowing it to bounce off of the ceiling or upper wall.
Soffit: Located in a soffit (surprise!) or cornice near the ceiling, allowing light to radiate downward, illuminating the wall.
Valance: A valance is a horizontal shield, so it stands to reason that this type of lighting includes a light source within the valance. It allows the light to radiate upwards and downwards.
Recessed lighting is installed above the ceiling, so that the opening of the light source is flush with the ceiling. Providing a straight line of light, it’s ideal as task, ambient, or accent lighting.
Track lighting is generally installed on a “track” that’s mounted on a wall or ceiling. The lamp heads are adjustable, making this ideal for accent or task lighting.
Undercabinet lighting makes life easier in the kitchen. This popular task lighting generally uses LED tubes and is installed under cabinets, offering additional light to work by.
Pendant lights are suspended from the ceiling, and you’ll usually find them casting down light over tables, kitchen islands, and anywhere that has both ambient and task lighting needs.
Chandeliers are also suspended from the ceiling, generally over tables. However, unlike pendant lights, chandeliers cast their light upwards, providing an ambient glow.
Ceiling fixtures are mounted directly onto the ceiling, offering ambient light through a covering lens or shade.
Wall sconces are smaller fixtures that are mounted to the surface of a wall and covered with shades. They offer ambient or accent lighting.
Desk, Floor, and Table Lamps are mobile, versatile light sources that can go where you need them, offering direct down light that’s perfect for task or general lighting.
Your couch is plush, your bed is soft, your kitchen counters are the perfect height—when it comes to ergonomics, we often think about the things we visually touch, but we’re missing out on something important: visual comfort. Ergonomic lighting means light so right you don’t even need to think about it. Here’s how to get it.
Know Your Place: You have different lighting needs for different areas, so first decide what works best in each space - ambient/general, task, or accent lighting. Knowing what you’ll do will help you light the space in a way that works.
Find the Middle Ground: Bright light will make you squint, dim light will make you strain. Opt for a middle ground.
Adjust Your Perspective: A dimmer switch makes your light source more versatile—adjust it throughout the day as your needs change, in order to optimize your experience.
Be On Top of Bulbs: Replace dimming/dead bulbs as often as you need to. (Tip: LED bulbs have a longer life cycle than their incandescent counterparts.) Avoid products that don’t offer a warranty. If you invest in an LED fixture and you’re not covered by a warranty, you’ve lost everything you would have saved-- and then some!
Clear Your Conscience (And Your Fixtures): Clean fixtures offer the best light, so start check your FLOS manual for instructions on cleaning your piece.
Let There Be (More) Light: Add light where you need it—several sources, with a mix of downlighting and uplighting is best. Focus on distribution, and make sure light is evenly placed in an area.
Go Pro: Hiring a lighting designer is a great way to ensure that optimal light levels are achieved throughout interior spaces.
Get Mellow Yellow: In general, a yellow toned light hue is easier on eyes.
Take Your Temperature: Check out our guide to CRI here
Get Rid of Glare: Glare is a visual impairment that occurs when an intense and concentrated light source is directly visible. Its effects can be distracting, like when a lamp’s reflection is on your computer screen, or downright dangerous, like when the sun interferes with your ability to drive.