In staging and interior decorating, one of the most important features of space is the lighting. The type of lighting can and will set the tone for the entire room.
This is why we like to incorporate ambient lighting into the design as a “layer of light.” This type of lighting is usually incandescent, low-wattage lighting in the form of a chandelier, sconce, lantern, or lamp.
You’ll be surprised at the difference upon entering a master bathroom suite, for example, when a small low-watt lamp on the bathroom counter lights the space rather than the more direct, fluorescent or vanity lights from above.
A dimmer feature on a light switch control is there for the purpose of creating ambient lighting.
The ambient layer, also called “fill light,” is non-focal, general illumination. The amount and type of ambient lighting helps establish the basic mood or “ambience” of a space. It does not usually create visual interest. The task layer is dedicated to the principal activities of a space. In rooms where tasks, such as reading or manufacturing predominate, this layer provides visual interest. The focal layer, also called “key light,” is dedicated to illuminating displays in a space. In rooms where displays dominate, this layer creates visual interest. The decorative layer’s primary role is to attract the eye in order to establish or reinforce the architectural design or theme. But decorative lighting may also provide ambient, task, or focal lighting in the process.1
1. Benya, James, (October 11, 2005) The Jewelry of Architecture [Electronic Version]. Architectural Lighting, http://www.archlighting.com