What is Ambient Lighting?

When creating a lighting scheme for a home, there are thousands upon thousands of different styles and types of light fixtures to choose from. Some manufacturers even label light fixtures as ‘task,’ ‘general,’ ‘outdoor,’ ‘accent’ or ‘ambient.’ However, this leaves many homeowners stumped: what is ambient lighting and can I use an ambient light fixture for something other than its intended use?

What is Ambient Lighting?

Ambient Lighting

Simply put, ambient lighting is similar to general lighting but with a twist. In the lighting world, ambient refers to a hidden source of light that still manages to create a nice, ambient glow in a room. However, the term ‘hidden’ refers to the bulb itself. For example, chandeliers often feature visible bulbs whereas enclosed, flush-mounted ceiling lights do not show the bulb itself.

Living Room Ambient Lighting

Here’s where things get complicated: ambient lighting can also refer to light fixtures, such as a ceiling light (which is typically used for general lighting) that are on a dimmer switch. By dimming the ceiling light, it now gives off a more glow-like light rather than general light. As noted earlier, since some ceiling lights do not fully conceal the bulbs themselves, not all ceiling lights can also be considered ambient lighting. This can create a bit of confusion.

It should be noted that ambient lighting can also go by a number of additional terms including aesthetic lighting or low-key lighting.

What Are Some Examples of Ambient Light Fixtures and Where Should I Use Them?

Wall Sconces

Perhaps one of the best examples of ambient lighting is the wall sconce. Wall sconces typically conceal their bulbs rather well using various styles of shades. Furthermore, this light fixture produces an even, ambient glow that washes over the room rather than creating general overhead light.

Wall Sconces

Wall sconces are ideal for rooms such as hallways, as these spaces do not require an excessive amount of light but rather just enough light to pass through without bumping into something.

Paper Lantern

Another type of ambient light could include paper or plastic lanterns in which the entire bulb is concealed. These lanterns typically do not produce enough light to be used as a main light source, but they do produce an even glow that is typically expected and desired when looking to create and include ambient lighting in a light scheme.

Ambient Lighting

Ideal locations for ambient lighting include the living room, bedroom, foyers, hallways and corridors. It should be noted that as always, ambient lighting should be mixed with other types of lighting to create an overall light scheme. Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Explore more gorgeous wall sconces and hanging lanterns at Arcadian Lighting and create an ambiance that will warm your home!

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Kristen is an avid design blogger who loves DIY projects. She gets her inspiration from fashion and music. Connect with Kristen, or find more home decor inspiration from Arcadian Home on Google Plus!

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