Universal Lighting Design Strategies for 4 Key Home Areas
Anne-Marie Brunet, CKBD, CAPS
Brighten the way for eyes of any age with ambient and task lighting that supports safety and imparts beauty.
Lighting can create drama by accentuating dark areas and creating bright focal points, but as we age, we require more uniform and balanced lighting levels. All rooms — and ages — can benefit from this simple lighting approach: up, down and all around.
1. Entrance Lighting
Many entrances have some natural light, so the goal for this space is to ensure adequate lighting for the evening and those times when the clouds roll in. In this entrance wall sconces add ambience and free up space on the console table, while a ceiling fixture provides a good amount of general lighting. Good
This living room has the full gamut of lighting. The recessed cove lighting brightens the ceiling and reflects light down, a skylight brings in natural light during the day, lighting above the cabinets brightens up an otherwise dark recess, downlighting in the pot lights defines the perimeter of the room and accents the fireplace, and lamps provide general ambience lighting.
This lighting combination provides a more uniform light and is great at reducing glare for added visual comfort.
Light tunnels or solar tubes are an alternative to skylights. They take up less room and are small enough to include in a walk-in pantry, closet or hallway.
2. Hallway Lighting
Sometimes it’s just not possible to add pot lights or a light tunnel in a ceiling. When surface-mounted fixtures are your only option, the placement and quantity of fixtures are key to attaining a balanced lighting level while reducing dark corners.
This hallway combines both recessed and surface-mounted fixtures. This combination creates additional flexibility for night lighting — particularly important for young and old when visiting the bathroom. The ceiling-mounted fixtures or the pot lights could also be triggered by a motion sensor for safe navigation during the night without anyone’s having to remember where the light switch is.
This bridge incorporates linear floor lighting. This is a good example of pathway lighting and visual cueing. This idea can be transferred to a regular hallway using the same lighting type, or you can also use recessed floor lights to create a similar effect. Lights placed closer to the wall and with an etched diffuser should reduce or eliminate any glare.
Wall sconces are another design tool used for visual cueing. Individuals can gauge their location or destination by following the trail of wall sconces. A wall sconce also can be used to mark the entrance of important rooms.
This hallway niche offers a stylish way to add lighting and visual cues. Lighted niches keep the hallway clear of obstruction because the light is in the wall instead of protruding. It also gives the hallway a bit of flair at a time when universal design can be thought of as sterile and institutional.
Creating a focal point at the end of a long hallway can help an individual of any age to gauge distance and offers a cue to an upcoming transition. Lighting that focal point increases the visual cueing and adds another lighting layer for ambience.
3. Task Lighting
Task lighting isn’t just for kitchens — focused lights are paramount wherever any task is performed. This laundry and crafts room exemplifies this with task lighting in pendants at the island, undercabinet lighting for the countertops and a good amount of natural light from the window.
4. Closet Lighting
As we age, finding and distinguishing
Lighting is included throughout the cabinetry interior of this closet. It creates not only a more uniform lighting