“When you walk into a room and it seems bright, open, and you can’t really tell what source it’s coming from, that’s what I would call ambient light,” says one of our employees, “it fills in the spaces where overhead or main lights can’t reach, and its slightly softer.”

We can’t go too much further into that description without talking about it’s opposite; direct light. Direct lighting is where there is one main source of light and it can cause the room to look dark by comparison, give it a clinical feeling, or make it look uneven in terms of visibility.

Contrary to that, when we add ambient lighting, the room looks fuller, brighter, and evenly lit across all vertical layers of the room. In the darker picture to the right, while the fixture allows the ceiling to provide a bounce surface for the light, it hardly makes it down far enough to provide the kind of brightness you want in an office or board room–or anywhere really.

We always suggest using more than one type of lighting in a room; direct lighting helps to get the majority of the space lit, but adding ambient light changes what you can do in the space, making it more functional in most cases, and can make the area more inviting to be in (regardless of the task).

We also suggest that going all LED will not only save money, but will prove to be the longest lasting, greenest option in all residential, commercial, or business spaces. (You’ll need fewer bulbs as a whole with LED, too; their power and brightness means less is more!)

(Besides, Bulb Daddy can make many of our LED lights dimmable right here in-house if you’re not sure of the brightness level you want in such a powerful type of light. If you need or want a change, our store is outfitted with a light workshop, just let us know; customization of your lighting is just as important as the right type.)

For example, the picture above is an office with direct light (the black bars) being supplemented with daylight from the windows, and it also has a row of recessed can lights which can be turned on when it gets darker outside. Both of these sources of ambient light help to make full visual use of the space, and prevent it from feeling too closed-in or callous. Visual depth in a space is key to utilizing it to its full potential.

Other sources of ambient light include floor lamps placed in strategic dark corners to maximize the brightness over all and take full advantage of walls and ceilings if the fixture faces up. If the fixture requires a lamp shade, that’s a great way to visually lengthen the room (notice the long projections of light a shade casts off surfaces) and can also visually divide a space for sleep like in the picture.

Ambient light serves an almost supplementary purpose, but it is a must when designing a room. Light affects all aspects of design; from color showing up washed out or off-tint, to textures not being as effective as they could, to seating and spaces being less functional or inviting, light is at the center of it all.

Bulb Daddy has over 50 years of experience in lighting and our friendly, helpful team of green energy experts is excited to help you find the affordable LED solutions to your project.

Still not sure what’s Ambient Light and what’s not? That’s really okay! We have a Pinterest board dedicated to just that right here, or by using our Pinterest Code below!

Also, be sure to click over to our article on Accent light for more great ways to use your lights!

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