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Lighting is a tremendously diverse category offering multiple opportunities to improve the function, aesthetics, and ergonomics of a space. Most locales require a mix of lighting typologies—from ambient lighting to task lighting to accent lighting. In general, residences will focus on aesthetics; workspaces will prioritize function; and hospitality venues will require a healthy mix. An effective lighting plan will consider the type, range, and frequency of activities in a given space and develop a strategy accordingly.

Almost always adjustable, accent and track lights are designed to provide a focused beam to accent or highlight an object. Also called “adjustable” or “spot.” The fixture has optics and throws light.

Combining a light fixture with an acoustical material that improves sound quality, acoustical lighting most often features an exterior covering of wool or PET felt with integrated LEDs for a downward projecting lightsource. Many configurations are available—from baffles and beams to domed pendant lights to rings, stars, grids, and other geometric configurations.

The concept behind architectural lighting is that the illumination of a space should match its feel. The lighting should conform to the aesthetic and function of a building and be part of an integrated system. Linear lights provide a streamlined look and an even, comprehensive distribution of light. Suspended systems work well for venues with high ceilings, such as open workspaces, museums, restaurants, and retail.

Chandeliers are the ultimate statement piece. With multiple heads and lamps, they create an impression of classic luxury, though they also appear in modern incarnations with intersecting rings, floral shapes, and asynchronous, other-worldly configurations. Bath and vanity lighting must match the décor while providing targeted, flattering light. Floor and table lamps illuminate a defined space while offering a personal touch.

Luminaire designed to provide both uplight and downlight, sometimes with multiple lamp sources. Also called “up/downlight,” and “ambient.”

Luminaire designed to light an area directly below the fixture. Variable beam distributions/widths. Not adjustable.

High-efficiency, fluorescent luminaire consisting of a strip light with side-mounted reflectors. Also called “shop light.”

There are almost as many lighting accessories as there are types of lights. Ballasts regulate current for proper functioning of fluorescent, HID, and some LED lamps. Dimmer switches enable a desired brightness. “Lamp” is an industry term referring to the actual light source (bulb). Other accessories include installation infrastructure, power supplies, and motion detectors.

Horizontally Oriented. A Luminaire whose dimension along one side is significantly greater than its other dimensions.

Outdoor lighting is available in many of the same designs as indoor lighting, but is built to withstand rain and wear. Outdoor ceiling lights illuminate spaces under the roof of a patio or porch. Outdoor wall lamps, floor lamps, and landscape lighting provide illumination throughout the yard or along a storefront.

Sconces and wall-mounted fixtures provide brightness at a particular location on a wall and marker lights provide targeted illumination of other surfaces or objects for decorative or way-finding purposes.

For venues with specific needs or unorthodox requirements. Canopy lights are mounted to a ceiling, soffit, or overhang for parking garages. Exit/emergency lighting provides illuminated signs for way finding in a potentially dark environment. Teleconference luminaires offer glare control and targeted distribution for maximum visibility.

Luminaire designed specifically for stair/ramp lighting applications, where the luminaire is recessed in the stair riser or an adjacent wall.

Luminaire designed to focus light directly on a work surface, mounted at or very close to the work surface itself. Types include desk lamps, under-cabinet lights, and under-counter lights.

Luminaire designed to provide indirect lighting only. Also called “indirect” or “ambient.”

Luminaire designed to light a wall from the ceiling. Wallwash applications and specialized luminaires include single wall, corner, and double (two opposing walls).