Take a look at a Caravaggio painting. Any of his paintings. You will soon notice that light plays an important if not crucial part of his art. “The master of light”, as some would call him, Caravaggio was one of the first artists to fully understand the great power that a focused streak of light can offer.
Cut to the modern times, and accent lighting is everywhere – interior designers swear by it, artists use it abundantly in their exhibitions, and furniture-selling companies have whole sections dedicated to accent lighting.
Accent lighting is a type of focused light that is used to highlight the beauty of certain objects or spaces, by directing a focused stream of light towards them. People use it to point the viewer’s attention to a painting, picture, house plant, bookshelf, sculpture, or just a really nice piece of furniture – you name it. Some are even bold enough to use to decorate an empty wall, rather than accentuating an object. In short, accent lighting is a subtype of focused lighting, but while focused lighting serves some practical purposes, accent lighting is there to make everything prettier.
Know What to Look For
Due to its (mostly) decorative nature, this type of lighting generally requires a larger amount of light bulbs to achieve the desired effect. Precisely because of that, when brightening-up your home, you might want to get LED accent lights – they have the greatest longevity and almost an infinite amount of variation in different tones and shapes they offer.
As mentioned above, look for an extremely focused light. A typical ambiance bulb that diffuses the light in every direction just won’t do. Instead, opt for a more focused beam, with the light shining on the angle of 50° at best. This is another reason in favor of LED lights, given that the amount of stray light they give off is unsubstantial compared to other types of lights.
Accent Lighting Techniques
There are 4 major accent lighting techniques you need to know about. Each one has its own specific use and when done correctly, the end result of these techniques is simply breathtaking.
Perhaps one of the most common accent lighting techniques, display lighting is used when you want to make an object stand out from the rest of the room. Don’t think you should only highlight fancy things in your room – on the contrary, this technique can make even the most mundane objects look like art!
If you’re proud of the library you’ve built over time and you love the warmth emanating from books, feel free to showcase your bookshelf with some Tolstoy-focused lights.
Light is more appealing if you don’t see its source. It gives off a dose of mysteriousness and ambiance that will most certainly raise the overall stylishness of your home. To achieve this, simply place the light behind an object to give it the illusion of depth. This is best achieved by using LED strip lights. If you need some LED accent lighting ideas for your home, take a look at these amazing backlight effects!
Mirrors are one of those objects that seem like they were made for backlighting. The soft warm white tones that emanate from each side of the mirror will make both you and your bathroom look heavenly! You should also consider backlighting your TV. It’s entertaining enough even without the lights, but that’s not to say you can’t make the whole experience even more fun!
To achieve this effects, the only thing you should do is tape LED strips behind the TV (or mirror) edges – they will give off a soft glow without giving out their exact location!
Backlighting is also an amazing and practical way to light up your closet. Not only will it make it easier for you to find just the right pair of socks, but it’ll make the fabric and the layout of your closet look stunning when you slide the door open.
Don’t forget to give some TRL to your cupboards as well! Seriously, who would resist the temptation of enjoying an evening glass of wine with your small wine collection and glasses all sparkly?
If you’re not a fan of light coming down at you – we hear you! Not only can it become tiresome for the eyes, but the direct downward light doesn’t exactly scream “elegant” now, does it? That’s why you can experiment with numerous ways of lighting up your rooms by pointing the lights upward!
The soft, elegant glow that uplighting provides is perfect to wind down after a hard day at work. You’ll be sold by how unobtrusive, yet effective it is!
This is the last accent lighting technique we’ll cover, and it’s the hardest one to do right. The idea of wall-washing is to strategically place the light so as to cast a beam to a part of the wall, leaving the other part shadowed. This creates a mesmerizing contrast and adds depth to the whole room. If done right, it can even serve as a wall decoration. However, because you don’t have a specific object to highlight, this technique requires lots of imagination and time. Chances are, it’s going to be a trial-and-error process, but trust us – the result will be oh so worth it.
If we’ve just scared you and made it seem like wall-washing is too complicated, don’t worry – you can dip your toes into your first wall-washing project and achieve a stunning effect by adding just two strategically placed LED lights to surround your door, for instance.
The Possibilities Are Endless
While accent lights have an aesthetical role to fulfill most of the time, there are some utterly practical ways to put them to use. The kitchen, for example, if one of the rooms, where families tend to, spent a lot of time, regardless of the living room (we think this has to do with the perks of being close to the fridge, but we’re not quite sure). Go ahead and put some much-needed lights beneath your cupboards, and create an always-lit workspace. This will help you be more focused on your work, but will also add a layer of charm to your kitchen.
Brightening up your home doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With some cheap and durable LED lights and a little imagination, you won’t believe the difference a well-placed accent light can make.