or illumination is the deliberate use of light to achieve practical or aesthetic effects.
Daylighting (using windows, skylights, or light shelves) is sometimes used as the main source of light during daytime in buildings. This can save energy in place of using artificial lighting, which represents a major component of energy consumption in buildings. Proper lighting can enhance task performance, improve the appearance of an area, or have positive psychological effects on occupants.
Forms of lighting
which like most other uplighting is indirect. This is often done with fluorescent lighting (first available at the 1939 World’s Fair) or rope light, occasionally with neon lighting, and recently with LED strip lighting. It is a form of backlighting.
or close to wall lighting can be general or a decorative wall-wash, sometimes used to bring out texture (like stucco or plaster) on a wall, though this may also show its defects as well. The effect depends heavily on the exact type of lighting source used.
(often called “pot lights” in Canada, “can lights” or ‘high hats” in the US) is popular, with fixtures mounted into the ceiling structure so as to appear flush with it. These downlights can use narrow beam spotlights, or wider-angle floodlights, both of which are bulbs having their own reflectors. There are also downlights with internal reflectors designed to accept common ‘A’ lamps (light bulbs) which are generally less costly than reflector lamps. Downlights can be incandescent, fluorescent, HID (high intensity discharge) or LED.
Invented by Lightolier, was popular at one period of time because it was much easier to install than recessed lighting, and individual fixtures are decorative and can be easily aimed at a wall. It has regained some popularity recently in low-voltage tracks, which often look nothing like their predecessors because they do not have the safety issues that line-voltage systems have, and are therefore less bulky and more ornamental in themselves. A master transformer feeds all of the fixtures on the track or rod with 12 or 24 volts, instead of each light fixture having its own line-to-low voltage transformer. There are traditional spots and floods, as well as other small hanging fixtures. A modified version of this is cable lighting, where lights are hung from or clipped to bare metal cables under tension.
is a wall-mounted fixture, particularly one that shines up and sometimes down as well. A torchère is an uplight intended for ambient lighting. It is typically a floor lamp but may be wall-mounted like a sconce. Further interior light fixtures include chandeliers, pendant lights, ceiling fans with lights, close-to-ceiling or flush lights, and various types of lamps
The portable or table lamp
is probably the most common fixture, found in many homes and offices. The standard lamp and shade that sits on a table is general lighting, while the desk lamp is considered task lighting. Magnifier lamps are also task lighting.
In a movie theater, steps in the aisles are usually marked with a row of small lights for convenience and safety, when the film has started and the other lights are off. Traditionally made up of small low wattage, low-voltage lamps in a track or translucent tube, these are rapidly being replaced with LED based versions.
Street Lights are used to light roadways and walkways at night. Some manufacturers are designing LED and photovoltaic luminaries to provide an energy-efficient alternative to traditional street light fixtures.
are used to illuminate outdoor playing fields or work zones during nighttime.
Floodlights can be used to illuminate work zones or outdoor playing fields during nighttime hours. The most common type of floodlights are metal halide and high pressure sodium lights.
are positioned at the intersection of two roads to aid in navigation.
can be used along roadways in urban areas, or behind homes or commercial facilities. These are extremely bright lights used to deter crime. Security lights may include floodlights and be activated with PIR switches that detect moving heat sources in darkness.
can be used outside to illuminate and signal the entrance to a property. These lights are installed for safety, security, and for decoration.
Underwater accent lighting
is also used for koi ponds, fountains, swimming pools and the like.
are most often used to attract attention rather than to illuminate.