At Lighting One of Cincinnati, we want our customers to make the best decisions when it comes to their home lighting fixtures. This means showing them a variety of designs and styles, explaining how a light will work within a certain room, and what specific terms mean. In this post, we’ll look at some common lighting terms, and hopefully when you’re done reading it, you will have learned something you didn’t know before you started!

Electrical Terms

Indoor lighting of course cannot work without electricity, and when picking out lights, it’s important to know what certain terms mean. These include:

Amp – a standard unit of measurement for electric current. The term comes for the word “ampere” which comes from Andrè-Marie Ampère, an 18th-19th century French physicist who studied electrodynamics.

Lumen – the amount of light that a fixture produces. With incandescent bulbs, lumens were directly tied to watts, but with new technologies such as LED and CFL lighting, that relationship isn’t as closely connected.

Volt – the standard unit of electrical force between two points in a circuit. Household voltage in the United States is 120 volts. The higher the voltage, the greater the current running through an electrical circuit.

Watt – a standard unit of power. With lighting, a watt is the amount of power that is consumed by a fixture. As we stated above, watts and lumens used to be very closely related, but the wattage rating of a bulb does not indicate how much light is produced (lumens), especially in LED and CFL bulbs.

Design Terms

Now that you know how a fixture draws power and produces light, you can decide where best to put your lamps, ceiling lights, and more. There are three main categories of lighting when it comes to your interior design, and they are:

Accent Lighting – lighting that is used to accent or highlight a certain feature or particular object. These fixtures are often brighter so that they draw attention to a room’s architectural design or a piece of artwork on the wall. Table lamps, wall sconces, and other small fixtures can provide excellent accent light.

Ambient Lighting – the general lighting within a room. Ambient fixtures are intended to provide uniform illumination throughout a room. Ceiling lights, recessed fixtures, and chandeliers can all provide ambient light.

Task Lighting – lighting for a specific purpose, such as reading or working in the kitchen. These fixtures help you complete chores, work on paperwork, etc. Desk lamps and under-cabinet lighting are common examples of task lighting.

When picking out your home lighting, it’s important to keep all of these terms in mind. You want light that’s going to be bright enough (lumens) and that are properly rated for how much power they will use (watts). You’ll also want to consider how your ambient, accent, and task lighting will work together so that a room is fully functional and doesn’t feel too one-dimensional. At Lighting One of Cincinnati, we can help you find the perfect fixtures and explain any terms you don’t know.

We look forward to seeing you soon!