What to consider
Each room in your house will need different levels of general lighting and task lighting. Consider the activities which take place in each area and how much light you will need for each activity. If you are renovating/rewiring or building new, think about locating electrical boxes for ceiling and wall lights to reduce the number of portable fixtures you will need.
General or ambient lighting is the base level of lighting for the whole room; it should be as even as possible. The light from recessed pots, wall sconces and standing lamps can contribute to the ambient mix. Although using multiple sources for uniform ambient lighting is preferable, the simplest form is a flush or semi-flush mounted fixture in the centre of the ceiling.
Task lighting is usually directional and focuses only on a required area. Consider where you will be working and plan for illumination strong enough for the task. Ergonomically, plan for the most efficient mix of wall, floor and table height switches.
Decorative accent lighting uses appropriate lamping and beam spread to highlight expanses of wall or archtectural details.
Display lighting Wall art can be illuminated from ceiling spots mounted from a canopy or on a rail. When an electrical box is not available in the ceiling, a rail can be wall mounted and spots on telescopic arms angled to light the art. Alternatively, fish-eye spots in recessed ceiling fixtures can be angled to focus on the image. Lights are placed at optimum distance and angle from the art to circumvent reflected glare and fully illuminate the span of the image. Individual picture lights are best hard-wired to avoid visible wire between the picture and the receptacle, although some fixtures are available with a matching cord cover which conceals the wire as it falls behind furniture placed under the art.
Shelf and cabinet lights illuminate china, favourite objects or the spines of books. Elongated picture lights may be utilized at the top of open shelves or strip or puck lights may be hidden if the shelf has a valance.