Types of Lighting Methods and Where They Work Best


Proper lighting is crucial in an office building or home and plays a significant role in the lighting’s effectiveness and tenants’ comfort. You can classify the best lighting methods according to fixture arrangements and lighting direction or focus. The luminaire or light fixture serves various functions. It should hold and protect the bulb, direct and diffuse light and protect users from electrocution.

Lighting Focus

A fixture’s design can focus light in different ways. If you favor minimalist lighting, it is up to you to decide how to design the fixtures.

·   Direct Lighting

Direct lighting is the most common, and 90-100% of the light emanating from the luminaire shines towards your work surface. Direct lighting has many uses, and the lit area depends a lot on the luminaire’s characteristics. For instance, downward shining light can focus on a small area or spread evenly over a wide area. Sometimes direct lighting may create shadows and glare, and you can adjust. The fixture’s placement or light brightness to get rid of such issues.

·   Semi-direct Lighting

In semi-lighting, 60-90% of the luminaire’s light shines towards your working surface. This type of lighting system often softens the shadows and gives you more lighting. Direct and semi-direct lighting have a lot in common. As with direct lighting, unless you arrange the fixtures properly, shadows and reflection can also be a problem with semi-direct lighting.

·  General Lighting

In general lighting also known as diffused lighting system, light is evenly distributed to a room’s upper and lower areas. General lighting can feel harsh to some people, who may prefer an indirect method.

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·   Semi-Indirect Lighting

In semi-indirect lighting, 60-90% of the luminaire’s light reflects the ceiling. It is essential to have reflective room finishes and ceilings. This type of lighting has a pleasant ambiance and provides ideal reading areas.

·  Indirect Lighting

In indirect lighting, 90-100% of the luminaire’s light shines upwards, then reflects off the ceiling. In this lighting system, the ceiling is the light source and should be evenly lit to give off evenly distributed and diffused light. If you design the lighting system well, only a tiny amount of light will be reflected downwards.

Indirect lighting reduces reflections, direct glare, and shadows. Your fixtures need to be positioned far from the ceiling to prevent too much brightness, yet low enough to for them to distribute light evenly. The fixtures should at least have a stem measuring 

12 inches. Since both the upper wall area and the ceiling are illuminated, you need to have reflective and light-colored surfaces. The ceiling and walls should also be kept clean to prevent dulling of light.

Best Arrangement of Lighting Fixtures

You can arrange fixtures in either:

·  Uniform

Uniform lighting illuminates a whole area at the same level and uses any best lighting focus. Fixtures are typically fixed at maximum height and spaced uniformly with no regard for the location of your working surface. This arrangement works well for open furniture plans or where a lot of movement of equipment, people, or workstations is expected.

·  Non-Uniform

The fixtures are high and near the ceiling in this lighting, but the space in between is not uniform. The fixture placing is determined by the workstations’ location and the job to be done in the illuminated area.

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Most offices work with the uniform best lighting, but under some conditions, illumination can be via non-uniform lighting. An example is when the workstations have a distance of at least 12 feet between them. If the workstations are fixed, consider using non-uniform lighting. In such a scenario, you should fix a prominent area fixture (typically fluorescent) should be fixed over or on the side of the work area. If the fixtures are placed in front of the work area, they might cause reflection and those behind cause shadows.


Lighting in a room is everything, whether in a home or an office. Knowing how to design fixtures will eliminate shadows and glare, which are a deterrent to work and create an uncomfortable ambience.