Friday, April 26, 2013

Illumination Matters: Making Your Home More Pleasant by Upgrading Your Lighting

Whether you're completely remodeling your home or simply want to create a “homier,” more pleasant atmosphere, there is one easy way to make your space more inviting: upgrade your lighting. It might be the last thing you think about, but the way a room is lit has a profound impact on a person's mood. A bedroom that's too brightly lit can make it difficult to fall asleep, even after the lights are turned off. Conversely, reading in a poorly lit den can lead to eye strain and eventually the need for corrective lenses. If you're ready to completely change your mood or improve your sleep patterns, here are a few ways to make your experience at home even more pleasant by upgrading your lighting. 

Where Soft Light Is Best
Softer light works best in the rooms where you basically spend the majority of your time, including the living room, den and your bedrooms. The softer lighting allows you to relax and doesn't disrupt any activities that are taking place, including watching television or playing a game of solitaire on your laptop. Softer overhead lighting is the best idea because it allows you to flood the space with gentler illumination. However, there are instances when you will require brighter illumination, such as when reading or doing a crossword puzzle. In these instances, consider placing a desk or floor lamp near your bed or couch. You can enjoy your steamy romance novel or an epic adventure without disrupting anyone else.

Consider Bright Light 
There are two rooms, however, where it's generally best to illuminate the space more brightly: the kitchen and bathroom. The reason is quite simple: You'll need adequate light to safely perform any necessary duties. For instance, have you ever tried to peel a carrot or expertly slice bok choy in a poorly lit kitchen? What happened the last time you tried to shave in a bathroom in softer lighting? Chances are the outcome of both these scenarios wasn't good, which is why it's always the best option to choose bright overhead illumination in both the kitchen and bathroom. 

Create a Lighting Plan 
Now that you've determined the ideal amount of illumination for each room of your home, it' time to construct a lighting plan. Basically, a lighting plan helps you determine where to install fixtures or place lamps based upon the room's layout. For example, let's say your living room is quite large. You've determined one end of the room is strictly for watching television, while the other end is ideal for playing boardgames or curling up with a great novel. In this instance, softer overhead lighting throughout the room allows everyone to comfortably enjoy whatever they're doing. Providing additional illumination through floor or desk lamps, however, allows individuals on one end of the room to enjoy a book or play a game of cards without disrupting others engrossed in their favorite television show. 

Nightlights Aren't Just for Kids Anymore 
Fear of the dark isn't a new phenomenon, which is why so many parents install trusty nightlights in their children’s bedrooms. You might have conquered that particular fear years ago, but this doesn't mean you still wouldn't benefit from subtle illumination throughout the home. Installing nightlights in the bathroom, hallways and the master bedroom allows you to safely walk through the home without disrupting anyone by flipping on a stark overhead light or lamp. 

Outdoor Lighting 
Outdoor lighting serves two basic purposes: increasing your home's aesthetic appeal while warding off potential vandals or burglars. If you're concerned with your home's safety, consider installing motion sensing lights around your yard's perimeter. Uplighting also helps illuminate and draw attention to the striking architectural features of your home's exterior. Whatever you choose, just remember to position the lights thoughtfully to avoid accidentally lighting up your neighbor's bedroom in the middle of the night. 

From installing the ideal bathroom lighting to making sure your home is safe and protected, proper illumination can and will make your life much easier. In the end, just remember that the bathroom and kitchen need to remain well-lit, while the lighting in the bedrooms and living room should remain more subtle. 

About the Author: Heather Richards is a columnist and interior designer. Heather recently installed antique light fixtures throughout her home and is using them to illuminate every room properly.
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