|November/ December 05|
Improve Your Home Lighting
Marsha Alexander, Housing and
Environmental Design Specialist
As we age, our vision changes. What we could see at 30 isn't what we can
see at 50, 60 and 70. Often, more light is needed to see properly. A
common complaint is that there isn't enough lighting in and around the
house to be effective or practical. Sometimes lighting issues can
produce depth perception problems leading to injuries.
Lighting should be a balance of efficiency and economy. The light source, its placement, the fixture in which it is used and the reflective qualities of the surrounding area are all important. You can have the right amount of watts and still have inadequate illumination. Any one or a combination of the following factors can cause problems:
nPoor placement of light fixture
n Poor fixture choice
n Wrong size or type bulb
n Poor diffusion
n Dirty bulbs
n Low reflective qualities of items in the surrounding area
Take a look at the room at different times during the day. Use
natural light and the natural heating to your best advantage. If you
build or remodel a room, design the size and location of windows to take
advantage of the sun.
Have you ever had the experience of selecting a carpet color that looked wonderful under the cool fluorescent lights at the store only to bring it home and find it isn’t what you wanted at all? This happens because of the different effects lighting has on color.
Cool, white light accents cool colors, while the warm incandescent lighting most of us have in our homes flatters skin tones, accentuates warm colors, tones down cool colors and tends to unify objects. Cool light expands space, produces a crisp atmosphere and tends to make individual objects stand out.
Use a mixture of lighting techniques for the best effects: good color accuracy, softness, diffusion and highlights. Most of us use incandescent lamps (bulbs) as the most common source of home lighting. However, incandescent bulbs waste more energy than fluorescent bulbs.
When possible, use compact, fluorescent bulbs for general lighting. For task and accent lighting consider incandescent bulbs, which include halogen bulbs. Halogen lamps give a great deal of light with little wattage, but they are hot and can be a fire hazard if not used correctly. Often incandescent lamps are the most effective for accent and task lighting.
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|Kris Jenkins firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Environmental Sciencs
Last revised: 03/18/09