What Is The Best Lighting For Your Home?

What Is The Best Lighting For Your Home?

Here are a few home lighting ideas that can help you optimize the lighting in your home.

Compact fluorescent bulbs are the way to go.

For most uses, compact fluorescent bulbs are the way to go if you wish to improve the lighting in your home. These have several advantages over ordinary incandescent light bulbs, also called compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). These last up to 15 times longer as well as consuming less energy; greater longevity means greater comfort and protection (think fewer trips up the ladder to change the burned-out bulbs).

Fluorescent bulbs can be tailored to the need.

Unlike incandescent bulbs, CFLs come from warm (similar to incandescent) to cool (bright bluish-white) in a range of “color temperatures." Since light from a lamp with a cool color temperature may mimic daylight, daytime exposure to CFL or tube fluorescent bulbs tends to encourage normal circadian rhythm in older adults (meaning sleep problems may be less likely).

CFLs may also be better for applying makeup and shaving.

“For women who work in an office environment and for light-skinned men, a bright-white CFL is best," as stated by Jane Grosslight, the Tallahassee, Fla.–based author of several books on lighting design, including Energy-Efficient Daylighting and Electric Lighting Techniques. “Office environments are lighted with bright-white fluorescents, and men find that bright white increases the contrast between their skin and their whiskers." according to Grosslight, soft-white CFLs fit well for people mostly seen at home while applying makeup and shaving.

More the one light source may be better.

People often assume a single overhead light is capable of illuminating a whole house. “My cardinal rule is that more than one light source is needed for all but the smallest rooms," says Grosslight. Multiple sources of light help balance the light in a room, reducing shadows and glare. One good strategy is to combine a ceiling fixture with a lamp projecting upward onto the ceiling; for example, a CFL-equipped torchiere for a bedroom or living room, and inexpensive linear fluorescents atop kitchen cabinets.

Task lighting is essential.

It is generally a good idea, in addition to overhead and “up" lighting, to have task lights to direct light precisely where it is required for reading, cooking and doing things you like. Get a fixture with a shielded bulb— or place the light so that the bulb is out of your line of sight to reduce glare.

If you like reading in bed but are worried about keeping your partner awake, consider a dual light fixture above the headboard base. Such a fixture also works better than having one lamp on either side of the bed by allowing light to be guided only toward your side of the bed. Make sure the shade is opaque, so other areas of the bedroom are not illuminated by the sun.

Backup lights can help keep you safe.

One flashlight is good for dealing with power outages but more is better. “Ideally you want a pair of LED flashlights," Rizzo says. “They're longer-lived than flashlights with incandescent bulbs." Getting emergency lights operated by the battery is also a good idea.

Nightlights can help — sometimes.

Sleeping in total darkness is safest, experts say, because light exposure will restrict the production of the sleep hormone melatonin in your body. When you wake up at night and need to get out of bed, some strategically placed warm-colored nightlights will help— but the light they're giving off should be dim. You could have one by the door of your bedroom, another by the toilet, one in the hallway, etc. Your goal should be to see well enough to avoid hazards, without a bright light turning on.

For outdoor security lighting, less is often more.

You can feel safe from assailants by a very bright outdoor light, but experts say it can potentially compromise your health. How? By having your night vision interfere. Best to have a dim light— say, a 25-to 40-watt incandescent bulb— so that your eyes can make things out in dark areas of your yard, where an intruder may be hidden. Make sure that the light is protected so glare isn't a problem.

Motion-activated lights can help prevent burglaries but be aware that they can be set off by pets and other animals as well as by burglars. Outer stairs and other potential hazards should be lit at night.

Light-emitting diode (LED) lights will supplant incandescent and CFLs in the not-too-distant future. LED bulbs are consuming less energy than even fluorescent bulbs. But for now, LEDs are deemed too expensive for widespread residential use.

Ready for Your Home Energy Audit?

At Frontline Electrical Services we love helping our customers feel safe and secure in their homes. To have your home’s wiring checked or to receive your free home energy consult and you are in the Benicia, Walnut Creek or  Fairfield, California or surrounding areas, contact us today at 800-945-0268 (here is a map to our location) and we’ll have one of our certified specialist analyze your electricity usage and give you the information you need to make sure your home is the most energy-efficient it can be!