Like most people, you probably don't give much thought to interior lighting. As long as the light comes on each time you flip the switch, you're satisfied. But why settle for satisfactory lighting when you can have home lighting that makes just about every household activity easier, more pleasant, and safer? It won't cost much -- and you may even save money in the long run.
Curious? Here are a few home lighting ideas that can help you optimize the lighting in your home.
Zoe Saldana knows her priorities. "Please excuse me," she says politely, returning a moment later and explaining: "I had to finish blow-drying a friend's hair. I'm the stylist to everyone in my life," she laughs. "We are all fabulous women, and I'm so against anyone walking out the door not looking her hottest and best. Every woman should feel great about herself, no matter what, and we have to lead by example."
The actor, 36, certainly does her part. Known for her sophisticated red carpet style,...
Compact fluorescent bulbs are the way to go. If you want to optimize the lighting in your home, compact fluorescent bulbs are the way to go for most applications. Also called compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), these have several advantages over ordinary incandescent light bulbs. In addition to consuming less energy, they last up to 15 times longer; greater longevity means greater convenience and safety (think fewer trips up the ladder to change burned-out bulbs).
Fluorescent bulbs can be tailored to the need. Unlike incandescent bulbs, CFLs come in a range of "color temperatures," from warm (similar to incandescent) to cool (bright bluish-white). Because the light from a bulb with a cool color temperature can approximate daylight, daytime exposure to CFL or tube fluorescent bulbs seems to promote a normal circadian rhythm in older adults (meaning there may be a smaller chance of sleep problems), according to Patricia Rizzo, design program manager at the Lighting Research Center of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. On the flip side, says Rizzo, nighttime exposure to cool fluorescent light may interfere with sleep. She recommends sticking with an incandescent light or a warm CFL for reading in bed and other nighttime activities.
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," says 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." Grosslight says that, for people who are seen mostly in their home, soft-white CFLs work well for applying makeup and shaving.