When we landed in Texas, it was June. Honestly, I thought they made a mistake and took us to Iraq. The heat was crazy as we existed the plane and the sun was blinding. We weren’t in Texas but a few days and I started feeling sick. When I went to the doctor he asked where we had moved from, I told him Germany. He decided to do some blood work and learned that I was feeling so bad because of the sun. REALLY-the sun was making me sick! I have never heard of such a thing. Sunlight to be exact, he said. With my hot flashes, I was sure he meant the heat from the sun, but no he meant the light. He then schooled me on the effects of light on our bodies.
I learned there is a whole psychology of lighting and how our emotions and bodies react to it. Who knew. Germany doesn’t get much sun yearly. Apparently, coming from a country like Germany to a state where the sunlight engulfs you almost 90% of the year, it can make you sick. Just shows too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing.
Now, I work with light every day in photography and filming. I make a living using lighting. I know how important and amazing different lights and lighting techniques are. But I never knew the effects of lights on our psyche all the way to our cellule level. It is a thing, really.
So, after being schooled and doing some research on my own, I learned that the types of lights you choose for your house is important. Restaurants intentionally set the mood using this lighting psychology, so why should we not in our homes?
Military housing is not known for beautiful open floor plans with big bay windows, that allow large amounts of sunlight- which is the best kind of light source there is. Natural – God created – light is always the preferred way to go. So, what can we do in houses where natural light is not prevalent?
Mix-lighting! It is a must!
Ambient Lighting is the most general lighting. It’s basic and easy to do. Most rentals (including military housing) are most likely going to be covered in it. You can do this type of lighting with chandeliers, ceiling or wall-mount fixtures, track or recessed lights and table and floor lamps. This type of lighting to your foundation…you will build most of your other light types on this type of lighting. According to the American Lighting Association, ambient lighting provides an area with overall illumination.
Task lighting is important, why… well because it is your bright lights. Studies have shown the brighter the lights the more intense your emotions are. Therefore, if you are in a happy-go-lucky mood then you are going to be really-happy-go-lucky. If you are feeling-sexy-needing-some-hubby-alone-time then you are going to REALLY…get the point. You can achieve this lighting technique by track lighting, pendant lighting, specialty lighting, vanity lights, and floor, table and desk lamps. Task lighting helps you perform specific tasks.
Accent Lighting is another type of lighting that is used. This is the kind of lighting that will help you highlight the positive things in your home. You can highlight houseplants, your favorite paintings, the special sculpture (you bought from Italy), or your favorite spot in a room. The important thing to remember about accent lighting is that it is NOT to be used as the focal point in a room. It should be about three times the general illumination level. You can get this by using track lighting the right way, chandeliers with dimmer switches, over-and specialty lighting, and wall sconces.
A great solution for accent lighting is to use battery powered light fixtures like this LED battery operated picture light with remote control.
Living in houses (and apartments) I don’t actually own and moving every three or so years, the one thing I have learned is; NEVER be afraid to change things up a little. Just because the housing department put in that awful plain-jane light fixture, doesn’t mean you have to keep it there. I always have a box labeled “original house stuff”, in this box I have shower heads, knobs, lighting fixtures, and whatever else I want to change. I don’t get rid of it, I tuck it away and when the time comes to move again I pull it out and put all the original stuff back up. No harm, no foul. I also invest in beautiful lamps. I invest in lamps for every room, yes even the kitchen. There are some great battery saving efficient light sources out there…look around. This kind of investment will never be useless. Lamps even do great at yard sales if you get tired of them and want to change things up a little. I have used my lamps in every place lived from the U.S. to the over-seas. In my family lamps are even something that is handed down to you…my grandmother gave me her lamps.
The key is don’t be afraid to invest in your home. Lighting in the home is huge and can really change the mood of the house. No matter how short lived “home” is, enjoy it, lighting and all. Caution: when changing your lights…make sure not to lite yourself up (maybe a sad joke, put I did make you smile -_-).