Mommy After Midnight

What mommies do after everyone else has gone to bed.

The Importance of Good Lighting

I have moved three times in my six years of marriage, and will be moving a fourth time this summer. These moves have taught us a lot about what we want in a home when we finally settle down.

  • Our first home taught us that we want a relatively flat yard, because mowing hills is a pain.
  • Scratch that. Our first home taught us that we would rather pay someone to mow than do it ourselves.
  • Our second home taught us that we need a dishwasher.
  • Our third home taught us that we have too much stuff. (Oh, the joys of apartment-living.)
  • All of our homes have taught us that good lighting is a must.

On days like today, I’m reminded just how important it is to have good lighting. Even with the blinds open in the middle of the day, everything is a dull gray. I feel a little sluggish and depressed.

Jealously, I look at pictures of other people’s homes on the internet. “Well of course your kitchen remodel looks so good – have you noticed how glorious your windows are?!” “I know you’re very pleased with your fireplace mantle decorations, but just so you know, it’s the track lighting above it that makes it work.” And so on and so forth.

Lighting is so important, and yet so easy to overlook. It can boost your mood and make a space look more inviting. A well-lit room gets used. A poorly-lit room gets ignored.

The main problem with the places we have lived is that the general lighting is lacking, but I’m discovering that my own accent and task lighting isn’t up to snuff either. I don’t know if I really recognized the difference between them until now. It made me think that, surely, I’m not the only one who didn’t know, so I want to share what little I have learned. Here is a look at three types of lighting and how to use them to their fullest potential.

General Lighting

General lighting is the overall light. It’s that first switch you flip when you enter a room. It isn’t enough going to illuminate everything in the room, but it should be enough to keep you from fumbling around. General lighting can be enhanced with light paint colors on the walls, which reflect the light and make a room seem brighter. To add ambiance to general lighting, install dimmer switches.

Accent Lighting

If general lighting is the first light you turn on, accent lighting might be considered the second light – the “why we came into this room in the first place” light. Typically it is used to highlight bookshelves, interesting architecture, and art hanging on the walls. These lights can get hot in a hurry, so it’s best to LEDs, which produce less heat. In fact, in the image I used, all of the lighting is with LEDs. I didn’t realize how far we had come since the early days of the harsh blue light-emitting diode. (And now you know what LED stands for.)

Task Lighting

Task lighting is more utilitarian than accent lighting, but it can still be lovely. Desk lamps, table lamps, and bedside lamps all have the ability to be functional and attractive. Since they only need to light a small area, use lower wattage bulbs to save electricity.


Do you have any rooms that could benefit from better lighting? Have some tips to brighten a room? Connect with me and other moms on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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This entry was posted on January 25, 2013 by in Home and tagged , .

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