Imagine what would happen if the sun suddenly disappeared. We’d lose our source of heat and our daily dose of light. Our food system would collapse- without the sun there are no plants, without plants there are no animals, and without plants and animals there is no food. Light is that essential.
But our dependence on light goes beyond food. If you are blessed with sight, you are only able to see things when light is present. Light allows us to see our friends and family, our food, our books, and into our sock drawers. We use it from the moment we wake to the moment we at last drift off to sleep. We even let colored lights tell us when to stop and when to go on our drive to work.
Why is this important? Unfortunately, light is one of the last things planned for our homes, and often one of the first to get cut when money is tight. The primary goal of typical lighting is to get the cheapest possible light that more-or-less allows us to sort our junk mail at the kitchen table. But light can be so very much more in our homes- it can help us relax in the evening, invigorate us in the morning, and facilitate our every task throughout the day- if we think about lighting deliberately.
Most of us would rather eat dinner in a nice restaurant than under the canopy at a gas station. There’s more light at the gas station- but more isn’t necessarily better. Somehow, however, lighting in our own dining rooms is often more like a gas station than a good restaurant. If you find yourself not wanting to spend any time in your dining room, kitchen, living room, or bedroom, then you might need to improve your lighting.
I am inspired by the incredible beauty of natural light- by the gently cool dawning of a new day, by warm sunshine streaming through a canopy of pale green leaves, by the cobalt blue of a snowy winter evening. Natural light can be the best possible light- and not just because it is free. But what happens when you get home from work in December and the sun set an hour ago? What happens when a cloudy day leaves your home feeling dark and somber?
In those moments, I am drawn to the most simple forms of light we create for our own comfort- to the wavering flame of candles at dinner, to the steady warm glow of an oil lamp on the porch, to the energy of a dancing campfire or crackling hearth. Those feelings can be captured without open flame, if one only knows how.
There are textbooks for lighting design- heavy expensive tomes filled with complicated mathematical equations, confusing terms, and obsessive detail. These books might be useful for a professional designer, but not for the typical homeowner like most of my friends and family. You need to know everything in those books to serve as the design consultant for houses with budgets in excess of five million dollars. But most of us don’t live that way. Most of us figure we cannot afford to hire a lighting designer.
Unlimited budgets are fun, but this blog is for those who prefer quality over quantity. This blog is more than just a training manual; it is a new way of approaching light.
Good lighting in your home need not be rocket science, and it need not be ridiculously expensive. You can make big improvements with the purchase of a few correctly-scaled table lamps, and you can get even better results when lighting is integrated room-by-room. Instead of spending $2,000 on a beautiful pendant for a seldom-used formal dining room, using the money to buy 15 inexpensive lights and a few dimmers can make the spaces you use regularly so inviting that dinner guests want to stay longer. New posts will be full of practical solutions, tips, and useful information to help guide the transformation of your home to a comforting oasis.
Getting the most out of the essential element of light so that you can live a better life is what this blog is all about.