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It seems that one of the last things that people think of when they think about redecorating or home improvement is lighting. And I don’t mean light fixtures – I flipped through pages and pages of lamps when I was remodeling my office and my kitchen. I wanted each to be perfect and match the interior perfectly.

After all, we put so much effort into picking the right paint, furniture, rugs, desks, choosing a color scheme – light fixtures are just a part of the equation. They can be a fashion statement, and a great accent to a room.

But did you ever think that what you put into those lamps affects every single one of the things I just described? If you pick the wrong light bulb you will be disappointed when you go to turn on the lights. Not long ago I went to my mother’s house to have tea. I was looking forward to sitting down with her and gossiping over some cookies – you know, bask in the warm atmosphere of home. But when I got there, something was off. I was irritated and nervous. I felt rushed and uneasy. After sitting at my mom’s table for half an hour and suffering, I realized what it was – the light. It was sharp, almost painfully blue and I felt like I was in an operating room, not an inviting kitchen. When I asked her about it she said “Oh yes. The old light bulb burned out and we were out of the same ones, so I just put in whatever I had laying around. I can’t wait to change it, I’ve had a headache all day!” Sound familiar?

Let’s talk about what kind of light is best for humans, and how to achieve it indoors!

  • Exposure to natural light improves workplace performance. Our bodies crave natural light and having natural sunlight in the workplace positively affects our circadian rhythms and helps us sleep later on, when we should be sleeping.
  • Fluorescent lighting is especially bad (didn’t we all just know this?). It causes strain on the eyes and can actually cause side effects like migraines and depression.
  • Natural light can affect your mood and therefore your productivity.
  • Natural light is between 4200 and 6500 Kelvins
  • When we turn the lights down at night, we get ready for sleep. We should do this with gentle indoor lighting too, and lights that can be adjusted to fit the mood and time of day.

With the advent of LEDs this became easy. Honestly, now that I think about it I don’t know how we survived those fluorescents. And there are a lot of companies, like Dar Lighting that design their products with new possibilities in mind. The latest trend for a while has been bright beautiful pendant lamps that expose the whole light bulb and makes it the focus of the design. Let there be light!

The light that comes from these is, for the lack of a better word, refreshing. It’s not tiring or cumbersome. I have made their White Pendant Lamp the highlight of my kitchen. It illuminates everything as I work with natural light, and my eyes thank me.

Another way to experiment with LEDs is to control the temperature of the light when we want to control the mood. Did you know that different temperatures of light can affect how you see colors in any given room? The same room can look warm, sepia, or cold and winter like. Depending on your color choices, the blues can look more blue and the yellows more yellow.

In the end, I got some LEDs for my mom too. I can’t have her head hurting when I come to visit can I?