Fixing Inadequate Lighting

November 01, 2016

A lady complained that her kitchen lighting, “...just doesn’t feel right. When it’s on, I’m cranky to anyone who’s nearby, until I turn it off. I don’t know why, but when those fluorescent lights are on, it just doesn’t feel right.” As I mentioned before, some people are neurologically sensitive to the cycling of fluorescent lighting. This is a good example of how that can manifest. How can this lady solve her problem and make time spent in the kitchen more comfortable and better lit? Get rid of the fluorescent. And the solution is not necessarily an expensive fix. I showed her a great-looking, simple surface mounted fixture that holds four regular sixty watt bulbs. With the new forty three watt halogen bulbs replacing the standard sixty watt, this fixture gives good light and is relatively energy efficient. And she will be able to turn on the light in the kitchen without morphing into an ogre. Total cost? Fixture: $70.00...four halogen bulbs: $ including sales tax: $85.76. Pretty inexpensive facelift for a kitchen...or a laundry room...or any room where a good looking, well performing light is required. Sometimes the solution can be simple and fairly inexpensive.

Another room that bothers my customer is her bathroom. “It has a light over the mirror, but it’s not very good light, and it’s dark in the shower.” Many older homes have inadequate light in the bathrooms. And correcting this problem can be a bit expensive. First, put a light over the tub/shower. Use a vent light combination, so moisture can be removed from the room at the source. Put the vent fan and the light on separate switches, put a dimmer on the light and put a timer on the fan. That will allow you to leave the fan on as you leave the room, better evacuating the moisture. And as for improving the light at the vanity, there are so many possible solutions. The best light for doing make up or shaving is from both sides of the mirror, allowing the light source to address the face evenly. But side lighting is not always an option, in which case, over the mirror lighting is normally used, spreading the source as far as the space will allow. This can be done with wall mounted  track light, a bar type light, a multi-bulb vanity strip, or an elongated fixture with multiple glass globes. Always provide more light than you think you need, and tone it down with a dimmer. This is one area where going into the store and looking at options is a very good idea. Go to the extra trouble and expense to have good bathroom lighting. It’s where most people start and end their day, so spend a bit to have a better day.

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