Shed some light on your organizing

How well lit are your rooms? One of the things I love about my home is that all of the rooms get a lot of natural light during the day. And, each room has enough in the way of lamps and light fixtures to make them comfortable to work in at night.

If you have a room that is dark and dreary, it’s going to work against you in your organizing efforts. You can’t see properly — and you may well find yourself avoiding the room, because it’s unpleasant.

The following are ways to address the lack of lighting:

Add some lamps or light fixtures

Determine what kind of light you need in your room — ambient light for sure, and possibly some task light — and then look for lighting to meet those needs.

Consider what kind of light bulbs you want. LEDs are coming way down in cost, so they’re a more attractive answer than they were in the past. They last longer than other light options and require less energy to run. When I put some LEDs in my home, I bought one soft (warm) light bulb and one daylight (cool) bulb to see which I preferred, before buying more. Many LEDs are dimmable, too, which can be really nice.

Rather than adding lamps or light fixtures, maybe all you need to do is replace your light bulbs. Both CFLs and LEDs allow you to get more light out of any given socket. If a socket is rated for 60 watts, for example, you can use a 13.5-watt LED light, which is the equivalent of a 75-watt incandescent, and still be totally safe.

Beside the normal lighting products we all know about, there are products to address specific lighting problems, too. For example, Ikea has a battery-operated LED light for a drawer, which goes on when the drawer is opened.

Add more natural light

If the cost isn’t prohibitive, and if you aren’t facing rental restrictions, consider adding a skylight, a solar tube, or some larger windows. If possible and practical, consider trimming back plants outdoors to allow more light to enter the room.

If you have good windows but privacy is an issue — so you keep the light out with widow coverings — bottom-up shades might work for you. These allow the light to come in at the top of the window. Window films might also be an option.

Repurpose your rooms

If your home office lacks natural light and is causing problems for you and light issues aren’t easily fixable, you may want to re-evaluate where you do your office-type activities. Can rooms be re-assigned, so the home office is relocated and the darker room becomes a room where the lack of natural light is less important to you?

Or could you do office-type activities somewhere else during the day? I’ve seen people do a lot of work at a kitchen or dining room table, in rooms with big windows with gorgeous views. It won’t work for everyone — some people would find the views too distracting — but it works for some. Just be careful about ergonomics if you’re working away from your normal desk.

7 Comments for “Shed some light on your organizing”

  1. posted by adora on

    You can also use mirrors to increase light in a dark room.

    Place a large mirror perpendicular to a window. It will reflect light in an angle which bounce off the adjacent wall. This is how people used to brighten a room prior to electricity.

  2. posted by WilliamB on

    The mirrors are brilliant ideas. Ever wonder why pre-electric candle holders or wall lamps had reflective surfaces? Now you know.

    My home office tends to be gloomy. When I realized that I was avoiding that room and my paperwork, I bought a Cerberus lamp (three heads). When I need to do just a little or something quick, I turn on only one head. When I need to settle in, all three are lit up. This way I can get over the “gloomy” hurdle without increasing my electric bill too much.

    I have task lighting in other areas as well. For example I have a lightweight floor spot with flexible neck in the living room. It’s out of the way most of the time, but when I need to fix something (which I do while watching TV) I can bring the floor lamp over and illuminate my work.

  3. posted by Michelle on

    I have had trouble with CFL lifespan esp. in damp areas. I buy the ones with warranties. I write the date on the ballast of the bulb when I install it, and on the outside of the box. I keep the receipt in the box. When the bulb burns out after 9 months I take it back & get another one. Even without a warranty it helps to see how long they are truly lasting in the various spots. I now have two rooms where I use old fashioned bulbs. One due to lifespan the other due to the shape of the vintage fixture.

  4. posted by Christine on

    I agree with the lighting making a big difference, but also hate CFLs. We have been using them for over 10 years and started phasing them out because they have never ever lasted as long as claimed. They are particularly a problem in areas where there is frequent on/off. They also stay very dark and take a long time to go up to full light toward the end of their (short) lifecycle. They cost more than regular bulbs (what remain on the market), have mercury in them, and don’t even last as long as regular bulbs. Our LEDs have been fantastic. Yes, they were pricey, but their brightness has held.

  5. posted by Marie on

    We switched to LED, and then returned them all to the store. They interfere with radio terribly! I can’t listen to music and have the lights on; it just becomes mushy static.

  6. posted by Ginger on

    I use window sheers to let in the light and still have privacy during the day. At night I lower the mini blinds.
    http://www.kohls.com/product/p.....-x-84-.jsp

  7. posted by [email protected] on

    I love well-lit rooms but a couple of ours aren’t as bright as I would like. But husband likes them that way. So I gave in. They’re good enough, I guess.

    But as far as natural light, the first thing I do every morning is open all the curtains in the house. I’m surprised at the number of people who don’t open their curtains. I feel like I’m in a cave if I don’t.

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