New life stages can be exhilarating, but they can also be intimidating. If you’ve just gotten married and moved into your first home together (or even just moved to a new place by yourself), chances are you’re about to discover all kinds of things that need updating or fixing. This will be especially true for lighting, since so much in the lighting industry has changed in the past few years. Here are some important things to keep in mind when planning the lighting updates for your new home.
If you’re thinking about home lighting options for the first time, you may not be aware of the impact the kind of bulbs you use can have on your wallet. Incandescent lamps – the kind we all grew up using, which produce a warm yellow light – use only about 5% of the energy they expend to produce light; the other 95% produces heat. Since heat is not usually the purpose of a light bulb, you can see why these lamps are considered “inefficient” – they waste the majority of the energy they use.
So if you aren’t sentimental, ditch the incandescents for energy-saving light bulbs. Even if conservation isn’t your thing, you can win with energy efficient lighting because it will save you a LOT out of pocket on each electric bill. With some fixtures it’s as easy as replacing the bulb – household light bulbs, or A-lamps, are exchangable regardless of light source. You can try out an affordable CFL bulb if you don’t need to be able to dim, or go all in with a longer-lasting, cool-to-touch, dimmable LED bulb. Even LEDs have become very affordable recently, with some models as low as $5 each. And even if you love the color of incandescents, never fear! You can find fluorescents and LEDs that look (and sometimes even act) the same as old-fashioned lamps.
If the bulbs in your fixtures aren’t easily replacable, you may need to buy new ones if you want to upgrade to more energy efficient lighting. Ultimately it will be worth the up-front investment either way, since you can save so much both in your energy bill and in replacement costs when you use LEDs or other similarly long-lasting solutions.
Rent or Own?
While some people like to own a house as soon as possible, it isn’t always practical. If you live in a rental, never fear! With just the right amount of ingenuity, you too can experience the joys of great lighting. Even if you aren’t allowed to tamper with the hardwiring, you can add more temporary fixtures such as battery operated puck lights under your kitchen cabinets or some really trendy plug-in lamps.
If your concern is space, don’t skimp on the light – just find smaller fixtures. LED tape lights are ridiculously good for lighting up small, hard-to-reach places. Since they’re flexible, they’re also great for weirdly shaped walls or spaces. Having more lighting can make a small room feel bigger, and that can make all the difference in the world.
For a really in-depth guide on getting good lighting in a rental property, check out this blog post.
Aging in Place
How long are you planning to stay in your current home? If you’re newlyweds, you’ll likely move around a bit more before settling down for good. But what if you’ve found (or built) the home of your dreams and you think you’d like to grow old there? Aging in place means you plan for that ahead of time by intentionally designing or updating you home to be safe and comfortable for when you get older. The value of planning ahead is that ideally you won’t have to worry about changing your home around once you retire.
While researching your lighting upgrades in a new house, take this into consideration. As far as lighting is concerned, did you know that 60-year-olds typically need twice as much light as 30-year-olds? For this reason, it’s a good idea to master the art of light layering in your house so that low light won’t be an issue. If you don’t want bright lights now, consider installing a dimmer! It’ll save energy and set the mood really nicely.
Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!