Most people give little thought to health when decorating their home, but such factors as wall color and lighting can have an impact on the way you act and feel.
COLOR IT HEALTHY
Some colors make us smile; others make us cringe. although favorite colors are highly subjective, there are some choices that can actually improve the way you feel and perform routine tasks.
Light colors tend to open up a room, creating a feeling of space and airiness, while dark colors make a room seem smaller. Paint small rooms with light colors or whites, and make a large
room cozier by painting it a darker shade.
In rooms that rely mostly on artificial light, choose pale wall colors, which spread the light evenly around the room.
Bright waII colors make some people restless and nervous. If you Like bright colors, consider painting the walls a neutral color and using pillows, furniture, or throw rugs to add splashes of color.
Grays and browns are believed to inspire efficiency, so use them in a home office or other work area.
Use cool, relaxing colors, such as blues and greens, in rooms where you rest after a busy day. These colors have been used in hospitals to establish a sense of calm and enhance recuperation.
Blue may discourage flies and other insects, making it a good choice for kitchens and porches.
Babies are stimulated by bright colors, so primary colors, instead of pastels, are a good choice for a nursery.
Light plays an important role in regulating mood, hormone production, and other body functions. The average person spends more than three-quarters of daylight hours indoors, so it’s important to take full advantage of natural daylight.
Rooms with southern exposure are perfect for family gathering areas and children’s playrooms. With this type of exposure, Light comes directly from the sun, creating a warm, cheerful atmosphere. In the summer, use window shades and ventilation to keep these rooms from getting too hot.
A room with southern exposure is not a good choice for a home office or reading room, because glare can make concentration difficult and the computer works uncomfortable. If possible, choose a room with northern exposure for its more indirect light.
Use light-colored shades or curtains on windows to reflect the sun and keep rooms cool in warm weather. Make sure that curtains can be opened fully to let in the maximum amount of light.
LET THERE BE TIGHT
A well-lit room is bright enough to navigate easily and safely, but not so bright that it
To control the amount of light, install rheostats, which allow you to brighten or dim lights, on the light switches. They usually require little or no rewiring.
In the kitchen, make sure adequate light shines on counters and other food preparation areas. Position downlights over the sink and other kitchen work areas to help prevent accidents. A range-hood light should be able to accommodate two 75-watt bulbs; alternatively, mount reflector downlights in the ceiling over the stove.
Faulty light fixtures are a common source of household fires and electric shocks, and certain lights cause physical symptoms in some people. Here are ways to avoid such problems.
Check older light fixtures for loose sockets and frayed cords Rewire any that are damaged.
Place floor and table lamps out of the reach of toddlers, young children, and pets.
Bathroom lights should not be exposed to water. Choose recessed ceiling lights with watertight coverings.
Incandescent and halogen lightbulbs give off a tremendous amount of heat. Lamp-shades, especially the metal ones on desk lamps, should have ventilating holes that allow heat to escape. Most desk lamps call for 60- or 75- watt bulbs; don’t try to increase lighting by resorting to higher-watt bulbs. If you need more light, use extra lamps.
Try to limit fluorescent lighting, which gives off rays that vibrate, causing headaches and eyestrain in some people. If you do use them, make sure they are properly screened and located at least four feet away from a work area.
Rapid-start fluorescent fixtures installed before 198O often leak hazardous PCB’s. To check such fixtures, turn off the light, remove the cover, and inspect the metal wire box for black, oily smudges.
PICKING THE RIGHT TIGHTS
Before buying light fixtures, think about the particular room-the way it’s used and any special lighting needs.
Select lightbulbs according to the time of day a room is used most. Incandescent bulbs emit light high in reds and oranges, which is similar to that of afternoon sunlight good for rooms in which you spend the late afternoon and evening hours.
New quartz-type incandescent bulbs are smaller and last longer than conventional lightbulbs. They are also safer because they don’t produce as much heat. However, you will need to buy special fixtures designed for compact incandescent bulbs.
A halogen light can illuminate an entire room if it is directed toward a white ceiling.
Full-spectrum lightbulbs have a wider range of waveLengths than other bulbs, so they more closely mimic natural light. Some people find that they improve mood and alertness when placed in an area where much time is spent, such as an office or kitchen.
Placing Your light Fixtures
Choosing the right type of lighting isn’t all you need to think obout. Where you put the fixtures con be just as important.
Space recessed fixtures 6 to 8 feet apart for general lighting, and use flood bulbs. For task lighting, install them 15 to 18 inches apart.
Hang a pendant light or chandelier with the bottom about 30
inches above the table. However, if the fixture has a bare bulb and
open bottom, make it low enough to avoid harsh light in diners’ eyes.
At a chair or bed, position a hanging light so that its lower edge is about 4 feet from the floor. Site a fixture so that its lower edge is about 15 inches above a desktop.
Short floor lamps-40 to 42 inches high-should line up with your shoulder when you’re seated. Taller lamps should be set about 15 inches to the side and 20 inches behind the center of the book you’re reading.
The bottom of a table lampshade should be at eye level, about 38 to 42 inches above the floor when you’re seated. For tasks, the ideal light source is 10 to 12 inches below the user’s eye level.