Having trouble feeling comfortable in your space? Too Bright? Too Dim? Get the energy (or relaxation) you need by using mood lighting in your home.
Picture this: you show up to your office on Monday, ready for a busy day, and to your surprise, every overhead light in the building is turned off. Instead of the traditional fluorescent glow, there are lamps sitting on the corner desks in the room and they’re switched on. The shades are drawn. There are candles on the boss' desk, and aromatherapy Scentsy’s on the bookshelves. You immediately feel relaxed. The room glows with a soft light that is just bright enough to keep you from wanting to lay your head on your desk and take a quick snooze.
Today, I would like to introduce you to a concept called “mood lighting.” I want to remind you of the power that light has throughout each of our lives. It's the number one life-giving energy source on the planet. Light affects our biological clock, and makes us aware of the environment we are surrounded by. Try to picture your day without light and you will quickly realize your interactions with it in all different forms. We wake up to sunshine, work in offices that are lit by electric lights, come home from work and switch the lights on in our homes, and so on and so on.
Thanks to Mr. Edison, the light bulb has allowed the world to disregard the setting of the sun so we can function well into the darkness of night. And because of that, we’ve moved past mere functionality with electricity and into creativity and art. It’s hard to picture a romantic date at a fantastic Italian restaurant without a softly illuminated room and candles on the table. How cool would an amazing DJ at a happening club be if every light in the place was turned on? What would every 1960s party have done without a disco ball? This is where the concept of mood lights comes into play!
Hopefully, you’re starting to see why lighting is so important in our everyday lives. If not, then maybe these tips to help you create the perfect lighting for the spaces in your home in the wee hours of the morning when we need to be awake and energized, and in the evening time when we need to unwind and relax after a long day will convince you.
Mood Lighting to Start Your Day
If your family is anything like mine, your living room and kitchen get a lot of traffic throughout the day. Whether it’s during the frenzy of rushing out the door in the morning, gathering for family time in the evening, or entertaining at night, these rooms don’t go a day untouched. I believe that lighting is a key element to all of these activities and, if used correctly, can create the energy and inspiration you and your family need for a brand new day.
Waking up to natural light: Let’s focus on the beginning of your day (with the assumption that this in in the morning). Ambient lighting refers to the main light source in a given place. During the daylight hours, you have FREE access to light in the form of sunlight! And we all love free stuff. Don’t underestimate the power of starting your day with sunshine (and saving on your electric bill)!
Blinds, curtains, and the desire for privacy in general are some of the ways we generally block out natural ambient lights. We are so used to closing blinds and curtains that we often forget to open them in the first place. But we have to remember that light doesn’t only allow us to see, it affects our mood, energy, mental health, skin, and even our homes by naturally killing bacteria. Here are some tips to follow to maximize natural light during the day:
- Make sure your windows stay clean. Hard water, dust, and other elements from the great outdoors can definitely cling to your windows and create an overall displeasing appearance. The best way to enhance the look of your windows and the natural light in your home is to clean them regularly!
- Rid yourself of blinds and curtains. If your home has beautiful windows and plenty of privacy because of fences, trees, and other foliage, it’s not always necessary to block the view. This can open up the look of any room. If you don’t want to remove the blinds/curtains all together, try opening the blinds/curtains first thing each morning.
Via Shine Your Light
- If your neighbors are a bit nosey or you don’t feel comfortable having your blinds open for all to see, consider thin curtains, opening your blinds halfway, or growing plants outside your windows.
- Also, make sure to open your windows when the temperature is pleasant! Not only is ample sunshine good for your space and any indoor plants you have, but fresh air should regularly make a sweep through your home to keep everything fresh and clean.
I hope that you're inspired to get your day started by embracing the light! Remember, sunshine releases endorphins, which naturally reduce stress and depression while increasing energy. There's no reason you can’t bask in the early morning rays while eating a routine breakfast before a busy day. Opening your windows and taking in a new day is also an easy reminder that today is a gift to be embraced to its fullest.
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Mood Lighting for Relaxation at the End of the Day
Sunshine is truly an amazing thing and something that we Texans can easily take for granted. But after a long day of work, it’s nice to come home and be able to relax away from the heat. Creating relaxing lighting isn't usually the first thing we think of when dropping our bags by the door and kicking our shoes off. However, if you spend a little time setting up light fixtures other than the overhead lights in your living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and even on your porch, you will be surprised at how a relaxing evening glow can help calm and change your mood after a long (and rough) day.
Relaxing Mood Lighting for the Kitchen and Dining Room: It’s easy to change the atmosphere in your kitchen and dining room to one of relaxation with a couple of affordable alternative light sources. Candles, lamps, track lighting, and string lights are popular choices. Most people don’t think of lamps having a place in this area of the home, but, from personal experience, I beg to differ. Here are some lighting ideas that you can implement in your own kitchen and dining room!
In the image below, notice how there isn’t any overhead lighting fixtures on in this entire kitchen/dining room? Between the candle chandelier and track lighting above and below the cabinets, it’s as if this kitchen area is inviting relaxation to come in, sit down, and have a glass of wine.
Via House Envy
Want to create a relaxing environment in your kitchen and dining room?
- Practice not using the overhead lights during the evening and see how it affects your mood over time. Do you feel more relaxed at the end of the day when the chores are finished and you’re ready for a hot tea or a glass of wine? Yes, then add some soft lighting at the end of your day to help you wind down completely.
Via House Envy
- Try adding a lamp to a table, cabinet, or even a kitchen island. Use the mood lamp in the evenings or at dinner time to set a relaxing tone. Table lamps can also add a fun element or additional color to your room, so be sure to find a great one for your space.
- Grab an old strand of string lights (from your Christmas decorations possibly) and place them on top of your cabinets. If your cabinets are decorated, incorporate the lights into your decor. Example: If you have wine bottles and grapevines decorating the top of your cabinets, wrap the lights into the greenery and around the bottles. Turn on these lights every night while you cook dinner. Or, you can put lights inside the bottles for some really awesome kitchen lighting!
- Add track lighting fixtures under cabinets. This is a great way to add a relaxing glow to your kitchen and dining space.
Relaxing Mood Lighting for the Living Room and Bedroom: Just like the kitchen and dining room, the living room is often used for entertainment, parties, movie nights, reading corners, and other forms of recreational and relaxing activities. Making a habit of using alternative lighting in the evening hours can set a relaxing and fun environment in this room as well.
The bedroom is the most common place people relax, in general, due to the fact that we SLEEP there. So incorporating lamps, string lights, and candles into your bedroom can help create a relaxing, romantic, and soft atmosphere as you ready yourself for sleep. Check out this example! I think it will inspire you to make a habit of turning off the overhead lights during the evening hours so you can relax your eyes and enjoy your space with some new bedroom mood lighting.
Want to create a relaxing environment in your bedroom and living room?
- Candles, candles, and more candles. Don’t be afraid to use candles in any room of the house as long as they are properly contained (use a glass holder that is taller than the flame of the candle). Whether you want some bathroom lighting as you take an evening bath or candles flickering on your coffee table (or in the fireplace) in your living room as you curl up on your couch to watch your favorite show, candles are an easy and inexpensive way to set a relaxing spa-like atmosphere in your home.
- Lamps are a great way to give off enough light to comfortably function in a space without lighting up an entire room. I challenge you to add mood lamps by your favorite chair or at the end of the couch so you can use them for reading, sewing, or whatever other hobby you may have! You can find some pretty unique and very useful floor lamps in a variety of styles and themes, so be sure to look for the best one for your space and needs!
- String lights are one of my favorite ways to light up a space. Caution: use string lights sparingly and with taste. If you’re using the lights inside, I recommend purchasing the white strands of lights. If you overdo it, it’s easy for the glow to become tacky; however, if you can find a balance, these are a fun, easy, and very affordable way to add relaxing lighting to your space.
I hope this post has given you a couple of new ideas for alternative lighting in your home. During some of the busiest times in my life, I make it a habit to leave work at the front door and turn my home into a place I can relax. I do not regret this. I never turn on an overhead light at the end of the day. Unless I'm chopping veggies! I only have one set of hands after all. Lamps and candles are my best friends (not literally, I usually have dinner guests) and I always receive compliments on the relaxing ambiance in my home.
Let us know if you have any comments, suggestions, or praises! We would love to hear your tips for creating energizing or relaxing mood lighting in your home. As always, please share with friends and family who might need a little guidance in this area.
**Featured image via Instructables