Let More Light Shine In

Many times the arrival of warmer weather makes homeowners reconsider the decor of their home. After a long winter spent indoors, homeowners often yearn for some changes around the house.

One cost-effective way homeowners can give their homes a new look for feel without breaking the bank is to address lighting throughout the house. With some easy changes to a home's lighting scheme, homeowners can notice a stark difference in their home's appearance.

* Assess lighting needs. First and foremost, evaluate your lighting situation by looking at how much light is currently around the house, including the home's exterior. Is there adequate light available for activities such as reading? Is there sufficient light outside the home to safely see the stairs or walkway? How much sunlight enters your home, and are you unknowingly blocking that light from getting in? Let the sun shine in by opening curtains, pulling up shades and keeping windows clean. This can add life to a room while simultaneously benefitting the environment and lowering your energy bill.

* Consider new fixtures. For older homeowners with an empty nest, consider lamps with rocker switches. These are large enough to be turned on even if hands are full or if you're suffering from arthritis that can make it hard to maneuver hands and fingers.

Busy homeowners might benefit from fixture styles that clean easily and don't require much maintenance. Seniors might also want lights that make changing the bulbs easier. Ceiling lights with bulb covers may look pretty, but they are often hard to change and clean. And, if one of the bulbs burns out or if the fixture is dirty, it won't emit the right amount of light.

* Get outdoors. Lighting outside the home is as important as lighting inside. In addition to making it easier to get around, external lighting can also keep prospective thieves at bay. External stairways should be completely illuminated and on motion sensors if not already on a nighttime timer.

* Add extra lighting to work areas. Add extra light fixtures in work areas or areas of heavy traffic, such as the kitchen or living room. Those with a home office should keep the areas well lit, as you likely spend extended periods of time in the home office.

* Add lighting to reading areas. Reading in poorly lit areas is a recipe for eye trouble. To lessen the likelihood of developing eye trouble, place reading chairs near windows or add lamps or other lights to areas commonly used for reading.

* Install nightlights throughout the home. There's no reason midnight walks to the refrigerator or restroom should be done in the dark. That only increases the likelihood for falls and injury. Install nightlights in hallways and near the bottom and tops of all staircases to decrease the chances of injury.

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