As I’ve been sharing pictures of my house in the summer home tour and the “evolution of my home” series, I’ve been asked a few times about lamps. Or the lack there of, to be more accurate. It’s not that I dislike lamps. I think it goes back to the previous homes and apartments we’ve lived in. NONE of them had overhead lights! It drove me nuts. That meant that you had to have eight lamps turned on in a room to get decent light. So, unless you had an outlet on a switch, that involved walking into a room and click-click-click-click-click…you get the idea. It also meant finding all of those lamps and shades to coordinate, which is challenging when your home decor comes from thrift stores and yard sales.
In our townhouse, we addressed the issue by installing pot/recessed lights in the kitchen and family room. I loved having that all-over wash of light to supplement the task lighting that came from lamps and under-the-cabinet puck lights.
This house has overhead lighting in every room and I don’t feel the need to have lamps all over the place. We did have a few, but I removed almost all of them when my boys were in the creeping stage. I was concerned with one of them tugging on a cord and pulling a lamp down on their head and I just got used to not having them.
We have one lamp by the front door that is plugged into an outlet on a switch.
We also have a pair of lamps on our bedside tables for reading and for a light an arm’s reach away.
We also have small reading lights over the boy’s beds. These lights are on a dimmer, which is handy when one boy wants to read and the other is ready for bed.
And, after my father-in-law showed up one visit with his own reading lamp, I put sconces in the guest room. These lights are a bit of a pain, though, because the switch is at the bottom of the brass cord cover, which means it’s almost on the floor. Apparently you can get plug-in remotes for this sort of scenario, so I need to look into that.
My in-laws like to read in bed and, since they are our most frequent guests, the reading lights were important.
Otherwise, all of our lighting is overhead.
One thing I would like to do is add an outlet in the floor under the sofa, so we could put a lamp on the sofa side tables. Jeff’s not 100% on board with that one and it’s not something I’m too hot to do, so I’m fine with that. The overhead lighting in the kitchen and family room are on dimmers, so we’re able to have them at a good level for the time of day.
The truth is that I work on my computer and watch TV more than I curl up with a book. I love to read, but I get a wee bit obsessed when I get into a book and am basically useless. I have no self control and I’ll sneak reading in every second until the book is finished. Jeff mostly listens to audio books or reads on his iPad, so he’s not asking for more lamps in the house.
If we ever do build a home from scratch, lighting is something that would be at the top of my list for designing carefully, thinking through the function of each room. My ideal space would have a wash of light from recessed pot lights supplemented with task lights as well as ambient lighting. That’s not going to happen in this house without some serious holes being put into the plaster as well as holes cut in the floorboards, so we’re just going to leave things as they are.