Many people today are transforming their residences into smart homes. And for good reason – modern smart home technology is incredible.
It gives us more control over the comfort and efficiency of the place where we spend most of our time. What could be more important than that?
Unfortunately, several smart homeowners overlook one option that could provide a lot of pleasure and mental relaxation with not much effort. We are talking about the lighting, of course.
Science has been reporting some fascinating results in our moods when humans are exposed to specific lighting schemes. So why not take advantage of their findings?
Smart home lighting
It is relatively common for newbie smart home people to begin their home automation quest with smart lighting. This is because it is simple, and it’s low-hanging fruit as they learn more about the technology.
But too many of them do no more than this in regards to their lighting. We suggest you go a step further is apply a smart home mood lighting plan in your home.
Harnessing the effects of mood lighting will do wonders for your mental and physical health.
What is smart home mood lighting?
Let’s begin with what mood lighting means. This is the result you get by creating specific micro-atmospheres within a room using a light scheme.
In general terms, mood lighting typically involves the use soft lighting, but not always. This type of lighting does not disrupt existing task lights in the room – it actually compliments them.
Now when you add the smart home term to the phrase, then it means that you are using your home’s automation technology to control and operate your mood lighting.
Three key factors in creating a mood with lighting
While creating a mood with your lights, there is undoubtedly a lot of creativity involved. But there’s a little bit of science too – which may be good news for some of us. Here are the key factors in creating the lighting effect you desire.
Task of the room
Each room has an objective, and the lighting must support that to be functional. Sometimes we can get too caught up in creativity and forget about the room’s task.
And it really sucks when you try to do something, and the lighting is terrible. This is why you must ensure that there’s enough lighting for what goes on in that room. This primary lighting takes priority one, and your mood lighting needs to complement that.
Quite simply, ambient lighting is the natural light that a given room naturally has. Ambient light should always be your primary source of light, if possible. It’s healthy for us to begin with, and our minds flow easier with natural light.
So your starting point is how to manage the natural lighting in your room. Sometimes there will be too much, and sometimes there won’t be enough – and then there’s the nighttime too. Each of these scenarios needs to be addressed in your mood lighting scheme.
Generally speaking, when you need to supplement your existing light, you’ll want to cast soft lighting from your ceiling as evenly as possible. This can be done using a combination of fixtures like pendant lights, chandeliers, recessed lighting, and flush-mounted lighting = but others will also do the trick.
Accent lighting is where great designers earn their money with mood lighting. As you have probably already guessed, accent lights are where you max out your creativity skills.
This is where you want to highlight some of the most prominent aspects of a room and not disrupt the functional lighting. For instance, you can use track lighting to accent a fireplace or a row of micro floodlights to light up a kitchen island.
Always be sure to evaluate how your accent lighting will affect your task lighting in the room. Sometimes there will be some crossover that works well.
Rooms to consider for smart home mood lighting
Remember that mood lighting aims to soften the décor and allow a natural aura to flow through the room. This means that levels of light are usually fine-tuned for the function of a particular room.
We must not forget that mood lights are a personal thing, too, as you create the perfect ambiance in a specific room. Let us examine some of the significant spaces where this light scheme works great.
Mood lighting in a den
In most American homes, the den has become the mainstay of social gathering and entertainment. This is often the room where guests are entertained and where the family gathers to watch TV. Therefore, the mood lighting in your den needs to be very accommodating.
However, dens are challenging because many of them have dark walls that can absorb soft lighting sources. Also, they can be flooded with natural light using things like skylights but turn very dark when the sun goes down.
A common approach is to turn on your task lighting at night and then observe the dark areas within the room. Find prominent items in those dark areas and then determine the best way to apply accent lighting to them. You need only try a few of them at first – and make sure they are balanced and not in the same place.
Keep doing this until you find the right combination.
Mood lighting in a kitchen
Unlike dens, kitchens are perhaps the most effortless room in which to apply mood lighting effects. This is because there are so many options available on the market that are specially designed for kitchens.
All kitchens have many of the same general issues:
- Typically have little ambient lighting
- Have many dark areas like around cabinets
- Requires specific task lighting
- Needs to store essential kitchen accessories
The first lighting issue with kitchens is making sure there is ample task lighting. No home chef wants to cook in a kitchen with poor lighting, and eating good food is essential to everyone.
We begin with overhead lighting. Most kitchens are already equipped with fluorescent lighting for softening – since natural lighting is low. Secondly, most kitchens have the token light over the kitchen sink and the stove. These lights serve two purposes. They are lovely task lights for doing various kitchen tasks, and they are great accent lights as well.
From this point, you have a few basic choices – depending on how well your existing lights support the tasks in your kitchen. If you need more lighting for the family chef, install some accent track lighting underneath your cabinets.
If your task lighting is sufficient and you only need accent lighting, here are some options:
- Install lighting underneath your cabinets for the right effect
- Install lighting over your cabinets that point to the ceiling
- Using a series of small spotlights over your island or eat-in table
The good news is that there are accent lighting kits available designed explicitly for use in kitchens. How great is that?
Mood light in bedrooms
The unique thing about mood lighting in bedrooms is that there are three unique settings on which to place your focus:
This is the period when you are preparing for sleep. You are getting into your sleep clothes and turning down the sheets. Perhaps you will read a little before going to sleep.
Natural lighting is undoubtedly not an issue here, but instead, you need a very soft amount of soft light. A good reading lamp on your nightstand is a good idea. In addition to this, you’ll want to try some accent lighting along the ceiling, over your headboard, or a window valance.
Sleep experts are quick to say that entirely dark bedrooms provide the best sleeping environment. Studies indicate that darkness is undoubtedly the answer to a good night’s sleep.
Of course, not everyone likes to sleep in a dark room. Some people want minimal light for security reasons, and others have small children afraid of the dark.
Depending on your situation, try to go for the darkest room that satisfies all conditions. You could even add a light touch of relaxing audio for additional soothing.
This is the setting you’ll want to establish for a romantic evening with your companion.
Here’s an excellent way to establish a comfortable, romantic environment. Start with your sleep setting – with nightstand lamps turned off. Now try adding a little more accent lighting, or a little less – and see what happens.
You can also add some romantic music and try a few colored lights as well.
Combining everything into your smart home settings
Now that you have some idea of establishing an ambiance using mood lighting in your home, it’s time to implement those into your smart home.
Your end goal is being able to command your digital voice assistant (DVA) to “set mood lighting in the den” or to “set lighting for sleep,” and then watch everything spring to life for you.
This means you have to install smart bulbs, switches, plugs, and/or receptacles into each of your rooms. Establish your preferred mood light setting and give it a name so that your DVA understands and remembers the configuration.
Believe me; this sounds a lot harder than it really is – you’ll see once you start setting things up.
And don’t forget to create a “good morning” setup. You can even tell your DVA when to wake up your house and energize your morning lights!