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Better Living Design in Lighting

As we get older our vision starts to become a little fuzzy. Review these simple tips to learn how to reduce glare and shadows, so you can see more clearly.

Foyer light at home entrance.

Accessible Lighting Solutions

It's not necessary to completely redesign a home's lighting scheme to increase and balance consistency of light throughout a room. Consistent light promotes: reduced glare, decreased shadows, flexibility, focus and security. The following ideas are ways to provide more consistent light:

  • Ambient lighting such as overhead lighting can help eliminate shadows and reduce glare. Floor lamps that aim light toward the ceiling such as torchiere lamps are an easy way to mimic overhead lighting.
  • Recessed lights are unobtrusive lights that can be installed where existing fixtures already are. Place recessed lights on a dimmer switch to adjust brightness as needed.
  • Track lights add focus and flexibility by allowing light to be aimed where it's needed. You can also direct track light heads away from glass surfaces to reduce glare.
  • Under-cabinet lights are a very inconspicuous source of kitchen illumination for those with weakened eyesight.
  • Task lighting supplements overhead indirect lighting when additional light is needed for hobbies, reading, or other concentrated projects. Lamps are an easy way to add task lighting. Place them on one or both sides of the task. Reduce glare by having the shade below eye level.
  • Wall fixtures such as sconces help light stairways, hallways and entryways. Wall sconces on both sides of the bathroom mirror reduce shadows.
  • Security lighting provides safety and a sense of well being. Motion sensors outdoors and indoors such as automatic on/off night lights in bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways can increase safety. Outdoor lighting such as path lights, deck lights and stair lights help too.
  • Skylights and tubular lights provide natural light.

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Light Bulbs and Switches

Studies indicate that as we age up to three times more light is required to see—but it's not as simple as switching to a higher watt bulb.

  • Energy-efficient bulbs like CFLs and LEDs make it so you don't have to change out light bulbs as often. CFLs save between 75% in energy costs and last up to 9 years and LEDs save up to 80% in energy costs and last up to 20+ years. Both are designed to fit standard light sockets and can be used practically anywhere in the home.
  • Rocker or toggle switches make it easier to switch lights on and off for those with limited hand strength or dexterity.
  • Dimmer switches with knob or touch sensitive controls allow adjustable light levels. Mount switches 36 inches to 44 inches from the floor for easy reach.

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