No hard and fast rules can be laid down as to what represents the best practice in lighting the various rooms in the home; there are, however, certain fundamentals which should be observed in order to secure the best results. First, the light must be comfortable. It must not be glaring or excessively brilliant as glare produces eyestrain and irritates the entire system. Likewise extreme contrasts are objectionable as is noticeable where very bright areas are adjacent to rather dark ones. Second, the luminaires should be artistic and appropriate, in addition to being utilitarian in character. The luminaires should not only exist for the purpose of supplying light, but also should be as much a part of the room decoration as are the draperies, carpet and furniture. As a rule the simpler designs are more pleasing, while complicated and cumbersome decorations which serve no really useful purpose should not be tolerated. Third, advantage should be taken of the adaptability of modern light sources to color modification, and the light should be toned to suit the decorative scheme. Light is now produced so efficiently that color effects can be secured at a reasonable cost.
Some essentials to consider in providing and improving the artificial lighting of various rooms in homes have been gathered from a number of sources for brief presentation.2 The rooms selected are those where eyestrain will result from using the eyes without sufficient and proper illumination, and are those found in the majority of homes. Certain parts of the home where light is required but where close work with the eyes is usually not required, such as porches, halls, pantries, garages and basements, have purposely been omitted. These should not, however, be overlooked in the plans for the lighting.
1 Adapted from Eyesight Conservation Survey (New York: Eyesight Conservation Council of America, 1925), pp. 154-58.
2 A. L. Powell and R. E. Harrington, "Home Lighting: How To Make It Comfortable and Effective," Illuminating Engineering Society Transactions, XIV, No. 8 (November, 1919), 394.
C. H. French and C. J. Van Gieson, "Gas and Electric Lighting in the Home," ibid., XI, No. 9 (December, 1916), 1068-82.
Thomas Schofield, "Home Lighting as Shown in a Model Apartment," ibid., IX, No. 3 (1914), 292-306.
M. Luckiesh, "Residence Lighting," National Electric Light Association. Report of Lighting Sales Bureau (1923), Part B.