In The (Lighting) Mood

In 1963, British entrepreneur, Edward Craven, founder of a lighting company, invented lava lamps.  Lava lamps were glass vessels in assorted shapes and sizes, filled with a colored wax mixture and translucent liquid.  When the lamp heated up, the wax melted,  constantly changed shape and floated endlessly into non-descript forms.  It was both mesmerizing and romantic.  Lava lamps were quite the ultimate mood setter – and “everyone” in their teens, 20’s and 30’s had one.

Even today, the right lighting can be a mood changer, yet it is often overlooked.  Especially when things become drab and dismal (mentally or physically), changing some of your lighting inside and outside, can instantly put you in a positive mood.

Look around.  Maybe you are working from home or have an area where you sit down and do your monthly paperwork, handle bills, etc.  Is it boring and colorless?  Is there a cheap, cheesy lamp giving off just enough light to see what you’re doing?

Then consider upgrading your lamp.  Find one that’s brighter and one that is actually contemporary, antique or just plain fun—something that fits your personality.

Look around your home.  Are there a lot of dark areas in your home?  Is your lighting only functional and downright boring?  Consider adding small mood lights to brighten colorless corners or small overhead lights specifically designed to illuminate your favorite artwork.

For those with small rooms, tall, slender floor lamps don’t take up much space, yet can pack a punch.  Look for 3-way floor lamps or ones with dimmers so that light can be added or subtracted as needed.  Check out lamps and lighting online.  Companies such as Lamps Plus have a wide selection – even Home Depot has carried some nice, contemporary and traditional lighting at reasonable prices.

Small wall mounted lights with moveable swing-arms are perfect to mount by your bedside (or one on each side of the bed).  Plus they don’t take up any room on the nightstand.  These are especially great if you enjoy reading in bed.  The key is to be sure you mount them “next” to your bed and high enough for the light to shine down where you normally read (see inset photo).  It’s helpful to have someone hold the lamp against the wall before your mount it, so you can make sure it’s the right height and position for you.  You don’t want to bump into the light when you get in and out of bed.  That’s why I prefer wall mounted lights with swing-arms.  Adjustable lights with swing-arms, allow you to move the lamp closer to the wall and out of the way when not in use, so you don’t bump into it.

Don’t neglect outdoor lighting:  Do you have a lamppost with a plain, outdated lantern top?  Switch it out for a sleek contemporary style or something more ornate or vintage for an antique look.  Lamppost light tops come in all different styles and finishes.  Same with porch lights.  Replace a mundane wall mounted porch light with a new one that reflects your style and personality.  Replacing your lamppost lantern top or porch light is an easy and eye-catching makeover.

Set an outdoor nighttime mood:  When I look out at my neighborhood at night, all the houses around me have some type of subtle lighting all year round.  My neighbors have two large solar lanterns (on shepherd’s hooks) with twinkling white and red lights at their walkway entrance.  Next to them, is a house with soft blue lights that quietly showcase their flower garden.  Other homes include a strand of white lights artfully arranged on a small bush, small solar orbs that dance with color and a beautiful old oak tree with a string of tiny gold lights wrapped around the trunk.  Tiny white solar lights outline the front of my porch.

There’s something to be said about looking out your window at night, and instead of seeing nothing but darkness, seeing subtle areas of colorful illumination.  Glowing lights add a homey warmth to the neighborhood and take away the lonely sting of the nighttime.

Also with so many folks entertaining outside, soft lighting is almost a must.  It brings on a happy and cheerful atmosphere all year round.  Solar lights are inexpensive and come on automatically every night at dusk.  Better quality solar lights will even draw enough of a charge even on sunless days to keep them lit for several hours…no electrical outlets or cords are needed.  Find outdoor lighting, including solar string lights, lamppost lanterns and solar orbs online.  Plow and Hearth also has some beautiful starry solar lanterns, perfect for outdoor patios and other areas.

This is the perfect time to access your lighting both inside and outside your home.  A few new lamps and lights can give your personal living space a fresh, new appearance and enhance your mood – and now is a great time to shop the “sales” and “clearances.”


Wall mounted lamps with moveable “swingarms” let you move the lamp directly over your reading.  Replacing old, outdated lamppost lanterns and porch lights with new ones, give your home a fresh, new look. 

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