“Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dreams” – Boy George
One great thing about meeting people from all over the world is the exposure to ideas and perspectives I may have otherwise missed. Like the concept of Karma. When I learned about it (which I loosely translate as “what goes around comes around”), I started to find examples of it in my life. And sometimes frequently. One friend and co-worker told me that it’s very unusual to experience Karma in a single lifetime. If that’s true, I must be very unusual.
The first time I recognized Karma it hit me over the head like a two-by-four. It was back when my kids were young, and I needed to be in California at 8:00 am on a Monday morning. That meant Sunday travel. Life was crazy busy, and the loss of a weekend day felt like a sacrifice. In an attempt to get into a positive frame of mind, I tried to convince myself that the travel could be like a little vacation; I’d have time to myself in the car, on the plane, and a quiet evening to myself. It worked, and a relaxed me checked into the hotel on Sunday evening.
As I entered my room, I flipped on the lights, and, wowsa, they were bright! And harsh. After inspecting the bulbs, I determined that they were those (new at the time) compact fluorescents. How was I going to have a relaxing evening in a room lit up like an operating room?! I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I called down to the front desk to ask for a room with better lighting, but the fact is I made that call. They informed me that all of the rooms had the same lighting, so I unpacked my bags and settled in. Now, every time I adjust the lighting at home, I think about that experience. My husband will tell you that there is no sneaking new bulb technology into the house. If they are not warm and inviting, I catch ‘em every time.
And now the Karma connection. The next evening, when I stopped at my hotel between business meetings and dinner, you can probably imagine my surprise when I walked into a dimly lit lobby only to find a long row of flashlights sitting on the front desk. Apparently there had been a power outage … and that meant, among other things, no light in my room. Having hoped to freshen up with the help of a mirror and lights, I suddenly found myself yearning for those harsh bulbs. I think that’s Karma.
Fast forward about 15 years, and we find ourselves updating the lights in our kitchen. Long story short, we added LED “puck lights” in some glass-front cabinets, and they look blue and harsh. They clash with the under-cabinet lights (also LED) which are a bit warmer thanks, I now know, to their lower "color temperature". I’d been through enough of these experiences in the past to know that there was probably a solution out there, but I also knew that it might be expensive and might consume a lot of my time and take advantage of my husband’s good nature. (At this point I really wished I'd read this Choosing the Right LED Bulbs article before selecting the lights.)
The good news is that, with help from many sources, the problem was solved within 24 hours! Here’s how. After realizing that the LED puck lights where so bad I’d rather leave them off permanently than ever turn them on, I remembered that when I had taken the “Underground Fort Collins” tour with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop many years ago, they showed us how they turned some sidewalk lights different colors; they simply put colored cellophane over the fluorescent light fixture that lit the lights from under the sidewalk. So I opened the flashlight app on my cell phone and turned the light to a warm (orange) color and placed the cell phone (with the flashlight app running) into the glass-front cabinet. That confirmed that the right light provided the affect I was seeking. The next morning my good-natured husband dashed to Hobby Lobby to retrieve yellow and orange cellophane wrapping. We put squares of it over the puck lights, experimented with color combinations, and as of right now think we’ll go with two layers of orange over each 2700K LED. That makes the color as warm as a campfire under a starry sky. (Notice the one unfiltered light on the left in the photo above.)
While this trend toward LED lights is a source of many Tech Frustrations around our house, I get that it is good for the environment and my budget and now understand a lot more about how to pick them in the future. Thanks to info gathered from the Internet, technology in my cell phone, and the patience and perseverance of my husband and dad, all’s well that ends well. And the solution only cost $6.34!
If you are also particular about lighting and have learned anything interesting, please share! I found the new Philips Hue lights intriguing, but am really only interested in the warm colors and a bit put off by the high price tag. I may eventually upgrade the homemade cellophane filters to correction light gel filters and found this Ikea Hack article interesting too.