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Gustav Stickley (ed.) / The craftsman
Vol. XII, Number 3 (June 1907)

The charm of diffused light,   pp. 372 ff. PDF (466.8 KB)

Page 372

T HE real pleasure of home even-
       ings, whether. the time is spent
 in work 'or play, is in the quality of
 the lighting. The difference between
 side lights in a room and the old-time
 chandelier is the difference between
 peace and restlessness, and, for sensi-
 tive nerves, between enjoyment and
 misery.  To face light while read-
 ing or working is to lose half the
 power of seeing. A light pouring
 directly into the pupil of the eye
 is disastrous in two ways; -it di-
 lates the retina to the point of danger
 from  strain, and in the second place
 it is hypnotic in effect. The succes-
 sion of invisible currents in the air,
 produced by the -light, in connection
 with the strain, compels immense con-
 centration to use the mind with qven
 half its usual facility.  ... .
 ,So much for the hygienic point of
 view. Now for the artisitic-vwith a
 center light, the middle. of the room is
 thrown out in sharp outline, and the
 corners are dark patches.. .There are
 no half tones, which Artists love, no
 mellowness nor picturesqueness. It is
 all light :and dark; all sharp contrast.
 The center of the room is over-bril-
 liant and the comers gloomy.
   Now a sharp contrast in light, apart
 from the actual injury to. the eyes, is
 seriously detrimental to the nerves,
 easily affected as they are by any eye
 strain.  The   usual center lighting
 gives a sense of restlessness, almost
 a desire to escape. A chandelier has
 no kindly welcoming rays, it does not
 allure, nor coax nor encourage good
 cheer. It does add sparkle to jewels
 and glitter to gold, and sheen to vel-
 vet; but what have these to do with
 the home comfort and the joy of a
 comer for work or play?
   No room can be really made win-
ning and enticing of an evening with-
out a diffused light which is essen-
tially the. product of lighting fixtures
scattered about the sides of the wall.
No one concentrated light is essential,
but a glow of light wherever it can
contribute to the comfort of work or
play-by the bookcase, at the side of
the window seat, near the piano, just
back of the sewing table, by the hat-
rack in the hall, over the buffet in the
dining room. Each 'homemaker will
know best where light contributes most
to the happiness of her family.
  Lights are not a finish for the ceil-
ing, the final decoration for a room,
but a means toward an end, and that
end is enjoyment, the best enjoyment
of books or. pipe or needle or study.
In studying into the lighting problem,
we have made a special effort to de-
velop the diffused lighting of rooms.
Where    center  lights are  used   in
CRAFTSMAN rooms they are so hidden
by soft globes that one is conscious
only of a mellow glow; but these
showers of lights are for large spaces.
For living rooms and cozy dining
rooms, the lights are on the walls in
a series of sconces, adjusted to each
room to bring out its utmost possi-
bility of restfulness and cheer.   In
fact, in a room perfectly illuminated
with side lights, the sense of effort to
achieve light is wholly lost. One is
conscious of rest, glow, peace, and
contentment, and a desire to stay,
which is wholly absent from the chan-
delier room.
  To make the side lighting of a room
quite perfect, it is an excellent plan to
have both the metal of fixture and the
globe in close color harmony with the
room, and when all these details are
considered, the light of a room finally
ceases to be a thing apart, and becomes
an essential of the real beauty and
comfort of the home.

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