Do You and Your Partner Disagree Over Lighting?

Do You and Your Partner Disagree Over Lighting?

Gregory Han
Jul 1, 2010

I can't remember a day when lighting wasn't something I thought about. Even as a child, I wanted multiple lighting sources ("Mom, I need this overhead lamp for my Star Wars figure display!") and window shades to control the amount of natural and artificial light that illuminated my Iron Maiden posters and collection of little league trophies. Yeah, I was an unusual kid.

Years later, I'm still very particular about lighting, especially since I'm on the computer all day and work with photos/Photoshop, a task in which working in direct and even indirect sunlight can hinder and harm the eyes. Glare is my enemy, roller blockout shades are my weapon of choice, providing a very effective and decor-invisible way to block out the radiant Southern California light.

I've also used privacy window film not only to block out the view from the apartment dwellers across from us (there's nothing as uncomfortable as knowing someone may be looking over your shoulder), but also to diffuse the incoming light. During off hours I welcome sunlight and all its beautiful effects on our mood and our apartment. But during work hours I prefer to work with a moderate amount of diffused, indirect sunlight coming only from other rooms.

All this wasn't an issue till our recent move to a new apartment, where previously a separate small office kept lighting preferences a non-issue. Emily works half the week at home now in a section of the living room across from my closet-turned-office, her preference strongly leaning toward all the windows being wide open from the first chirp of the morning on. She's affected by seasonal affective disorder, so her preference is not just an aesthetic one, but medical, and she also just happens to really, really love sunlight.

Unfortunately, this has presented a lighting dilemma in our modest sized apartment, where Nosferatu the Blogger and Little Miss Sunshine find themselves at odds of how the room should be illuminated. For now, we've worked out a scheduling compromise, as I'm fortunate enough that Emily tends to be an earlier riser than I, and has been kind enough to lower the shades when I rise from my crypt to get started on my day over at Unplggd.

An approximation illustrating the difference in lighting preferences between Emily and I.

It's not much different at night either. We often laugh at how differently we set the lighting after the sun has set (don't get me started on our interior temperature preferences!). Where I tend to enjoy soft, multiple sources of light to set a mood, Emily likes to use what I like to refer to as "North Korean interrogation lighting", harsh and bright enough to evoke visions of burgers under heat lamps. I'm investigating a miner's cap as a future birthday gift for her, but she's been wonderfully accommodating to let me occasionally dim down the overhead lights from the "supernova" setting to "Harry Hamlin tan mode". I'd love to hear about how other couples have worked out (or perhaps not) solutions between differing lighting preferences.

They say love will light the way...but can I interest you in a dimming option, my dear?

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