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Credit: Courtesy of Hali Bey Ramdene

I Added Pink Lightbulbs to My Living Room for an Inviting Glow—and Got the Bonus of Better Sleep

published Aug 4, 2020
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Twenty stories of objects and areas in people’s homes that nourish their souls more than their social feeds. Read them all here throughout August.

The first question I ask myself when I’m putting a room together is how I want to feel in it. I want to feel energized and playful in my kitchen, focused and inspired in my office, sleepy and mellow in my bedroom, and super relaxed in the living room. Once I get those feelings all sorted out,  it’s so much easier to decide what goes where. That clarity on how I want to feel in a room has helped me make design decisions big and small. When I wanted to feel more relaxed in the living room last year, I added the giant philodendron that had been hibernating at my mom’s house. I invested in good speakers so I could listen to Nina Simone in the morning while I wrote. But it wasn’t until I added a lamp with a pink lightbulb to the room did the groovy, inviting feeling I was after really settle in.

I’ve found ideas for how to create my home are tucked into the grooves of good conversation. The kind of conversation that ping-pongs between topics and feelings, ideas and opinions—the kind that leads you to recognize something about yourself that is true, but only after someone else says it. Sometimes, it takes plenty of cross-pollination to end up with an actionable idea. And so this idea for a pink light began one evening when I was in conversation with my friend. We were talking about house parties (my favorite kind of party!) and how quieter, moody lighting—even adding one of those novelty lightbulbs like you might in your dorm room or apartment—always eased people into socializing more freely. We were sitting on the curved yellow brocade sofa that hugs a corner of my room, having this conversation, and then the suggestion came up: “Your place would look good with a pink light.” 

Have you ever had one of those moments when someone makes a really good suggestion about something that would be just right for you? That’s what this felt like. The next night, a pink light cast its glow in my living room.

Credit: Courtesy of Hali Bey Ramdene

At first, the pink light was wonderful for the novelty of it all—especially when I had company over. Conversation flowed without inhibition when the lights were dimmed and a soft pink glow flooded the room. But after a few evenings of switching it on when I was by myself to read or practice yoga, something else began to happen. It became a signal for a shift in the day. The pink light was switched on and I began to wind down. 

Like so many people who are trying to find a way to make their nocturnal habits more conducive to a good night’s sleep, I’ve tried every sleep hygiene hack in the book. While I can say sleeping with the window open and limiting screen time before bed makes a huge difference, I’ve found that what I do a few hours before I’m thinking about sleep makes me feel at ease. The pink light kickstarts those habits, inviting me to leave behind the day’s work and move onto the things that soothe me. By time I make my way to the bedroom, I’m turning on the orange light I now keep in one of the lamps in that room, and that pink glow warms up to orange, and all I’m thinking about is reading in bed and falling asleep.