This Is the Lighting System That Gets Me Through Winter

published Dec 26, 2021
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Credit: Lula Poggi

When it comes to my home, light is very important. Everything needs to be bright, but not too intense; warm, but not too yellow; natural, but only if you consider “natural” as the most beautiful sunny day — all the time. Basically, I’m Goldilocks, but there are many more than three bears I must contend with.

For years, I was proud of my light situation during spring and summer seasons. But no matter what I did, fall and winter still suffered. Once the hours of natural sun waned, skies darkened, and clouds thickened, my perfect lighting situation was no more. Without the supplement of gorgeous natural sunny light, my lamps and lightbulbs, no matter how many I tried, simply weren’t cutting it.

I had swapped out bulbs more ways than you could imagine, tested classic incandescent, energy savers, LED and antique designs alike. I went to Home Depot to look in those tiny 6-inch boxes that are supposed to emulate what the light will look like in your home. Guess what… it was never exactly what I was looking for. Some didn’t emit enough light, others had me wondering if I was back in my high school cafeteria, and some that seemed near perfect burned out after only a few months of use.

What’s more, in the dead of winter, after being on my couch for hours doing work, I would look up to realize I was sitting in the dark, having never unfolded myself from my cozy blanketed situation to walk across the room and turn on some more lights. And, faced with the realization that to do so would require a cold unfurling, waking up of my warm puppy beside me, and general — let’s be honest — annoyance of messing up the comfy repose that I had spent all day settling into, I most often found myself just unhappily choosing to stay in the dark. Hey, isn’t that what a computer screen is for?

Until one day that I found the solution to both of my problems in the Lutron system. 

Lutron is a collection of smart switches, dimmers, bulbs, etc. After my gateway drug of one plug-in switch, I was hooked. I quickly converted everything from wall switches to lamps, plug-in fixtures, and more to this magical remote-controlled system (no magic remote control required though; you can also use the Lutron app). 

I’ve used their Bluetooth-connected bulbs in lights that don’t have a wall switch, installed their smart dimmers in place of existing wall switches, and more. And not only do they allow for wall-mounted panels, but also remotes that I can keep on my coffee table, kitchen counter, and even on my bedside table. My childhood dreams of owning a clapper light have finally, basically, come true. And the conversion is pretty simple. If you’re installing the wall panel for a hard-wired ceiling like (or something similar), the process is no different than installing any kind of switch of dimmer. If you want to switch over a plug-in lamp, you just get a Lutron accessory plugs into the wall (and you plug your lamp into the accessory). And of course they also sell smart bulbs.

And, as much as the ease of a smart system has changed my life, their lights are just killer, remote control or not. They offer a ton of light with that natural, warm appeal that makes you feel cozy — on the coldest day of winter and the warmest of summer — without feeling artificial. Now, I find that my problem is less about realizing I’ve been staring at a computer screen in the pitch black and more about remembering it’s midnight and the sun has long since set when my light fixtures seem to be telling a different, more cheerful story.

Though there are many smart light systems in addition to my beloved Lutron, I highly recommend you try one on for size. I promise, you’ll never go back to your old system again.