Before Christmas, I spent a morning in London with the Philips team and architect, George Clarke, talking all things lighting. In particular, how to best light a family home. Once upon a time (and not so far back that I can't remember, unfortunately), British homes adopted two main forms of lighting ... a 'big light' in every room, and the odd lamp here and there, more than likely situated in the living room and perhaps in the bedroom. If you were fancy, you had a dimmer switch. Oh, the sophistication!
How times have changed, right?
But did you know quite how much they've changed? And how much impact the right lighting can have ... not only on your home, but on your health, too.
It was an eye-opener, for me. And here's George to explain it.
Some of the key problems that we face in our house are:
1. We have a large open plan kitchen, dining room and sitting room. Therefore, four of us can often be in the same room but all doing different things - one of us cooking in the kitchen, the other working at the dining table, and the boys playing with Lego or perhaps watching TV. Four different tasks, and all requiring different levels of lighting.
2. The boys do so many different things in their bedrooms - sleeping, playing, homework, reading, relaxing, fighting with each other under the guise of 'tickling' - and all in different corners. They have a ceiling light in each of their rooms and a bedside lamp, but I still worry about them straining their eyes.
3. The boys are early risers and it's often still dark when they wake up. They're not ones for staying in their rooms, preferring to stamp around the house in order to attract attention instead (no reward chart on the planet seems able to solve that little 'quirk'). My first emotion is always annoyance, but closely followed by worry. Are they awake enough to put the lights on? Will they accidentally take a tumble down the stairs because it's so dark? Will a really bright ceiling light startle them and prevent them from getting back to sleep if they wake in the middle of the night?
Talking through the issues with Philips and George, they suggested trying a few different products from the Philips Hue lighting range. Philips Hue is a wireless LED lighting system. And it's so, so clever. All the lights connect via a bridge (you can add up to 50 Hue lights and accessories to one bridge) that you plug in to your router. Download the corresponding free app and you're able to control all the Philips Hue lights via your phone, making it super easy to create the perfect ambiance or the adjust the various lighting levels needed in an open plan home. You don't even have to be at home to adjust your lighting ... you can do it remotely, too.
The Hue products that we're currently playing with (and it really is like playing ... there are some really fun preset colours - I'm a big fan of Tropical Twilight) are:
- The bridge (obviously)
- Philips Hue white and colour ambience bulbs
- Philips Hue motion sensor
- Philips Hue Go
The Philips Hue Go is a portable light and possibly one of my favourite lights ever. We received two, which is a good job really, as the boys don't want to share them. Why would they when holding one in your palm is akin to having your own personal light show?! For those of you who have children that sleep, there's even a lovely 'wake-up' option which mimics the sunrise in order to wake you up gently - something I dream about but am not sure I'm going to get to experience any time soon.
I'm going write a second post about how we've been using the Philips Hue products in our home and how they've assisted with the lighting problems that I spoke to George about. We're currently trying to work out the best place for them and which settings will help us the most.
In the meantime, here's a very brief video from when we first set up the app. It's a few InstaStories meshed together, so nothing slick, but it will give you a little taste as to the fun with been having with Philips Hue.
If you have any questions, or want to know anything about Philips Hue, pop them in the comments below and I'll answer them in my next post.