Monday, August 16, 2010

Insist on Good Lighting Wherever You Go!

If you ask any designer why they do what they do, most likely they will say that they want to make the world a more beautiful or perfect place.  It's not easy to go through life noticing what is right as well as what is askew.  We notice what clashes and try to make it harmonize.  We find something that isn't as it should be and try to fix it.  As a kid I'd see a frame hanging crookedly on a wall and straighten it - even if it wasn't my house!  It upsets me to see things out of balance.

This summer my husband and I spent some long weekends visiting with friends and relatives while staying in high-end hotels, budget motels and B&B's.  They all have different features, however, they have one thing in common; a lack of attention to how their guests use lighting.  As a matter of fact, even if a guest room  has been well planned, after a while it often deteriorates one checks them again.  We all bemoan the fact that lighting is so important, yet we're willing to accept substandard lighting elsewhere.  Here are a few of my pet peeves....

1 - Missing finials. The lampshade falls off when reach over to turn it on.
Solution: Routinely check that they are tight or not missing.
2 - Low wattage bulbs for reading at bedside or on the desk.
Solution: Supply high-wattage bulbs with dimmers.
3 - Bedside lamps are centered on the nightstand but are too far away to be useful.
Solution: Give us slack on the cord so we can move it closer if necessary.
4 - Missing or blown-out bulbs and there are no replacements available.
Solution: Leave extra bulbs in the closet labeled with where they go.
5 - Incorrect or insufficient bulbs.  Housekeeping could care less what they've stuck in any socket.
Solution: Label or color-code replacement bulbs for the staff.
6 - A lamp is unplugged and the cord cord or receptacle is stuck behind a piece of furniture.
Solution: Check daily that everything is working!
7 - Two and three-way switches that never seem to coordinate with each other.
Solution: Label all unusual or multi-ganged switches. 
8 - Full length mirrors and mirrors over dressers that are in the dark.
Solution: Install a light above the mirror.

Lamps centered on nightstands look good but
are too far to reach and don't give adequate light.

 A good example of lighting above a mirror and
 cove lighting adds ambient warmth to the room.

Also, it's so tempting to leave the lights on when we don't have to foot the bill.  So where is our sense of sustainability as consumers?  US hoteliers should install the systems used by Europeans which automatically sense that you have left the room, and turn everything off.

Now that there are mandates for hotels to use CFL's, it would be great if housekeeping staffs replaced each bulb with the same kind.  It is sickening to apply makeup or read in green light, knowing that there are fluorescents available in the same color temperature as incandescents. 

It surprises me that housekeeping supervisors and hotel managers do not review  room lighting on a regular basis.  Perhaps they should spend a night in one of their own rooms. What do you think?