With romance still hanging in the air and the greetings card industry counting its takings following Valentine’s day, we’re turning our attention to how home technology can help set the mood.
The simplest way to set a romantic mood is to dim the lights, a favourite trick of restaurants of course (although sometimes I wonder whether it’s so you can’t see the food!). Add a couple of tall candles to the table, the flickering light of which makes the crystal glasses and silver cutlery sparkle, and the mood is set.
So, with nothing more than a dimmer switch it’s possible to enhance the environment and set the tone for a romantic evening. But that’s just the start, we can go much further with lighting control solutions that provide incredible flexibility and personalisation to change and set moods at will – the only limit being the imagination.
Colour has a big part to play in setting a romantic mood. We all think of the warm glow of a sunrise or sunset as a romantic time of day and it’s the oranges and reds that do this. We naturally relax when the lighting turns to a warm orange glow, a fact used in the alternative medicine field of Chromatherapy, along with other colours that stimulate different emotional responses to help treat such symptoms as anxiety and depression. Introducing warm colours into the home softens the environment, which helps decrease stress and bring on a relaxing state of mind – especially in contrast to the LED lighting that is so often installed today due to its energy efficiency, but which can be stark and cold.
LEDs can, though, also be used to great effect to provide colour changes and give almost limitless choice in the colours used to light the room. Self-adhesive strips containing red, green and blue LEDs can be fixed in place under kitchen cupboards, soffit mounted around the edge of the room, placed behind TVs and anywhere else where a wash of coloured light is required. By mixing the amounts of red, green and blue light in varying amounts, pretty well any colour can be made, including those romantic warm reds and oranges.
In contrast to the most up to date lighting available, the LED, good old-fashioned filament bulbs can also be used to provide a romantic warm glow. And the recent fashion for squirrel cage filament bulbs, available in the trendiest of lighting and design stores, is the perfect example of an old technology being reinvented for the modern age, with a twist that makes it alluring and very desirable. The dim glow these bulbs provide (they are usually fairly low wattage) is a soft, warm yellow/orange, which can evoke a comforting feeling of the ‘good old days’.
The bulbs and LEDs are just the starting point though. By using a lighting control system, different scenes can be pre-programmed for use in a whole variety of different situations. These could, for example, be scenes called ‘lights up’, ‘TV lighting’, family dinner, or ‘romantic dinner’ – each one providing a completely customisable lighting effect. By integrating the lighting control with the rest of the house technology systems, it’s even possible to link the lighting scenes to the room temperature, the automated opening and closing of curtains, the playing of specific music, or the firing up of the home cinema system. So, imagine hitting that button marked ‘romance’ and the temperature is raised a couple of degrees, the hi-fi starts playing your favourite music, the curtains are closed, and the room lights dim to a warm orange glow, save for the two spots over the dining table which perfectly illuminate your places.
It really is limited only by your imagination. If you’ve got an idea, we’ve got the know-how to make it happen. Romance, meet technology.