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Why Lighting Design Makes Me Happy – And Why it Might Make You Happy Too

November 19, 2011


nyc "new york" city skyline lights glow night

A few nights ago I had the good fortune to run across a good friend who I hadn’t seen since I left grad school almost six months ago. We quickly got to chatting about life updates, and I started filling him in on the details of my new job (which I started almost three months agohow time flies). As I rattled on about new projects and learning experiences he stopped me and made an observation that, unexpectedly, hit me like a ton of bricks.

“You look really happy,” he said.

I paused. I hadn’t really thought about it lately. And then there was a moment of instant clarity, as if the clouds had parted and a ray of sunshine had suddenly burst through …

I realized: I am. I’m very happy.


Why am I so happy?

I’m happy because good lighting makes me happy.

It’s made me happy since I was a kid.  When I was younger I used to love running around the house in the hour before my parents’ dinner parties, making sure that the house looked its best for visitors. How? By setting the mood. Christmas lights, party lights, candles, disco balls — you name the occasion, I had the right lighting to make it sparkle.  You should have seen my toy trunk … or rather, lighting trunk. (Yikes. That’s embarrassing.)

Anyway, the reason I did this was twofold:

1) I wanted to ensure the house looked it’s best so our friends and guests would feel welcome in our home.

2) I wanted to make the occasion feel special, out of the ordinary, unique.

I somehow knew that creating an environment that people feel comfortable in, or feel excited to be in, would bring people together — which I loved to do.


Fast forward ten to fifteen years later, and I find myself doing the exact same thing – creating environments that bring people together using light – and it’s still making me happy.

I’ll bet good lighting makes you happy too, even if you don’t realize it.

Think about it. Who isn’t happy while:

– Having a candlelit dinner with your family or significant other?

– Sitting in front of a warm fire?

– Curling up with a book under a reading lamp?

– Eating out at a favorite restaurant?

– Watching a vivid sunset?

– Decorating the house with lights for the holidays? (Well, unless that kind of thing drives you bonkers, which is totally acceptable.)

Think about places that have brought you close together with friends, family, or significant others. What was the atmosphere like? Was it intimate? Exciting? Dazzling? Does the memory make you smile? I’ll bet the light, or lack thereof, had something to do with it.


If not, I hope I at least made you crack a smile with the number of times I used the word “happy” in this post. (Aha! Gotcha.)

All I know is that it makes me happy to create environments that bring people together and make them happy.

… And I’m incredibly thankful to my friends and family who have encouraged me to get to where I am today. I couldn’t be happier.

HAPPY Thanksgiving!



  1. November 20, 2011

    Beautiful . 🙂

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