Lighting living rooms

Recommendation 154
Provide even and subdued lighting of the whole living room while avoiding abundant / stark light, fluorescent lighting and drop shadows

Chapter (theme)
Installations and appliances (lighting)

Because of
sensory oversensitivity, limitations of the imagination, social and communicative limitations

In order to
take the above over-sensitivities and limitations into account, while facilitating social functions of the living room.

If and when possible sufficient daylight is to be preferred. See the theme ‘light and sight’ and the accompanying recommendations.

When artificial light is concerned, overview and safety are served by soft and even illumination of the whole room. This way a clear visual structure is enhanced. Strong light from too few light sources, creates annoying drop shadows of, for instance, furniture. Dark area’s or shadows may be difficult to interpret for some people on the spectrum, because of limitations of the imagination. They may be seen as a hole in the floor or the wall. (See recommendation 153.) Additionally, changing one element in a whole may lead to the perception of a whole new situation, so in the evening people may not recognize the room they know by day. Hence a preference for subdued and soft lighting.
Because light preferences may change (e.g. much in the beginning and later, once accustomed to the room, or in another mood, less) dimmers on all fixtures are advisable.

Fluorescent lighting is dissuaded because of the – often perceptible – flicker and also because of the disturbing humming. As discussed in the theme ‘lighting’ Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL’s) is no viable alternative. Traditional incandescent lighting seems the best alternative, but is hard to come by since the EU prohibited its sale. LED is probably the best choice, although there are individual complaints. Halogen is probably good too.
Fortunately, in the case of independent living, the possibilities are usually abundant.

It is advisable to create a semi-private area in the living room for the autistic family member which can be aided by task lighting. In it the individual can seclude him- or herself or partake partly in social activities. Besides, such illumination can facilitate the division of functions/activities in a (spacious) room.