Fluorescent lighting uses less energy, and so is less expensive to operate, than standard incandescent lighting. What's more, fluorescent bulbs last much longer. But fluorescent lighting has several drawbacks, that have kept it confined largely to use in offices. Most people find the light to be harsh and unflattering. It also requires a starter, so there's hesitation before the fixture is fully lit. And once lit, they tend to flicker, which can strain the eyes. Most fluorescent lights are not dimmable, and those that are require a special ballast to do so. As a result, fluorescent fixtures have not been used much in residential applications, except as garage or outdoor lights. This is changing, however. A great deal of research is underway, to develop fluorescent bulbs that give off an even, white light, and resist flickering. Companies like phillips already have a few such fixtures on the market. Because fluorescent lighting costs so much less to run, it's likely to become more and more common in the home, as it continues to improve.