Compact flourescent lightbulbs (CFLs) have gotten a bad rap for years, and granted, they had really poor light quality in the past. But the new generation of CFLs have consistently proven themselves to be great for indoor home lighting—in fact, a recent study showed that study participants preferred the light quality from the CFL fixtures, and that they registered better across color spectrums as well!
The n:vision soft white CFL scored particularly high with an overall "A" score on the test.
Want to try CFLs, but worried about their mercury content? Then read more
Yes, it's true. CFLs contain mercury. But not much. Unless you broke a CFL bulb, wiped the mercury up with your bare hands, and then licked your hand, you're probably going to be just fine. And that's my advice to you: Always clean up broken CFLs with gloves. But the other burning question is what's better for the environment, CFLs or incandescents. In a word: CFLs. You can get the full breakdown here, but to sum up, CFLs require a lot less energy to produce light. That means incandescents require more power. Most of this power comes from coal plants, and coal plants release a lot more mercury than CFLs do.
Bottom line: Replace your incandescent bulbs with CFLs. And check with your local utility before you do, since a lot of utilities are now offering rebates and coupons for their customers to make the switch.