PURCHASING LIGHT BULBS USED TO BE SIMPLE but then again, the same goes for your morning coffee order... No longer will you find the hardware store shelves stocked with the 100 – 75 – 50 watt incandescent bulbs (which we all know and love) and unfortunately for us, real life doesn’t come with a photo filter!
So what is one to do without spending hours in the lighting aisle coupled with a fully charged smart phone to research the countless types, colors, lumens, watts, degrees Kelvin and what it all means? Warm - Natural - Daylight… LED, CFL, the list goes on. LED light bulbs are the most energy efficient and are the longest bulbs on the market which are the obvious pluses - they are also the most expensive - which can be a turnoff to some; this is where lighting is headed and where we will focus…
LET’S BREAK IT DOWN TO THE BASICS
Where is the light going and what are you looking to accomplish with the light the bulb puts out? When replacing your 100 – 75 – 50 watt incandescent bulbs, finding the comparable LED is the tricky part. You will find it easy to be within the correct wattage range, as LED’s use much less wattage, but that doesn’t mean you should go broke and purchase the highest wattage you can find. If you don’t use the correct equivalent, the bulbs will feel too bright or too dim. Lumens are what now become important; they are the amount of light a bulb produces - but that can be a bore, so for quick reference I will help you along.
- 100 watt = 14-16 watt LED
- 75 watt = 12-13 watt LED
- 50 watt = 8-9 watt LED
WHERE TO USE THEM…
If you are looking for a soft glow reminiscent of our old favorites – the incandescent – and you are using them in a table/floor lamp for overall soft room lighting, look to an LED bulb with a Kelvin temperature between 2700K-3000K. This is perfect for family rooms, living rooms and bedrooms. The distinction of “Warm White” ranging in degree Kelvin between 3000K-4000K still has a soft glow, but puts off a more white light, best for use in a kitchen, work space and bathroom. “Bright White” and “Daylight” range between 4000K-6500K - they can be quite jarring and are best used in a white bathroom or kitchen. But I have found through some R & D that the bulbs in this range are often displeasing to the eye.
Hopefully you will now feel a little less "in the dark" the next time you find yourselves among the countless choices of bulbs!
Blog written by Samantha Sopp-Wittwer | Senior Residential Designer