Lighting in your home can help set the stage for everything from a quiet conversation to an elaborate dinner party. No matter what kind of atmosphere you’re looking to achieve, one thing is certain: when it comes time to replace old light bulbs or fixtures, it’s important that you make a smart decision. There are so many options on the market today, with more and more technology being released all the time. If you don’t know where to start, here are some tips that should be helpful.
Consider Your Lighting Needs
Every room in your house needs good lighting – after all, even if you’ve got swag lamps and chandeliers galore throughout your great rooms and formal dining areas, chances are you have at least one or two rooms that require less flashy, functional lighting. For example, here are few points to remember when settling on a new lamp for your living room:
- Make sure the lamp is bright enough – If there’s only one task light source in the room and it can’t handle the job, you probably want to look into either buying a bigger or more powerful lamp or adding another overhead fixture.
- You might need multiple lamps – Even if your goal is to illuminate an entire area with a single new fixture, be aware that certain types of lighting (such as ambient) will make shadows fall in different areas depending on where they’re placed; this means that some areas might too dimly be lit unless you place several lamps in the room.
- If you’re replacing a ceiling or table lamp, make sure it’s the right height – Functional lighting comes from a balance between visibility and harshness; too close to your eyes (or too high up) and the light can be overwhelming, while too far away or below your means that your environment will become shadowy. Make sure that any new lamps are at an appropriate height for their purpose.
Know The Kinds of Lightbulbs
Light bulbs can be differentiated in a variety of ways, depending on the technology that they use. There are three main types: incandescent (classic lightbulb), halogen, and LED. When you’re ready to purchase your next set of new lights, keep the following information in mind for each type:
Incandescent – A very popular bulb type that’s been around for decades; it uses a tungsten filament and produces lots of heat and soft light.
Halogen – Another well-known bulb type that’s not quite as hot as an incandescent; it works just like an incandescent with few differences – however, these should be handled with care so as not to overheat and crack the glass.
LED – An affordable type that’s easy to install; it has a very long life span and consumes very little energy. You can view more about how LEDs have been getting progressively more powerful in recent years on multiple sites. They now also feature different kinds of options.
CFL – A fluorescent bulb that’s often touted as being a “green” option because it uses less energy; it also lasts for around ten times longer than an incandescent but generates far less heat, which means they can be freely placed close to flammable objects without fear of overheating or fire. CFLs contain mercury vapor, which makes them extremely dangerous when broken (or if they’re not disposed of properly). Never use a CFL where an incandescent bulb is recommended.
Know The Types Of Lights
The lighting in your home could be functional, decorative, or both – no matter what kind of look you’re going for, the right fixtures can help make a room feel complete. Here’s a list of some of the most common types:
- Ambient Lighting – Cove lights offer ambient illumination; these are often installed in the area above kitchen cabinets or bathroom vanities, for example.
- Task Lighting – Task lamps and track lighting are perfect for when it comes time to do homework, pay bills, read a book or magazine, etc. They should be bright enough to illuminate an activity without wasting energy on unnecessary additional light.
- Decorative Lighting – Sconces and chandeliers are wonderful options when it comes to adding some flair and glamour where you need it most.
- Accent Lighting – Accent lighting can do wonders for the way that a room looks – however, be sure to only include an accent light if it’s truly necessary, and not just for decoration.
- Under Cabinet Lighting – Perfect for setting the mood in your kitchen, under cabinet lights should provide more than enough illumination for cooking or food preparation purposes.
Consider How Much Energy You’d Like To Save
If you’re trying to save money on your monthly utility bills, then LED bulbs are often a great option because they use far less energy than other types. However, if you’re buying new lights for the purpose of illuminating a room at night with minimal disturbance to others, halogen might be preferable because it doesn’t require as much energy to produce as much light.
Consider The Watts Of Your Lightbulbs
It’s important to keep in mind that all incandescent bulbs are rated by how many watts they use. Don’t assume that something is an “incandescent” simply because it looks like one – check the label on the bulb to make sure you don’t end up purchasing something that’s poorly made or designed for another purpose (or even worse – than isn’t safe or legal to use).
Different wattages have different dimming capabilities, so keep that in mind when you’re shopping around for new lights.
Keep The Colour Temperature In Mind
This is measured on the Kelvin scale, and it’s especially important to consider when choosing between LED and halogen bulbs. It basically means that there are different kinds of white light (warm and cool). To pick the best color temperature, think about your everyday activities – if most of them involve tasks like creative work or books, then a higher number will be better; if most of them happen during the day, then a lower number might be more appropriate.
Consider The LifeSpan Of Your New Lights
LEDs can last up to 50 times longer incandescents before burning out – this is thanks to the fact that they don’t have a filament. CFLs can last even longer but may need to be replaced more often depending on how much use they get and where you place them in your home.
Lighting can be a matter of personal choice, and that’s why you should carefully consider all the above aspects before making your purchase. LED might not be suitable for everyone, but it is the best option in terms of energy consumption; halogen lights are often preferable for more artistic pursuits thanks to their soft light and higher heat output; CFLs are a good choice if you want green new lights that produce less heat than incandescent bulbs and last longer, with just a couple drawbacks (high energy usage, mercury content). Remember to take your lifestyle into account as well as your monthly budget when making your final choice – you may find that one type is far better for you than another.