Day 7 – What Lightbulb is That?

Light is EVERYTHING to a stylist/designer. The quality and colour of light affects every aspect of your home, from mood to the colour of your vegetables! Which are the best lightbulbs you ask.

The light bulb market has gone through enormous change since traditional incandescent bulbs were removed from the market. Energy saving bulbs are great, but I almost feel like I need a degree to select the right one. Here, we take you through the basics of getting the perfect bulb.

1. Choose a light bulb with the right fitting

Sounds simple right! How many a shopping trip has been thwarted by the lack of this critical piece of information? There are an awful lot of fittings to choose from so, if you can, take the old bulb you are replacing to the store with you. But if you can’t do that, then use the graphic below, which shows some of the most common fittings. You will need to write down the fitting reference number and take it along to match with the packaging on the box of your new bulb.

bulb fittings to help you out

2. Get the right light bulb brightness and colour

Decide what type of light you’d prefer. This breaks down simply into brightness, otherwise known as watts or lumen output. Then the colour of the light, measured on the Kelvin scale. Don’t be put off by these technical terms – here is a short explanation of each. The best lightbulb is really an indivual choice.

Watts and lumens (brightness)

In the past, when nearly everyone filled their homes with incandescent bulbs, brightness was measured in watts. Since the introduction of energy-saving bulbs, this is a less useful measure of brightness. New bulbs use a lot less power to produce the same amount of light. So, instead, light output is measured in lumens. The higher the number of lumens, the brighter the light.  Use this chart to see equivalent watt and lumen output for old-style incandescent and the types of energy-saving bulbs (LEDs, halogens, CFL).

Brightness of your lightbulbs

As a rough guide, around 400 lumens would be suitable for a bed-sized table lamp. You might want between 1,500 and 3,000 lumens in total (from more than one bulb) for a good-sized living room. Now you have decided on how bright you want your bulbs, you need to decide on the colour of the light. This is really important when determining the best lightbulbs for your home.

Kelvin scale (colour of light)

Many of us have felt the sinking feeling of getting a new bulb home, switching it on and being bathed with a stark white or bluey light. 😣The colour of light is measured on the Kelvin scale, which is actually a measure of temperature.

Bulb manufacturers often refer to ‘colour temperature’ on the packaging. Most people have become used to the warm yellowy light given out by the old incandescent bulb, which is 2,700 on the Kelvin scale. Midday sunlight is about 5,500k, sunset or sunrise lighting is around 2,500k and a candle is around 1,600k. 

Colour temperature for your light bulbs

3. Find the best shape

Now you have your bulb fitting and the colour and brightness in the bag, there is the shape of the bulb. Again, there is a bewildering variety and different brands have a subtly different look and characteristics. 

See the graphic, below, for the most common shapes. If you are just replacing a blown bulb, it’s useful to take the old one to the shop to match it with ones on the shelves.

Each of the different shapes provides a slightly different spread and angle of light. This ranges from the almost 360-degree spread of a globe or golf bulb, to the narrow beam of a spotlight. The ‘right’ shape of the bulb and spread of the light is essentially down to your personal preference.

Ensure to consider how the bulbs will look when they are switched off as well as on, and whether they will fit sensibly in the location. For example, you wouldn’t want a large stick shape if it will protrude from the top of your bedside lamp.

Light bulb shapes

How do your bulbs stack up? Have your work out the best lightbulbs for you home? Personally, the only place I like to see cooler bulbs is in the kitchen. 😉 Happy shopping! Hate shopping and need help? Call me 0416 265 836