Light bulbs can have a major impact on how your home will look like and feel. Many home owners don’t give this matter much thought, but if not done properly, lighting can create a damp feeling in your home and can enormously affect your emotional well being. Studies have found that light has a significant impact on the physiological as well as psychological well being of the people living in the house. So, whenever you want to install new lighting in your home, be sure to make the right choices with your well being in mind.
As we have seen, lighting is not just a decoration thing, and it can interfere with your sleep schedule and your brain power.
Choosing the right light bulb for your home is also not an easy task, as the market is filled with a wide range of LED light bulbs. How do you pick the right bulb for your home? It is not hard. Simply take your time to think about how you often use your light in different rooms of your home. For example, a bright bulb is perfect for your study room and gentle glow bulb for your bedroom or bathroom.
Different rooms in your home will demand a different type of light. Therefore, to optimize the lighting in your home, establish how each room is used.
How to choose the best LED light bulb for any room
Types of LED light bulbs
Recently, LED bulbs have rapidly evolved in order to adapt to the demanding home décor market. There are several LED light bulbs you can purchase today for your home, including:
- A-line LED light bulb which replaces the traditional incandescent bulbs. These types of bulbs are suitable for floor and table lamps.
- Specialty bulbs are designed in different sizes, shapes and beam angles so they can be easily used in fixtures as well as recessed down lights.
Step #1: Consider how you use each room
Each light in your home serves a particular purpose, which is generally task, ambient, and accent.
- Ambient or general lighting is the overall lighting of a given room in your home. This type of light is considered the ‘natural light’ of the room, and it illuminates the entire room. To achieve the maximum ambiance in your room, consider using pendant light, chandelier, wall sconces, or track light.
- Task lighting, as the name hints are used in rooms where you perform trivial tasks, such as study room or work desk. This light is usually brighter than the general light of the room, so you should consider using contrast to focus the light in that particular area. Track and pendants lighting can be perfect for task light, although the most used are the under-cabinet kitchen lights and desk lamps.
- Accent lighting accentuates the specific area of your room with specific item or object, such as an art on the wall or a bookcase. Accent light will add a shadow around the item for dramatic effect. The common accent lights are landscape lights and wall lights.
This method can work perfectly if you know how you are going to use each room in your house and whether there are objects you would like to accentuate in the room.
After considering how you used each room, think about where the light bulb will be installed. Establish the specific locations in the room where the lighting will go, or if you don’t know how to do this, follow the following guide:
- The living room: Your living room can do with some ambient light as well as a little accent in any corner of the room. Be sure to focus the accent light on an object that you have decorated your living room with, be it an artwork or a bookcase, or a chair.
- The kitchen: Install a general or ambient light on the ceiling alongside lower task lighting to irradiate your kitchen spaces. You can also add task light to illuminate the sink.
- Bedroom: Bedroom often has a task light on nightstands. However, you should point the light away from the bed. Also, add an ambient light overhead in the bedroom, but it should also face away from the bed.
- Bathroom: Deciding the best lighting option for your bathroom can be difficult because everyone has their preferences and styles. But it should have an overhead ambient light for general lighting of the room. Add some task lights where you feel the need to, especially on either side of the mirror to avoid shadows created by the overhead light.
This guideline should give you ideas of where to place which light in which room. The light requirement will vary depending on the size of your house.
Step #2: Choosing the right LED bulbs
After deciding where you need the light in your room, it is now time to choose the source of that particular light. Thankfully, the market is packed to the brims with different kinds of LED bulbs.
When you buy an LED bulb, you will notice a new label indicating the brightness as well as how long the bulb will last, whether it meets the standards of FTC, and how much energy it consumes.
The brightness of a bulb is measured in lumens, while light appearance is measured in Kelvins.
So, when you go shopping for a new bulb, keep in mind lumens equal brightness and the light appearance equals kelvins.
What do the two features mean for you?
A LED bulb with more lumens will have brighter lights. In general, a home LED bulb should have around 800 lumens, which translates to 60 watts. How much brightness you need in each room depends on the size of the rooms, the dominant color of the walls, and your light intensity preferences. Here is a simple guideline to help you choose a LED bulb with the right amount of lumens for each room in your home.
- Kitchen (5,000 – 10,000 lumens): You bathroom needs special treatment because it is one of the most important rooms in your house as far as the well-being of your family is concerned. Layering light such as ceiling fixtures, recessed, or pendants can work well in this room. The recessed lights should be on the sides of the ceilings to reduce the shadows, especially on your kitchen counter.
- Bathrooms (4,000 – 8,000 lumens): Avoid LED lights on the ceiling of the bathroom so that you can have a clear view of your shaving. Instead, place the lights on the sides of a mirror, preferably tubular fluorescents with equal length to your mirror.
- Bedrooms (2,000 – 4,000 lumens): Your bedroom should have a lighting bulb at the center of the room to provide general light. Besides the general light, you should also have lights on the nightstands for relaxation effects.
- Living room (1,500 – 3,000 lumens): The living room can be tricky to install lights because many activities take place there. The lights, however, should include ambient, task, and accent. Ambient lighting should not be placed directly over the seating area. As for the task lighting, lamps can be perfect. You should add some accents lighting to accentuate the objects you want people to see.
- Dining room (3000 – 6,000 lumens): Avoid installing lighting bulbs above the dining chairs as they tend to cast unnatural shadows on faces. Also, size the bulbs so that you don’t bump your head into them every time you walk in.
- Home offices (3,000 – 6,000 lumens): The perfect lighting for a home office is accent lighting. You need your accomplishments to be seen clearly, even if it’s best dad/mom award. Use surface-mounted spotlights or recessed lights.
Apart from the brightness of the LED light, you should also consider the appearance of the light. Check out the label of the package for CRI, which is the color rendering index, standard criteria used for determining the quality of light. This represents how well the bulb can reflect the colors of objects in your room dependably.
Light appearance varies from warm (~2700k), neutral (~3000), and cool (~5000k). From these figures, we can conclude that the lower the value the warmer the LED light bulb. Here is where each temperature fits in your home.
Be sure to install the LED bulbs where you will use the most to save the energy. LED bulbs are also somewhat expensive that you cannot afford to be throwing them all over your house.
As you we have seen above, when shopping for LED light bulbs, go for lumens and not watts. This is because watts are simply the energy the bulb consumes and not its brightness.
Get the LED bulb with the colors you want. Nowadays LED bulbs to come in different colors as well as options. You can choose from warmer yellow-white or whiter white and bluish white.
Another thing to keep in mind when buying LED bulbs is the compatibility with the dimmer switches at home. If you don’t buy the right fit, the bulb with just flicker, buzz or fail to respond completely.
- Warm white or soft white (2700 Kelvin): This temperature is perfect for living rooms and bedrooms as they offer that warm, cozy touch.
- Cool white or bright white (4100 Kelvin): Suitable in bathrooms, kitchens, and garages for their whiter features which give the rooms bustling energy.
- Daylight (5000 -6000 Kelvin): Perfect in bathrooms, basements, and kitchens. This light temperature is good for reading, applying makeup, and or for performing other delicate tasks.
Step #3: Chose your fixtures
The right LED bulb fixture will help you optimize the brightness and the temperature of the light. The most outstanding lighting fixtures currently in the market are:
- Ceiling mount fixtures: These kinds are best for ambient lighting, and are perfect in hallways, task rooms, bedrooms, or stairways.
- Chandeliers: Chandeliers are best in the bedrooms or dining rooms for ambient lighting.
- Wall-mounted fixtures: Wall-mounted fixtures are often sconces and are usually used in any room of the house to provide accent, ambient, or task lightings, depending on the location and the type of LED bulb.
- Pendant lighting: These fixtures are used mainly for task or ambient lighting, and are typically hanged from above, equipped with shades to prevent glare. You can use this fixture over countertops, dining room tables or any other work areas.
- Recessed lighting: These are multi-purpose fixtures that will fit in any room in your house for the task, accent, or ambient lighting.
- Track lighting: just like the recessed lighting, you can use track lighting for just about anything. It is a versatile fixture because they are moveable and can be adjusted to face any area in the room. You can use it as an accent to brighten up objects you want to be seen, or just to irradiate the whole room.
- Table lamps: Table lamps provide perfect task lighting in a bedroom or accent lighting in the living room.
The type of fixture you choose will determine the type of bulb you buy. However, this has nothing to do with lighting rule, but everything to do with décor. When shopping for the fixture, you should also consider the size, or your room will look odd.
Consider this for choosing the right fixture size for your light bulb:
- Pendant and chandelier lighting: To get the right size, measure the diameter of your table and subtract 12 inches from the figure. What you get is the maximum diameter or width of an overhead light. However, some fixtures are designed with complex additional features that may appear larger.
- Table lamps: lamps should be 1.5 times or less the height of the nightstand or whatever it is sitting on, while the diameter of the lampshade should be no wider than the top o the table.
- Sconces: If your lighting is close to you, you should get a small sconce and vice versa.
You should always go for energy-efficient bulbs for exterior lighting regardless of your home heating fuel.