Lighting is such an important part of a house. At night, we are at the mercy of the lights in our home. Without them, we can hardly get around. And frankly, whether we choose to admit it or not, most of us are still afraid of the dark. During the day, lights are still often times very necessary and, more importantly, can be aesthetically pleasing and create a positive mood. The right type of light in a room can take a house and make it feel like a home.
Candlelit homes are very much a thing of the past, meaning light bulbs are now left with the task of keeping our homes aglow. Because of this, properly lighting a home can add up on your energy bill. With all this in mind, choosing the right light bulbs is a pretty significant decision. And with so many different light bulbs on the market nowadays, trying to decide which bulbs to buy can be a bit overwhelming. Karin Beuerlein is here to help with her article for House Logic on light bulbs. She breaks down how to choose light bulbs based on energy efficiency and beautiful light.
There are so many different things to keep in mind when buying a light bulb. Price, brightness, life, energy efficiency, light appearance, beam spread and a bulb’s ability to show off colors and textures are among the main factors to consider. LEDs, Fluorescents (including CFLs) and Energy-efficient (halogen) incandescents are the three options for home lighting and they all score differently in these categories. Beuerlein explains the advantages and disadvantages of each and how there’s a place in your house for all of them. She uses the knowledge of Lighting designer Rosemarie Allaire to determine which light bulbs are best for different rooms in your house.
Halogen incandescent lights are the cheapest of the three options so that is a major reason light bulb buyers will choose them. But they also have an aesthetic quality to them. Allaire says “Incandescent light renders color and texture beautifully.” The color rendering index (CRI) is a tool used to establish how well a light bulb shows off colors and textures. A bulb’s CRI is measured on a scale of 1 to 100. Halogen incandescents score a perfect 100 while LEDs and CFLs don’t score quite as high. Because of this, Beuerlein recommends using halogen incandescents for showing off art, task lighting and mood creation.
LEDs are the most expensive, and for this reason, many people simply consider them to be the best light bulbs for every room. They have the longest life of any of these bulbs which is a major plus, but they do have some drawbacks as well. Allaire explains that they aren’t as good as incandescents when it comes to three-dimensional light quality. Instead their lighting is very flat. In addition, Allaire says, “they’re all over the map as far as color rendering goes, and they don’t dim well, so I don’t use them in living areas or for art lighting.” With all this in mind, Beuerlein suggests using LEDs for steps and stairways, cove lighting, landscaping, holiday lighting and under cabinets.
CFLs are in the middle as far as price goes. They also fall in between LEDs and incandescents in terms of light bulb life. CFLs don’t do well with a lot of heat buildup and, like LEDs, their color rendering isn't as good as incandescents. But, Beuerlein notes that, with the correct color temperature, and in a place where air circulates freely around the bulb, CFLs can be a good choice. For these reasons, she proposes using CFLs for table lamps and drop bowl fixtures.
To read Beuerlein’s full article and learn exactly how to choose the perfect light bulb click here.
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