In the case of artificial lighting, its proper usage is often overlooked and unappreciated. The most common misconception is that as long as there is light available then nothing else needs to be done. But light, when properly placed and used, can be optimized to provide not just balanced lighting that produces less eyestrain but can also be very cost effective and energy efficient.
So how does one optimize lighting? First, we need to take a look at different type of artificial light sources.
Types of light bulbs
- Incandescent – this is the most common type of light bulb. Incandescent bulbs emit light via a filament inside that glows white hot when electricity passes through it. They are also less expensive and offer brighter and warmer light that compliments skin tone. However, the filaments also burn out faster thus the constant need to have them replace .
- Fluorescent – these bulbs discharge gas in tubes that glow when electricity is introduced. The newer compact fluorescent lights or CFLs are excellent for home use because they are more durable and energy efficient. But fluorescent bulbs sometimes cast a greenish tint especially on surfaces with brownish colour and are also less bright than incandescent bulbs.
- Halogen – these are similar to incandescent bulbs but uses different materials and gases that emit a white light that is most similar to natural daylight. Halogens are also much safer to use and more energy efficient. On the downside, halogen bulbs heat up fairly easily prompting manufacturers to include insulation that typically raise the price of replacement lamps.
- Light-Emitting Diode (LED) –while the technology has been around for decades, it has only been in the past few years that LED technology was used as a light source alternative. LEDs are small semiconductor devices that glow when an electric current is passed through them. Touted as the next standard for all our lighting needs, LEDs are boasted as the most energy efficient and durable among all bulb types. However, they are also often more expensive than the conventional ones.
Determining where to put your light
Now that we know the different light bulbs, let us take a look at different parts of a house and determine how it should be lit up.
- Outdoor–for walkways, paths,for lighting trees, or for recessed lighting,60-watt halogen bulbs work best. For porches, the 20-watt variety should be more than enough. Make sure that these are placed in such a way that they do not directly fall on anyone, rather have those facing walls or at angles that would reflect their light.
- Hallway–every hallway must have a relaxed and welcoming feel to it. To achieve this, warm incandescent bulbs should be used. A combination of an incandescent chandelier and a few sconces in the hallway walls generates a feeling of space and privacy in sharp contrast to the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
- Living room –as one of the most important rooms in the house, the living room should exude a relaxed and comfy atmosphere that encourages one to unwind and have fun. As such, lighting for this room should be flexible yet easily controllable. Fluorescent and LED lighting works best for living rooms because they provide enough light for a variety of activities. Dimmers should also be installed to provide varying light intensity. For its placement,make sure that they produce the least amount of glare by placing one directly overhead and complimented by corner lights so as to fill out the entire room.
- Dining room –meal times should be an enjoyable affair for family or guests. To achieve this, the lighting should be soft enough to produce that warm glow yet bright enough so that people can see each other’s faces as well as appreciate the food before them. Warm white LEDs with dimmers installed are perfect for this. It could be placed either in a chandelier overhead or as a track light. This should also be complimented with soft wall lights to eliminate shadows.
- Kitchen –being a work area, straightforward and plentiful lighting is recommended. Use either fluorescent or LED light and placed them evenly so that all areas are well-lit. Some kitchens however are also used as social areas. In such cases, installing a dimmer is a must.
- Bathroom –since this is used both as a utility and leisure room, bathroom lighting should have a lot of options. Aside from dimmers, there should be movable lights that could be carried or held in the hand. In the wash area, there should be enough light above the mirror that angles downward toward the person.
- Bedroom –the ultimate place for rest and relaxation. Dimmers are very important in bedrooms, but the type of bulb largely depends in individual preference. Most would opt for brighter fluorescent or LED light, but these should be complimented by incandescent bedside lamps as well as recessed incandescent bulbs.
Marketing Director of www.IllustraLighting.com Cassandra is a marketing professional with over 15 years of extensive experience leading corporate marketing and internal communications for multi-national companies in diverse industries.