How To Choose Type of Lights
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Doris Younger, ASID, RID | TX Certified Interior Designer #2977

How To Choose Type of Lights

Types of Lighting

Are you confused about the different types of lighting, how they perform and when to use them? A basic understanding of lighting types and techniques will help you choose the correct type and enhance your room's overall style with the correct quality and quantity of light. When choosing the right ones, pay attention to two numbers on the product's published information: the color temperature (Kelvin rating) and the color rendering index (CRI). All bulbs are rated according to the Kelvin scale which monitors how blue or pink the light will appear. Typical incandescent lighting is between 2700K and 3000K which is warm. Compare that to daylight which is 5000 Kelvin and very cool. Halogen light is closer to 3000K and, therefore, similar to incandescent in warmth. LED's are the darling of architects and designers and the newest on the scene. As a fairly new product, the technology is changing and improving but they are available in many colors excellent for special effects and are now offered in warmer white light comparable to incandescent bulbs. The CRI monitors how accurately a light source will render color. A testing lab ranks a source on a 100 point scale. Light sources with higher CRI values will ensure your cabinets and other finishes stand out and help the room feel natural. What you want is a light that ranks at 80 or above to keep things from looking flat. So how do the different lights compare and what are the pros and cons?


Pros: Last 750 to 1000 hours Dimming can extend lamp life Color temp is about 2700K Inexpensive Cons: Least energy efficient Loses 95% of energy to heat


These bulbs offer a similar color temperature to incandescent bulbs but last longer and are slightly more energy efficient. However, they do get extremely hot. Pros: Moderate life (2000 to 4000 hours) Dimmable Slightly more efficient than incandescent Color temp is 2800 to 3100K Cons: Heat is a problem


Fluorescent bulbs are becoming the obvious replacement for incandescent bulbs as we are moving towards higher energy saving standards. Many fluorescents are now available in the 2700K to 3000K range producing a slightly warmer light. They do contain a small amount of mercury but if recycled properly, they actually cause less mercury to be exposed to the atmosphere through lowered energy consumption. Pros: Good energy efficiency Good to excellent color Dimmable Many more decorative fixture styles available Cons: Sensitive to cold Contain Mercury


LED's are the fastest growing contender in the market and ongoing research is improving the technology. LED bulbs produce about the same amount of light as a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) but LED lights are completely directional focusing their light in one direction while incandescent and fluorescent bulbs send light in all directions. This is great for task lighting but not very desirable for general lighting. The light cast by LED's is a white light closer to the color temperature of daylight although we've recently seen LED's produced in warmer white light as well. Pros: Saves money on electricity Light is comparable to the color of daylight Uses only 2-10 watts of electricity (1/3 to 1/30 of incandescent or CFL) Long lasting, up to 60,000 hours of bulb life Generates little heat Works with most dimmers Instant on/off Works in cold weather Can sustain moderate power surges Durable bulbs - no fragile filaments to break Directional lighting generates less wasted light Cons: They are still expensive but are becoming more affordable

Just for Fun with Doris Younger Designs

The evolution of furniture from utilitarian to artful is often a key to the manners, mores and means of other times and places.  In that spirit and just for fun, here are “romance” stories about some of those pieces picked up over thirty five years of studying and practicing interior design.  Are they true? I don’t know for sure but if not, I’m sure at the very least they contain seeds of truth in the development of traditional furniture styles and, as I said, just for fun……. Read More fun stories here.