Lighting is one of the most important features that can break or make your home’s interior design. It is easy to distinguish great lighting when you see it but it’s difficult to figure out which one is budget-friendly. But the good news is that LED is now widely available to provide energy-efficient lighting.
How to Illuminate Your Home With LED
Lighting on a Budget: Why Shift to LED?
Other than being more energy efficient than CFL and incandescent options, LED lighting lasts much longer and doesn’t contain Mercury. Also, it provides a variety of options for light appearance and brightness.
Due to their dense shape, LED comes in all sizes and forms to cater to your lighting needs. A local LED lighting company can help you maximize this type of light to support your home’s interior design and save energy.
When using LED, it’s crucial to understand its three concepts.
1. Color Rendering
Light sources vary in their capacity to show the colors of things correctly compared to a natural light source such as the sun. The Color Rendering Index or CRI scale goes from zero to a hundred.
With the current LED technology, A CRI value of above 80 is already considered a good CRI and is suitable for most home applications. However, better color rendering of 90 which are High CRI lights is also quite desirable.
2. Light Appearance
To know if a bulb or lighting fixture creates a warmer or cooler light, you need to look at the Kelvin number. The lower the number, the warmer the light. Consequently, the higher the number, the cooler the light will be.
For general home use, a 3000K which is warm white in color is good while 4000K-5000K are preferable for laundry rooms and bathrooms. Also, take note of the following:
- 2700K is warmer (more yellow)
- 4000K – Tinge of yellow
- 5000K – Pure white
- 6000K – White with a tinge of blue
Wattage doesn’t always equal to brightness. While the wattage in incandescent bulbs has a direct correlation with brightness, this is not true for LED bulbs.
When looking for the brightness of a LED light, pay attention to Lumens. Lumen is the measurement of brightness which tells you how much light a particular bulb emits. LED bulbs with 600-lumen cans give a light equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb.
How to Shop for LED
1. Choose the brightness of the bulb by looking at Lumens.
Most lighting packaging has a label on it that contains everything you need to know about the bulb. Remember, the higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb will be.
2. Don’t look at the watts to decide on the bulb’s brightness.
In LED, watts indicate how much energy you can save.
3. Look at Kelvins to know the color or warmth of the bulb.
The LED packaging will also indicate the number of Kelvins. Kelvins will help work out if the bulb has a cold blue light or a warm yellowish light.
Your choice of Lumens and Kelvins all depends on your personal need. If you have a dark room, you may opt for brighter lights. If your home is all white, you may need to warm it up a bit with some color. Once you understand your LED preference, you’ll be able to save more on lighting costs. Just take note: the lumen is equal to light while Kelvin is equivalent to color.
Choosing LED Light for Function and Areas
Lighting is naturally categorized into ambient, accent, decorative, and task. Every category has a different purpose. When choosing a LED light for your home, it’s crucial to understand how these main light levels can balance each other.
1. Ambient Lighting
Ambient lighting is typically the primary source of light. It is also the main element that set the overall ambiance and mood of a room. They provide an even amount of light throughout a room for overall orientation and vision. Cove lighting and recessed downlights are usual examples of this.
- When you plan to install more than one type of ambient light e.g. cove lighting and downlights, pick similar color temperature for both. Doing so will ensure an equal, harmonic effect.
- Ambient lighting features with a range of 3500K to 4000K are neutral white lights that can highlight lighter colors well than warm white lights.
- Cool white and neutral light create a better contrast than warm white. They’re also a good choice for a primary ambient light in a bathroom. A cooler light will offer a more realistic impression on how an area looks like in actuality.
2. Accent Lighting
This highlights objects such as architectural features, plants, or works of art by creating contrast. It’s a concentrated light which intends to draw the eye to a focal point.
- Accent lighting creates sophistication by evoking importance to the images it highlights. This is commonly seen in historical buildings, museums, and art shows.
- If you want to highlight the architecture or design of your place, use different sizes of accent light to showcase it.
- Recessed lights are perfect for accenting a wall. Place them at the wall’s base to illuminate a texture, colorful paint or a huge window.
3. Task Lighting
This highlights a specific place in addition to the ambient lighting in the room. It provides light to an area where an action takes place such as a makeup mirror or a kitchen countertop.
- Your task light should be able to create a good contrast. You can achieve this with a neutral to cool white light in 3500K-5000K range.
- While an 80 CRI is sufficient for ambient lighting, you should consider a 90 CRI and above for task lighting.
- In your kitchen area design, use a task light e.g. cabinet light to make your food more appealing as you prepare them on the counter.
The Importance of Dimmers
A dimmer is an important tool for the task and ambient lighting. It will enable you to adjust and set light levels to create your desired atmosphere in an area. Furthermore, it gives you energy savings by lessening the electric load. When switching to LED, remember to also change your dimmer switches.
To ensure the best lighting experience and maximize your budget, use LED to illuminate any area of your home. With its energy-efficient abilities and wide variety, there’s no reason to miss out on this great technology. Pay attention to the product label and consult with a LED lighting professional for choosing the best products and installation.
Ajay Awtaney is a co-founder of Nakashi General Trading LLC, an electrical lighting company in Dubai catering to the needs of clients and projects requiring quality lighting products and solutions. Nakashi General Trading LLC today is an approved vendor of reputable organizations (Jumeirah, Engineering Office, Meraas, Musanadah, and Thumbay, to name a few) for supplying lighting products.