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Which light source should I pick?

The choice of colour for your light source can have a big impact on your home décor's appearance as well as your own mood and performance. For home use, the light's colour nuance and light source is usually a matter of taste and there is no real right or wrong.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you choose the light source you want:

 

  • Should the light source be dimmable?
  • Should I have a matt or clear light source?
  • Which colour temperature do I want? (Kelvin)
  • How strong a light do I want? (Lumen)
  • What do I think about spot light sources?

Dimmable or regular light source

If you want to go for a dimmable light source, it should fit the type of dimmer you have. If you have a wall-mounted or corded dimmer, the light won't work without a dimmable light source. Remember also that weak incandescent lights work poorly with dimmers.

Matt or clear light source

Matt light sources are good for light fixtures with white or coloured glass – that way the lampshade gets an even light – and the same goes for a polycarbonate lampshade. If the lampshade is see-through, a clear light source will look prettier. Simpler light sources also create beautiful patterns through openwork lampshades.

The colour of the light (CRI)

The colour temperature of the light is measured in Kelvin units (K) and the light source's ability to reveal the true colour of objects with the Colour Rendering Index (CRI). The colour temperature (K) and the colour rendering capacity (CRI) affect our way of understanding colour temperatures in our surroundings and how we read a certain mood. If you want a bluer and colder light, go for a high kelvin count. The CRI shows the light source's ability to render colours. Colours are rendered best at a CRI of 100, whereas a CRI of 0 renders no colour at all, leaving us to see black and white.

2,700–3,000 K gives a relaxing, warm light suited for living rooms and most homes. This amount creates a soothing atmosphere and brings out warm tones, for instance in wooden surfaces.
Over 4,000 K gives a white light that works well with workspaces, reading lights, or by other work areas such as the kitchen.
Over 6,500 K gives a bluish colour much like the one we see outdoors during clear weather. Daylight is great for precise work, such as jewellery crafting, textile work, or doing makeup.

What is lumen?

People used to select their light source based on its wattage, which actually measures power usage. Today, we use lumen to state how strong a light actually shines. See how incandescent bulb wattage roughly translates to lumen below:

 

  • 15 W corresponds roughly to 90 lm
  • 25 W corresponds roughly to 200 lm
  • 40 W corresponds roughly to 450 lm
  • 60 W corresponds roughly to 800 lm
  • 75 W corresponds roughly to 1,000 lm

Spot light sources

When choosing spot light sources, it might be a good idea to think about light spread. Check the lamp's opening angle, e.g. 36D = 36°. A greater value leads to wider light spread, while a smaller value means the light is directed to a narrow surface.

Why choose LED?

 

Ever since the added energy efficiency requirements of autumn 2018, most halogen lamps have disappeared from the EU market. LED lamps are sustainable, don't use much energy, and can mostly replace halogen lamps. These days LED light sources even look like traditional halogen lights.

 

Halogen light sources have mostly been used in spotlights, chandeliers, and dimmable fixtures in private homes. There are now efficient, economical, and dimmable (check dimmer compatibility) LED replacements for all these purposes.

 

The advantages of LED

 

LED uses less energy

LED lamps use 80–90% less energy than incandescent and halogen lamps.

 

LED has a long lifespan

The lifespan of LED light sources is usually between 15,000 and 50,000 hours, which corresponds to about 2–10 years, depending on how much you keep it lit. Incandescent lamps have a lifespan of around 1,000 hours and halogen lamps of around 2,000 hours, respectively.

 

LED light sources don't heat up

LED light sources only emit very little heat or none at all, which is great for safety; this way there is no risk for heat damage or fire.

 

LED light sources are available in different luminosities and colour temperatures

Choose from a variety of different luminosities and colour temperatures depending on what you want to do and what kind of mood you want to create.

 

LED lights up straight away

Unlike other energy-saving light sources, LED luminosity immediately jumps to 100%.

 

LED is environmentally friendly

LED light sources have long lifespans and use less energy, which makes them an eco-friendly choice. LED light sources also don't use mercury, which other light sources do.

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See also

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