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The Fundamentals of Lighting

Discover the breadth of options available and understand what will work best within your space.

Getting to Know You: Lighting Basics

Lighting is a crucial aspect of interior design and can impact the look, feel, and functionality of a room. There are three main types of lighting: task lighting, accent lighting, and ambient lighting. Task lighting provides focused light for tasks, such as in the kitchen or office. Accent lighting highlights decorative elements such as artwork or exposed beams. Ambient lighting illuminates an entire room, serving as general light for the space. It's important to consider the activities that will take place in a room to determine what type of lighting is needed and then add additional lighting elements as needed.

Watt Are You Talking About: A Guide to Light Bulbs

Lighting options have evolved over time with advancements in energy efficiency, lifespan, and design. Below are the different light bulb options:

Incandescent bulbs provide warm, ambient lighting but are less energy efficient and have a shorter lifespan compared to other options.

Halogen bulbs are slightly more energy efficient than incandescent but are outperformed by LED.

Fluorescent bulbs consume less energy than incandescent but have a poorer color rendering.

LED (Light Emitting Diodes) bulbs are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and versatile, and can also be connected to the internet in the future.

Xenon bulbs are more efficient than halogen but less so than LED.

Metal halide lamps are commonly used in outdoor and industrial settings and produce lighting through the stimulation of metal halide compounds.

Fixture Upper: Types of Lighting Fixtures

Discover the different types of lighting fixtures, here.

Control Freak: How to Control Your Lighting

There are various ways and reasons to control your lighting, ranging from simple and affordable options such as outlet timers, to advanced and more feature-rich options such as smart devices and control panels. It’s energy efficient, it’s cost saving. Dimmer switches allow for light output adjustment, daylight harvesting combines dimmers with daylight sensors for automatic light adjustment, smart devices can be controlled from a phone app, light sensors can activate lights based on time or movement, and control panels allow for adjusting light from a central location.

Efficiency Expert: Benefits of Energy Saving Lights

LED lights are more energy efficient and cost-effective compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. They use 84% less energy, have a longer lifespan (up to 25,000 hours for a bulb), and reduce energy costs over time. LED lights are also available in various colors, including a warm, incandescent-like glow. They are especially useful in air-conditioned or refrigerated spaces, as they emit less heat. Many states and utility companies offer cash rebates for switching to LED lighting, making the investment more attractive.

Not the Brightest Bulb: Wattage vs. Lumens

Watts measure the power consumption of a lighting system, indicating its running cost. Higher wattage means higher energy consumption, which is why a traditional incandescent bulb requires a higher wattage for brighter light. LED lights, however, are more energy efficient and can deliver the same lighting output as an incandescent bulb with a lower wattage.

Lumens measure the brightness or total lighting output of a bulb. When you want a brighter light, you look for more lumens.

Luminous efficacy is the ratio of lumen output to watts consumed. It measures the efficiency of a lighting fixture and is expressed as lumens per watt (lm/W). LED lights have a higher luminous efficacy compared to incandescent lights, making them more efficient. Most LED lights have a luminous efficacy of over 100 lm/W, while incandescent lights are typically in the range of 10-20 lm/W.

Flip Your Switch: Choosing Dimmers vs. Switches

Control light flow with dimmer switches for energy savings and mood setting. However, ensure compatibility with bulbs and avoid use with motor-powered fixtures. Budgetary note: dimmers are pricier than regular switches, so limit usage to necessary areas and check FLOS manual before installing.

Your LED IQ: How to Avoid Mistakes When Buying LED Lights

When buying LED lights, it's important to know the following:

  • Lumens matter: Look for the number of lumens, which is the measurement of brightness. For example, a 2600-lumen LED bulb is equivalent to a 150W incandescent bulb, but only uses 26W, saving 83% in energy.
  • Color options: You can now find LED bulbs in a variety of colors, including warm yellow, neutral white, and even blue.
  • Cost: LED lights cost more upfront, but they last longer and save money in the long run. Make sure to research reliable brands and look for a UL label to ensure safety.
  • Dimmer compatibility: Not all LED lights work with dimmer switches, so check the labels and make sure both the bulb and dimmer are compatible.
  • Fixture compatibility: Some fixtures are not suitable for LED bulbs, and some can cause irreparable damage.
For Your Consideration: What to Consider Before Buying Designer Lights

Before buying a designer light, consider electrical installation, size & style, type of design, other lamps in the space, and the designer. Ensure your home's electrical work is updated and compatible with the new fixture. Determine the purpose of the lamp and its compatibility with other lamps in the space. Research the designer and their style to ensure it fits your taste.

LED 101: Facts About LED Lights

LED lights or Light Emitting Diodes are innovative light sources that use electronic components called diodes to produce light directly.

Can you use LED lights in any lamps or fixtures?

You can opt for a brighter, modern lamp over the usual yellowish warm light. But not all lighting fixtures can use LED lights because of the heat entrapment – be mindful of your LED purchases for fixtures. However, make sure that your chosen lights are compatible with your lighting fixtures —otherwise, their lifespan will be short, making your investment not very valuable.

How do LED lights work?

Light is produced using a semiconductor through a process known as electroluminescence. The energy band gap of this semiconductor determines the color emitted by the light.

What are the benefits of LED lights?
  • You can choose any color compatible with the theme of the room! Since they are not naturally white light sources, they emit monochromatic light. Recent innovations in its technology have made it easier to achieve a desirable “golden glow” that mimics an incandescent bulb. And, they are easily found in any color that you or your interior designer prefer.
  • You can set different moods in the same room by using dimmable LEDs.
  • They consume up to 90% less energy than traditional lights
  • They are safer and reduce the risk of burns.
  • Easier to install and sturdier, thanks to the epoxy lenses.
  • Ideal for both industrial and commercial uses.
  • It is lightweight and small in size.
How long do these lights last?

The lifespan of these lights is more than 25,000 hours for a bulb, 50,000 for a tube, and 50,000-100,000 hours for integral LED fixtures, as opposed to the 1,000-hour lifespan of a traditional incandescent bulb.

How to Choose LED vs Halogen Lights

You’ve found the perfect lamp—so, do you put an LED or Halogen bulb in it?

See the article for more details here.

CRI: What is the Color Rendering Index?

The CRI or Color Rendering Index is a measure of how well a light reveals the true colors of the objects it illuminates, especially in comparison to the way a natural light source would. In plain language, does a light make an object look orange when it’s generally red? The CRI would be low.

The index ranges from 0-100 and indicates a “truer” rendering the higher the number will be. Natural light, for example, would be 100 CRI. CRI values are often listed as CIE Ra values on commercially available lighting products.

What’s a UL Certification?

UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, an organization that is considered the world leader in product safety testing and certification. A UL Certification or the UL Listing Mark, usually denoted by a circle with the letters “UL” inside of it, indicates that a product has been tested and that it meets the UL’s requirements and standards of safety.

What is LED Binning and how does It work?

LED binning is a crucial step in the manufacturing of LED lights. It ensures consistent performance and quality by grouping LEDs with similar properties into bins. The process involves measuring and testing individual LED chips to determine their brightness, color, and voltage characteristics. The LEDs are then sorted and grouped into "bins" based on these properties, with each bin representing a specific range of performance specifications.

This process helps manufacturers to match the LED light output, color temperature, and voltage, ensuring that all the lights in a particular bin have similar properties. This leads to more accurate and consistent lighting and allows manufacturers to sell LED lights in specific categories, making it easier for customers to choose the right LED light for their needs.

Learn about lighting material and finishes

Luxury lighting fixtures can enhance the look and feel of a space by using the right materials and finishes. Popular finishes for lamp bodies include metals (bronze, gold, nickel, steel, etc.), powder coats, wood-based finishes, and other materials (glass, ceramic, resin, etc.). Design finishes can range from painted to alternative metals to acrylic. Lamp shades can be made of materials such as linen, silk, or burlap. Combinations of different finishes can include wood & metal, metal & cement, or stainless steel & glass. When selecting a lighting finish, consider matching it with a prominent light, layering lights, using contrasting in moderation, and following a theme. The latest trends in lighting finishes include matte black, clean metals, wood, and acrylic.