Picking a light may seem as simple as just picking the style of lamp that suits your tastes like any of these maxim lighting fixtures and then getting any old bulb. While it would be nice if that were true, it is a little more complicated than that.
Bulbs come in many different strengths with differences in voltage, watts, and lumens. Knowing the differences will result in a room that is perfectly lit rather than too dark or too bright for the purpose.
You don’t have to be an electrician to know how to pick the right lighting system but you do need to know a few technical terms to understand what you are getting into. In this article, I will go over the basics of what to look for so you can choose the perfect light for any room.
The voltage matters
When you choose the wrong voltage for a bulb you run the risk of having the wrong type of light as well as the possibility of the light not working or even getting damaged.
For instance, choosing a 130-volt bulb will result in a low lumens situation in which the light will be of a lower color temperature and lack brightness. This is good in an area that needs some dim lighting that isn’t trying to replicate natural lighting.
On the other hand, choosing a 120-volt bulb for a 12-volt fixture will result in the bulb not turning on. And if you put a low voltage bulb into a 120-volt fixture then the bulb will be damaged and not work on other fixtures either.
Luckily in many new households, the voltage is 120 volts and not 12 so you should be able to use a matching bulb based on the system.
How to know how bright it should be:
The brightness of a bulb is measured in lumens. The higher the number the brighter it will be. The trick is to determine both how much light you need for the purpose of the light and then picking the right lumens rating to achieve it.
For instance, a light in a kitchen needs to be bright enough that you can see what you are doing while cooking. If you are trying to illuminate the entire kitchen then consider a bulb in the range of 3500 lumens. If you have multiple lights in the kitchen and the only one that needs to be bright is right over the stove area then you can go for a 650 lumens light that will be bright enough for that concentrated area.
Here is a quick look at what the lumens mean:
- 2700 – 2800K: Warm, yellow light
- 3000 – 3200K: Still slightly yellow, warm light
- 3500 – 4000K: A neutral, bright white light
- 5000 – 6500K: A slightly bluish, bright white light
With those numbers in mind, you should be able to pick the right bulb for the type of room you are trying to light rather than trying to guess the right watts.
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