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Types of lighting

There are so many different types of light bulbs and lighting options and each serves their own purpose and has their own positives and negatives. First you should know a bit about how light bulbs run.

Watts and lumens

When looking at lights you will hear a lot of talk about lumens and watts; lumens are the amount of light emitted from a bulb, so the more lumens the brighter the light and a standard 100-watt bulb produces 1600 lumens. Watts are the amount of energy a light bulb uses, so the lower the watt the lower your electric bill would be. At the end of the day you want to find a light bulb that has a high level of lumens and a low level of wattage.  You can generally find out the amount of wattage and lumens a bulb has by looking at the lighting facts label that should be on every light.

Colours of light

It is also good to know the different light colours. The colours of a light bulb are measured on the Kelvin (K) temperature scale. The lower the kelvin number the more yellow the light would be, while the higher the kelvin number the whiter the light would be.  There are three main types of light colours:

  1. Warm white- 2500K-4100k (standard colour of incandescent bulbs), which is best for bedrooms, living rooms or dens.
  2. Bright white or cool white- 3500k-4100k which is perfect for areas like kitchens, workspaces and bathrooms.
  3. Daylight- 5000k-6500k- this is the whitest and is generally best for reading in.

Types of lighting

Professionals lighting designers refer to three different types of light- General or ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. Each again has their own specific function as shown below;

  • General or ambiance lighting- This type of lighting provides an area with overall illumination, it provides a comfortable level of brightness and enables you to perform tasks and move around safely. General lighting indoors can be achieved through the use of chandeliers, ceiling or wall mounted fixtures, recessed or track lights and floor and table lamps. Outdoor lighting can be achieved through spotlights, hanging fixture, post lanterns, wall lighting and recessed fixtures used in overhanging structures.
  • Task- Task lighting helps you to perform specific tasks and activities like reading, writing, cooking or homework. This type of lighting is generally achieved through recessed and track lighting, pendant lighting, portable lamps or desk lamps. This type of lighting should be free of any glare and shadows and should be bright enough to prevent eye strain.
  • Accent- This is the use of concentrated light on an area of subject to create a visual point of interest. Accent lighting is often used to spotlight architectural features, paintings, plants, sculptures or collectibles. It adds an extra element to the room and proper use of accent lighting can help make a room look larger. Creative effective accent lighting typically requires at least three times as much light on the point as the general lighting around it.

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