While planning a lighting package for a room you may be more focused on the way that a light fixture looks, but you also need to consider what type of light bulb it uses. You may be wondering why this needs to be considered because a light bulb is just a light bulb...right? There are actually many different types of light bulbs that provide different types of light. The colour of the light produced can actually change the mood in the room or even effect the colour on your walls. Some light is warm and inviting while some can be sickly or sterile. There is also the consideration of energy efficiency as some bulbs last longer and can even be less to operate. I have provided you a detailed list below of the most common bulbs available.
Types of Light Bulbs
These are the standard bulbs that you see everywhere. They provide warm light that compliments skin tone, are inexpensive and are available at every store that sells bulbs. Most light fixtures can accept these bulbs. While they do provide a warm light they are very inefficient, most of the energy used by this bulb thrown off as heat and very little is converted into light. Incandescent bulbs also have very short life spans which typically last less then 1000 hours.
These bulbs are very similar to incandescent but produce a very white crisp light. They burn hotter, last longer and are also more expensive. You can not touch the bulb with your bare hands. The oil from your skin can cause a weak spot on the glass which will shorten the life of the bulb. They also burn extremely hot so you have to be careful where the fixture is located and if its even compatible with halogen.
Fluorescent and compact fluorescent
They produce significantly more light per watt of energy than incandescent or halogen but are known for producing a sickly, sterile light. Newer fluorescent bulbs have been improved to produce a better light but can not achieve a warm light similar to incandescent. They are said to last 20 times longer but I have yet to experience one that lasts that long. Fixtures for these bulbs are more limited and can be pricier than traditional fixtures.
LED - Light-Emitting Diode
LEDs do have a higher initial cost but can last 30,000 hours and are known for surpassing that statistic. They have been designed to replace incandescent and fluorescent bulbs which means they can be used in standard light fixtures. A bright and clean light is produced and you can get them in an array of colours.
I find that the cost of the bulb is relative to the life-span. You may replace an incandescent bulb more often but you might end of paying the same as you would for a fluorescent compact bulb. I would first consider what type of light you want and where it will be going. Choose a long lasting LED for a very high light fixture that would be almost impossible to replace. If you cant reach it easily it is more likely to be left unchanged and dark. A vanity would benefit from an incandescent bulb as this is where you will be grooming yourself and are usually easier to replace. Choose the bulb that will best suit the space and your preference.
Word of the Day: CRI - Colour Rendering Index
A term used to describe the extent that a light bulb or light source is able to render a true colour of an object as seen by natural sunlight.