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Understanding light bulb ratings

Lumens

The brightness of a light bulb is denoted by its lumen rating. The higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb. And, yes, there is such thing as too much light.

The problem is, how bright a room should be is subjective and the effectiveness of a bulb is dictated by the size of the room, wall colors, light placement and other factors. So knowing where to start with brightness can be convoluted.

Fortunately, Charlston Lights provides a lumens and watts calculator for all the rooms in your home. Select the room, enter the room dimensions and your preferred illumination intensity and light placement, and select between light and dark walls. 

Click Calculate and the tool will tell you the total lumens you will need for that room.

Watts

The watts are the amount of power a bulb consumes. If you've made the switch to LED bulbs, you should be more concerned with lumens instead of watts

Incandescent bulbs use far more power than modern LED bulbs, meaning a 60W incandescent emits less light than a 60W LED bulb. Instead, to replace a 60W incandescent bulb, you'd be looking for an 8W or 12W LED bulb to get roughly the same lumen rating. 

Color temperature

Apart from brightness, you also have to consider the color of the bulbs. This is typically denoted by a Kelvin rating (usually 2,700 to 6,500) and accompanied by a descriptive name, such as soft white or daylight.

Here's a breakdown of light bulb color temperature:

  •  Warm white (2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin) is warm and yellow, the typical color range you get from incandescent bulbs. This light gives a warm and cozy feeling and is often best for living rooms, dens and bedrooms.

  • Soft white (3,000 to 4,000 Kelvin) is more yellowish-white. These bulbs are best suited for kitchens and bathrooms.

  • Bright white (4,000 to 5,000 Kelvin) is between white and blue tones. With a less cozy and more energetic feel, bulbs with this color range are best for work spaces (such as a home office or garage) and kitchens with chrome fixtures.

  • Daylight (5,000 to 6,500 Kelvin) has a more bluish tone. This light color will maximize contrast for colors, making it ideal for working, reading or applying makeup.