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LED lights are sold for every purpose you can think of these days. I think it’s safe to say LED lights are here to stay, and for good reason. They do benefit traditional incandescents in a lot of ways: they’re cooler, last longer, and use a lot less electricity.

Buying them to me was overwhelming as it feels different than when I used to pick up lightbulbs for client installation. After some research and better understanding, it really isn’t much different than buying traditional incandescent. You buy according to watts, lumens, and kelvins. You’ve probably seen watts, but you may not know what lumens and kelvins are, and how those numbers factor in buying the bulb you want.

Watts: How much energy the bulb uses. A 60-watt bulb uses more energy than a 40-watt bulb.

Lumens: How bright the bulb is. One lumen is comparable to one candle. The higher the lumen number, the brighter the bulb.

Kelvins: The color or temperature of the light from the bulb, generally ranging from 2700—5000 degrees Kelvin. The lower the Kelvin number, the warmer or yellow the light is, and the higher the Kelvin, the cooler or blue/white the light is.

What kind of bulb you buy still depends on what you need it for. For example, for reading, bulb 2,500 to 3,000 K, warm, yellow light is generally best. For a work environment, a natural light bulb 4,900 to 6,500 K is ideal.

Also, you must consider how lighting works with your space. Some questions to ask: How will the light go with the color of the paint? Will it complement the space’s natural lighting? Will the light complement, dull, or intensify the color of your space? I just completed a kitchen renovation. The contractor used a warm soft white bulb which is a normal choice for me. But the color temperature was far too yellow for all of the blue tiled backsplash. The yellow light (2700 kelvin) made everything feel dulled down and “old” not at all what as we wanted. I switched the Kelvin to a 5000 and the blue colored popped how it should. The space looked fresh and new.

Depending on the color of the materials chosen for your home projects, choosing the right color light can greatly influence the final overall success. I hope this helps you navigate the world of LEDs.


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