Martha O'Hara Interiors Save Email How Much Money Should You Expect to Save Switching to LEDs? LED bulbs cost more than standard incandescent bulbs. Recently, however, prices for LEDs have been steadily decreasing. The most common Energy Star replacement bulbs (A19 and 60-watt replacements) can be found at the time of this writing for about $10 at most big-box retailers. The EPA calculates the payback time of a 100-watt LED equivalent purchased at $38.12 (a 2013 price), used every day for three hours a day, to be three years, based on average U.S. utility rates. (Seeing as LED bulb costs have decreased, the payback is actually sooner.) Even better, a 60-watt equivalent purchased at $6 has a one-year payback period. The ringer is that LEDs last a long time, an eternity in comparison to incandescents. LEDs don’t burn out or suddenly stop working like other types of bulbs. Instead, they decline. Otherwise known as “lumen depreciation,” the amount of light produced decreases and the color accuracy shifts. The LED’s lifetime is based on a prediction of when the light output will decrease by 30 percent. Jantz-Sell says that the current average life span of an Energy Star-certified LE...
How to Buy LEDs You may have noticed that LEDs don’t use a conventional wattage system. Instead, they advertise the amount of light given off, in lumens, versus the amount of energy required to produce the light. For example, a 75-watt incandescent needs a 1,100-lumen LED replacement to throw the comparable quantity of light. Here’s a handy chart showing the incandescent equivalents in LED.
Dimmable LEDs This bathroom is lit by dimmable overhead LED recessed lighting. If you want to use dimmable LEDs, be prepared to try different bulbs if you have an existing dimmer switch. Not every dimmable LED bulb works well with every dimmer switch. Problems that might arise are buzzing or an inability to be dimmed at low light levels. If you’re planning to install a new dimmer switch, check the bulb company’s website first for recommended dimmers for the particular bulb, so you can get an ideal combination.
LEDs are appropriate for wine storage because they emit very little heat. Too much heat can cause a temperature imbalance and affect the quality of the wine. Before LEDs, this cellar would probably have been lit by damaging incandescents or unattractive fluorescents. Mackell cautions that fluorescents are also damaging, as they emit UV light, which is bad for wine.
LEDs are often used to highlight special architectural features, and they are available in a myriad of colors. Here, Mackell used white and blue LED cove lights over the spa area, while recessed lights between the ceiling logs graze the surface of the log columns to accentuate their volume and texture. Besides lightbulbs, there are light fixtures that have LED bulbs built into the housing for a single integrated unit. LEDs are suitable for cove lights, pendants, recessed fixtures and undercabinet accent lights
What to Use and Where While light color choice is a personal preference, “cool white” and “natural white” are good choices for general ambient light as well as for spaces that require more focused work, like kitchens and desk areas. So you can use these light colors in most areas of your home — living room, kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms and so on. The light in the workspace shown here is clean and white and also enhances the white palette of the interior. An incandescent would have made this workspace look yellow and drab. While cool white and natural white are solid go-tos for most uses, a bluer “natural” or “daylight” bulb is recommended for dedicated reading lamps.
The Color Rendering Index, or CRI, is a measurement of how accurately a light source shows color. Unlike the CCT, the CRI is not about whether the light is physically bluer or yellower, but how authentic the colors appear. They’re two concepts that seem related but are actually different. The CRI is rated on a numerical scale from 0 to 100, 0 being poor and 100 being perfect color accuracy. A CRI rating of 80 and above is considered the best category; as you can see here, the woman’s skin tones look natural in the CRI range of 80 to 100. Some but not all LED bulb manufacturers list the CRI rating on the packaging. However, Energy Star does not certify any LED bulb with a CRI rating of less than 80, so if you’re buying a bulb with an Energy Star logo on it, you know it has a high color-rendering quality.
PHOTOS FIND PROS SHOP KITCHEN BATH BEDROOM LIVING OUTDOOR LIGHTING DECOR STORIES ADVICE Lighting Decorating What to Know About Switching to LED Lightbulbs If you’ve been thinking about changing over to LEDs but aren't sure how to do it and which to buy, this story is for you Karen Egly-Thompson Houzz contributor. A former interior designer turned interiors writer,... More Email Comment46Like95Bookmark623PrintEmbed Click "Embed" to display an article on your own website or blog. Swapping out your incandescent lightbulbs for LEDs has several benefits. These include saving money on your electric bill, superior light quality, less impact on the environment and replacing bulbs once every decade or two instead of every few months. But shopping for LEDs can be a dizzying experience. Aside from the bevy of bulb shapes to choose from, there are terms you’ve probably heard before, such as lumens and Kelvin, but don’t exactly understand. On top of that, there’s a seemingly endless array of light types and colors, such as daylight, warm white and so on. When you just need a couple of lightbulbs to replace, it all can be overwhelming. If you’re t...
For People design Save Email Replacing Your Old Bulbs With LEDs Many folks don’t need specialized strip lighting but need to replace standard screw-base bulbs in ordinary table lamps. Jantz-Sell says that Energy Star verifies that the LED replacement bulb matches the performance of the bulb it is meant to replace. “So an Energy Star-certified LED bulb labeled A19 (the A-bulb equivalent) must be omnidirectional like the bulb it is supposed to replace,” she says. “A labeled PAR38, common for outdoor security lights, must direct light the same way with the same beam intensity as a halogen PAR38. The same goes for an MR16, a common small-diameter spotlight.” LEDs are flexible in that they can be used in specific, focused areas as well as for multidirectional ambient lighting.
LED Ratings As with anything else you buy, don’t expect all LED lightbulbs to be of the same quality. An easy way to figure out which ones are higher quality and meet certain standards is to look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star is a voluntary program established by the EPA to help consumers save money and protect the environment by identifying products that have excellent energy efficiency. You’ve probably seen an Energy Star sticker on appliances or other products you’ve purchased. Well, LED lightbulbs and fixtures are also labeled after being put through rigorous testing and certified by independent third parties. Only LED bulbs that meet certain standards, which will be reviewed below, receive the rating. So, selecting products without the rating means you run the risk of ending up with lower-quality bulbs or fixtures. While gravitating toward Energy Star-labeled bulbs is an easy thing to do on a consumer level, Mackell says it’s not the deciding factor for what he uses in his firm’s lighting designs. He points out that it takes time for something to go through the testing process, and because LED technology is moving so fast, the next generation of LEDs is probably s...
How LED Bulbs Differ From Incandescent Bulbs Light output versus heat waste. “LED” stands for “light-emitting diode.” While we won’t get into the nitty-gritty about how they work, LEDs are vastly different from incandescent bulbs in terms of the light output compared with the heat produced. Taylor Jantz-Sell, an Energy Star lighting program manager at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, says that LED technology converts 95 percent of the energy to light and only 5 percent is wasted as heat. Incandescents are pretty much the opposite. They convert only 10 percent of the energy into light, while 90 percent is wasted as heat. Heat produced by LED lights is absorbed into an integral “heat sink,” which prevents the bulb from overheating. Incandescents just throw all that excess heat directly into the room, which can place added stress on air conditioning systems during the summer. Flexibility in light direction. Light produced by an LED is directional or focused, whereas incandescent bulbs throw light in all directions. Directional light makes the LED more efficient because the light can be focused for specific applications. LED light strips are a commonly used type, as seen in...
Hang a pendant light. Scandinavian homes rely on great lighting to cozy up monochromatic decor and boost light levels during the long, dark days of winter. Pendant lights are a great favorite, creating warm areas of light at eye level that help make a space feel intimate. Here, a single pendant hung over a dining table produces a warm pool of light on the table. It’s a useful way to define areas within an open-plan space and pick out the welcoming dining area.
Avocado Sweets Interior Design Studio Save Email Custom pendant lights, made from brightly painted colanders, hang in the open-plan kitchen, bringing pops of color to this industrial-style space. “The owners didn’t want their home to look flashy,” Agathou says, “so we used something from everyday life. They are also massive foodies, so this idea further expresses their personalities.”
Low ceilings. The natural tendency in a space with a low ceiling can be to try to shrink everything to avoid drawing attention, but this can make the overall effect even more tight and claustrophobic. Instead, try balancing some squat pieces (like globe lights on the floor and a low-backed sofa) with some very tall items, like an overscale floor lamp, using every inch of the height that is available. This is especially effective under a slanted ceiling, because putting a light a few feet from the wall can take advantage of the extra headroom and draw attention away from the point where the ceiling is at its lowest.
Put up holiday decorations. If you like to decorate for the holidays, now is the time! Dig out the Christmas lights and test them early in the month, so you have ample time to replace nonworking strands. Hang exterior lights, wreaths and swags, being sure to use only exterior-rated lights, and plug them in safely to an outside outlet if possible.
Engaging lighting. Castagna and Genner predict that the use of smart, intuitive and engaging lights in the bathroom will become a key trend for 2015. “Bathrooms and kitchens are fixed and fitted — once you screw something to a wall or tile a floor, they’ll be there for a very long time, so it’s important to be not too trendy,” the designers say. “Be smart about your decisions and layer things well — for example, with good lighting.” What smart lighting solutions do Castagna and Genner recommend for the bathroom? “People want bathrooms that engage them, so they may want an accent light, a feature light or a sensor light that lights up their vanity or shaving cabinet once someone walks in,” they say. Sink fixtures: Gessi Goccia, Retreat Design; wall covering and Antonio Lupi shower base system: Corian; flooring: engineered oak, Salvage
Louise de Miranda Save Email Start your holiday decorating early (but keep it simple). I’m not one for going overboard on holiday decor (especially not way in advance of the holiday), but a few simple, natural pieces can bring a welcome festive air to the home. How about making your own tree branch star, like the one shown here, and wrapping it in fairy lights?
Lighting No-No: Improper lighting. Lighting in a home is often too dim or too bright. It’s best to define the task at hand and light accordingly. How to break this habit? Vary the levels and sources of lighting in a room, and by all means install dimmers. In this multiuse dining room, pendant lights are focused on the table. Whether highlighting food or books, the proper lighting makes this room a place you want to be in.
Add layers of lighting. In this kitchen seating area, the backsplash is lit, the artwork is highlighted and the cabinet interiors are filled with light. One central lighting fixture would not have had nearly the same dramatic result. Professionals build layers of lighting to create interest, intrigue and variety. In a room where everything is lit evenly, nothing stands out. Pick a focal point and perhaps a secondary focal point and highlight those. Add general ambient lighting and some lower lighting, like table lamps, for interest.