The Best Light Bulbs for Each Room in Your Home
Different rooms benefit from different light bulbs
I've put together a large amount of information on light bulbs and specific room lighting, and I hope you find it useful.
Each room in a house can benefit from different lighting. From the kitchen to the laundry room and everything between, it's a good idea to consider a variety of light bulbs to find the one that you like best. I have some opinions of my own which I will provide here to give you some ideas.
With consideration for the energy policy act of 2007 (EPACT) which created energy efficiency standards for incandescent light bulbs (banning some of the most inefficient) in 2012, I will focus on energy efficient light bulbs such as compact fluorescents and LED light bulbs.
The kitchen is a room where lighting has great impact. It is all too easy to make mistakes in food creation with the wrong lighting, so choosing the right light bulb is very important. LED light bulbs could very well become the best in this area with their specific zone lighting, but compact fluorescent light bulbs are an excellent choice if you don't have billions to spend on LED technology.
Light Your Kitchen with LED Light Bulbs
You can find LED light bulbs in a variety of color temperatures. For a kitchen I would recommend a higher color temperature around 5000K to 6500K (6500K being daylight color) with as high a CRI as is reasonable to purchase. CRI is an acronym for Color Rendering Index, which is a measure of how "true" colors show up under the light of any given light bulb. As an example, the sun has a CRI of 100, so anything above 80 will represent colors very close to the way they show up in natural sunlight.
Ovens Still Use Incandescent Light Bulbs
An especially important place where you need good lighting is the oven. If you have a poor quality light bulb in your oven it can cause foods to appear under or overcooked, which throws a nasty wrench in the perfect meal. To my knowledge, specialty incandescent light bulbs are still needed for oven light bulbs; these types of incandescents will likely be safe from the incandescent ban of 2012.
The best light bulbs for kitchens will be high CRI with relatively high color temperatures. Specialty incandescent light bulbs with high CRI are best for ovens.
The bathroom is another example of a room requiring unique lighting. As a room where a person generally decides whether or not they are looking suitable to leave the house, it needs to have the right tone of light. While high color temperature daylight bulbs are great for kitchens and other rooms, the bathroom benefits from lower color temperatures closer to the light of incandescent light bulbs.
Consider Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs for Bathrooms...
Compact fluorescent light bulbs with color temperatures around 2700K best match incandescent light, which has long been the light under which we scrutinize ourselves. "Warm" light is optimal in bathrooms because our skin simply appears better under it. Though it is probably a topic for another hub, the way we think we look is often more important than the way we actually look.
...or Let LED Light Bulbs Light the Lavatory
This is another application in which LED light bulbs would work very well. A few low-watt LEDs above a mirror directed at an angle would be perfect to illuminate face and hair. I would again recommend lower color temperature light bulbs. Your current best bet for energy efficient bathroom lighting would be compact fluorescent light bulbs.
If you prefer incandescent, then halogen light bulbs are also an option to consider.
The Living Room or Family Room
Some call it the living room, others call it the family room, but at its base this room is simply a lounging zone. While I prefer daylight compact fluorescents for every room, most other people seem to prefer warmer color temperatures. As a place that often has crazy obstacles like coffee tables and ottomans it's important to have good, wide lighting in a living room.
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs, Versatile and Energy Efficient
I would recommend compact fluorescent light bulbs for living rooms, as their excellent light spread provides the illumination you need to avoid falling victim to those tricksy coffee tables and ottomans. Color temperature in this case is really up to preference; as I've said before I enjoy daylight (6500K) lamps which provide a bright white light with a slight tinge of blue. This kind of light coming from a light bulb is fairly uncommon, so if you prefer more traditional light you would want to peruse color temperatures around 2700K to 3500K. That's a good range of warm color temperatures for any living room.
The Media Room
I remember in years past when a TV was the entire entertainment center, speakers included, and it usually just sat in the living room. Nowadays we have these separate "media rooms" with monstrous flat screen TVs and stereo systems and DVD/Blu-Ray players, massive arrays of technology that astound the mind.
Dimmable Light Bulbs Make Media Rooms Magic
I've found that dimmable light bulbs fit media rooms best. A little ambient light can help eye strain, and it's also nice to have if you need to leave the room for any reason. You can find dimmable compact fluorescents now that match up splendidly with old dimmable incandescents. A warmer color temperature once again is optimal, as it matches the color temperature of most movies and television. This synergy of color temperature makes for a very pleasant atmosphere while watching movies or playing video games.
Less fixtures are required for media rooms, as there is generally a reasonable amount of light produced by the TVs and monitors, etc. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are great in media rooms because their energy efficiency can help offset the immense energy usage of entertainment centers.
More to come!
I'll touch on the other rooms in my next hub; basements, garages, bedrooms, home offices, etc. Come back soon!