efficient and effective lighting: six tips to light your home

The lighting in your home can make all the difference in creating the perfect atmosphere for your family and for your guests. The way you light each room sets the tone in highlighting key design features, creating a warm inviting space and many times it dictates where you spend the most time in your home.

Keeping your home well lit may sound like an easy task but it takes more time and planning than just setting up a few lamps around your house. No need to worry if you aren’t a lighting wiz, most people aren’t! That is why we have come up with 6 tips on how to light your home in the most efficient and effective ways possible.

Consistent Coloring
Many people aren’t aware that there are dozens of color options when it comes to selecting a light bulb. Most bulbs look the same when you look at them in the hardware store but when you take them home and install them, it’s another story. To avoid a rather unsightly situation, make sure you pay attention to the temperature published on the box and to keep that consistent throughout each room. We find that keeping the lighting warm and closer to incandescent for bedrooms and other intimate areas to be best. Try cooler bulbs for task lighting in areas such as the kitchen or the garage.

Hard or Soft Lighting?
A small light source like a bare bulb or a spotlight is said to be harsh because it can create sharp shadows, emphasizes texture, and can be painful and glaring on most eyes. Soft lighting comes from a larger source and is usually indirect, often diffused through a lampshade or a frosted pane of glass. You can use hard light to highlight paintings or statement pieces in your home that you want to stand out but soft light is better in areas used for socializing and entertaining.

Example of soft lighting. Warm and welcoming without harsh shadows.

Example of soft lighting. Warm and welcoming without harsh shadows.

Direct Attention Where You Want It
While uniform overhead lighting can be helpful to light rooms that don’t receive much natural light, the down side is that they can come off sterile and lacking personality. So we recommend adding in lighting that exudes your sense of style where ever possible. Some of our favorites are rustic looking pendant lights, elegantly beaded chandeliers and luxurious looking lamps. When deciding where your lights will go, it’s important to think about what’s being illuminated and why. A well-placed spot lamp or track light can make a huge difference in how the eye engages with the piece it is highlighting. So make sure you have a plan in place before you go through all of the work to install it. But don’t forget that the light itself can also be the focal point of the room. Install a beautiful chandelier in your entryway or foyer and that will be the first thing your guests will see when they walk into your home.


Save Energy
As gorgeous and timeless as incandescent bulbs are, they’re also phenomenally inefficient from an energy standpoint. Compared to traditional incandescents, energy-efficient light bulbs such as halogen incandescents, CFLs and LEDs typically use about 25-80% less energy than traditional incandescents (which saves you money) and they can also last 3-25 times longer. These are all reasons why you should be using energy-efficient bulbs.

Know The Lingo
LEDs, CRIs, CFLs, oh my! If you aren’t a lighting expert or come from a long line of electricians you probably don’t know what half of those abbreviations mean. We didn’t either until we looked them up! But we have realized that knowing the lingo is half the battle when shopping for light bulbs. It is imperative to read the instructions on your light fixtures and to use the recommended wattage and lumens to increase the life of your bulb and your fixture. We have broken down the lingo for you here:

LED- Stands for Light-Emitting Diode. These light bulbs are the most efficient lights on the market and will last the longest as well. Highly recommend using these bulbs whenever possible.

CRI- Stands for Color Rendering Index. The color rendering index is a description of the effect of a light source on the color appearance of objects being illuminated. CRI is expressed on a scale of 1-100, with a CRI of 100 being the maximum possible.

CFL- Stands for Compact Fluorescent Light bulb. CFLs need a little more energy when they are first turned on, but once the electricity starts moving, CFLs use about 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs. This savings adds up very quickly, saving you $30 or more for each bulb you replace over the life of the bulb.

Watts- Different types of light bulbs use vastly different amounts of energy to produce the same lumens, so an important bit of information is the energy used in watts. The majority of light bulbs used to me be measured in watts on the packaging but are now found more frequently measured in lumens on the labels.

Lumens- For the average consumer, the lumens associated with each light bulb will begin to become more familiar with the new light bulb packaging. As a point of reference, a traditional 40-watt incandescent light bulb produces a light output of 500 lumens.

If you haven’t already made the switch over to LEDs or CFL bulbs, we recommend that you do that first. They will last much longer than your old incandescent bulbs and you will find yourself changing them less often.

All lighting and clothing featured in this post are available for purchase at Coco Blanca.

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