Advice On Choosing LED Lights When Remodeling A Home

LED Lights Are An Ideal Choice For Home Remodeling

Learn About "Light Emitting Diode" Lighting

When it comes to remodeling your home, you'll need to make many decisions. From finishes, and colors, to materials, and lighting, a home remodeling project gives you the ability to design and create your ideal living space. 

Lighting is a critical element of any home design. Lighting options have grown in recent years. New technology has provided homeowners the opportunity to conserve energy and create a lighting design that can enhance your home's aesthetic.

LED lighting solutions are becoming a popular choice among homeowners. Today, there are more LED products and alternatives available to homeowners than there ever have been for incandescent and CFL energy-efficient bulbs.

Many LED products look just like any other incandescent or fluorescent bulb. New technology, the range of products available, new terminology, and the fact that LEDs are a reasonably new product can make switching to LED lighting a challenge.

Let's take a closer look at LED technology, and why switching to LED lights may be the right choice for your home.

Why Make the Switch to LED Lights?

LED lights offer homeowners several benefits. First, they are much more energy-efficient than other options like CFLs and incandescents. They also have a much longer life-span, needing less frequent replacement. Unlike many “environmentally smart” options, LEDs contain no mercury and like CFLs provide more options for brightness and color (warm and cool options).

Another great feature is that LEDs don't just come in the traditional shape. Because of their compact shape, LED lighting solutions come in all shapes, forms, and sizes, providing almost unlimited options and how they may be used in home design.

Learning the “New Terminology”

Traditional incandescent lighting was pretty easy to purchase. All you needed to know was the bulb shape and size, the wattage indicating the bulb's brightness, and the base size. The introduction of CFLs brought homeowners the ability to choose the light appearance. It's described mostly as soft white, bright white and daylight. Soft white resembles the warmth of incandescent lighting, bight and daylight are more crisp and cooler with a bluish appearance.

When choosing LED lights, there are three things to keep in mind:

Brightness – The concept of wattage equalling brightness or intensity is a measurement from the past. While wattage and brightness correlate when it comes to incandescent lighting, LED is different. LEDs consume much less energy (watts), so it's impossible to get an accurate comparison of LEDs and incandescent bulbs based solely on wattage. When choosing LED lighting, look for the “Lumen” rating. Lumens are a unit of measurement for brightness. As a comparison, a 60-watt incandescent bulb emits around 800 lumens.

Light Appearance – The color appearance or temperature of light is measured in “kelvin” (K). When you're choosing a lighting fixture or bulb for its color – warmer, or crisper, cooler light – look for the kelvin temperature number. The higher the kelvin number, the more blue or cooler the light. A typical incandescent has a temperature between 2700K and 3000K. The mid-day sun produces a light that is about 5500K.

Color Accuracy – If you've ever been shopping and had a hard time telling if a shirt was dark green or blue, you've experienced poor color rendering by the store's lighting. Light can alter the appearance of colored objects. Color rendering is conveyed as the Color Rendering Index or CRI. The CRI scale goes from 0 to 100 with a 2700K incandescent bulb registering as 100. Any value above 80 with the current technology is considered a good CRI. For some areas of the home, better color rendering of 90 or above is desirable.

Understanding what to look for when switching to LED lights is important. These three qualities will help you make the right choice for your family.

The Functions of Light and LED Lights

There are four types of lighting that a designer will use in your home. Each provides a different purpose. When planning a lighting design, it's helpful to understand how these different types of light complement each other in a design. With LED lighting, combining different brightness, and light appearance can work together to create a more unique look. The four types of lighting are:

Ambient – Provides a uniform amount of light throughout an area. Recessed, cove, and pendant lighting are examples of ambient lighting.

Task – This type of light provides light to a specific area, light a reading light, lighted mirror, or lighting over a kitchen counter where food is prepared.

Accent – Used to highlight architectural features, art, or plants, by creating contrast in brightness. Accent lighting is achieved using recessed or surface mount adjustable fixtures, or track lighting, wall grazing or wall washing.

Decorative – Decorative lighting is the jewelry in your home. Their primary use is to look pretty. Chandeliers or wall sconces are good examples.

Taking a layered approach to lighting can create a comfortable, balanced atmosphere. Once you've decided on fixture placement, when working with LED lights, the next step is to think about the color temperature.

Lighting should complement your interior design, furniture, colors, and home décor. As a general rule, color temperature is a personal choice. However, some rules can help you to make the right choice for your interior design.

  • Ambient lighting is typically the primary source of light and a key element in setting the mood for the room

  • Consider warmer lighting in the living room and bedroom to create a cozy atmosphere.

  • The K-numbers for LED lights are typically in the 2700K to 3000K range. This warm white light is a good choice if your décor features earthy tones and wood furniture.

  • If you have several different types of ambient light, for example, down and cove lighting, match the color temperature to create a harmonic effect.

  • Task lighting is best achieved with neutral, cool light in the 3500K to 5000K range. This will create adequate contrast.

  • Color temperature and color rendering index (CRI) is particularly important for task lighting.

The best solution is to speak with your interior designer or design-build contractor. They can help you to understand your options better when it comes to choosing LED lighting for your home. There are a lot of LED products on the market, but not all fixtures are built the same. Your contractor can help you understand your options when it comes to choosing the best fixtures and LED lights for your home.

If you intend a home remodeling project and you live in the Madison, Wisconsin area, give the experts at Degnan Design-Build-Remodel a call at (608) 846-5963. Their designers are lighting experts that can help you to create a layered lighting design to enhance the visual impact and comfort of your home.

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