A few weeks ago I was at Target with my mom and along with a hundred other things on our shopping list we wanted to pick up a couple light bulbs. We were astonished to see the variety, and thankful we weren’t entering an actual hardware store –we had no idea where to start. There were CFL’s, LCD’s, Soft bulbs, florescent bulbs, different styles and sizes. When, how and why did the selection seem to multiple over night? Or maybe it’s just been that long since I had been bulb shopping. My criteria was simply wanting to have light in my bathroom, but even that seemed like a difficult task considering all the options. I decided to break it down for those of you who are also confused about with what seems like the hundreds of choices when all we want is a simple bulb!
In addition to the simple request of wanting light, I also wanted the most flattering lighting available. I wasn’t interested in something that would highlight all problem areas on my body or showcase bags under my eyes when I’d had a rough night. Is it possibly to purchase Hollywood industry lights from a common shopping destination such as Target? According to Elle Decore.com, “Bathrooms do best with diffused light—a mixture of compact fluorescents and halogen bulbs that give off a low contrast and soft lighting”. Ok, well that means pretty much nothing me, what are compact fluorescents, what are halogen bulbs and what does the box look like? Upon some further research I discovered that “compact fluorescents” are better known as CFL’s. Perfect! I’ve heard of CFL’s! They may be a little more expensive up front but they use less energy and last even longer than a cheaper bulb. And these bulbs come in different tones: cool, neutral, or warm. But choosing between those options seems like a more personalized beauty article –we’ll save that for another time. Let’s just say these are your bathroom bulbs.
Next up, halogen bulbs. These bulbs are incandescent bulbs meaning they emit light by being heated. They use less energy than a standard bulb (the cheap ones I’m used to buying), they don’t last as long as CFL’s and they emit more of a yellow tone –which works for lamps or chandleries.
Then there is another popular bulb, the LED. I’ll explain, LED stands for Light-Emitting Diode Lightbulband what’s cool about these is they last pretty much forever. I wouldn’t recommend one for the bathroom because they mostly used in spot-light situations –the last thing I want when I get out of the shower. Use LED lighting for directly over the sink, maybe the laundry room or if you’re painting your latest masterpiece.
So far I’ve learned that bulbs are not “one bulb fits-all” and to get the best lighting for your home you have to know which goes where. I even went as far as taking a sharpie and writing which room each bulb goes into so I don’t forget and mix them up! I suggest you do the same if you have the memory span of a goldfish like I do. Ok, that was harsh, labeling does not mean you have a poor memory, it means you like to be prepared and organized! Anyway, back to bulbs. Now we know the difference between the main ones, what’s the deal with wattage?
Wattage simple tells you home much energy the light bulb is using, the brightness of a bulb is measured in lumens. CFL’s and LED’s give off a variety of brightness while only using about 10-23 watts, depending which one you choose. Make sure you check the wattage limits on all lamps, but in my opinion, all these new-age energy-efficient lights are definitely the way to go!
I hope this quick lesson helped break down the light bulb system a little better for everyone and make your next trip to the “lighting aisle” a little more stress free.