Lighten Up!

Hey there!  Last week I wrote an update about what I’ve been doing so far in design school, and I told you that I would be preparing some posts for you about lighting.  This is one of those posts!  :-)  Think of this as General Lighting 101.  My goal is to enlighten you (get it, lol) and also to spark some interest on the issue of lighting.  The truth is, you can have the most amazing custom home in the world with the most beautiful amenities that you paid a lot of money for, and if it’s all lit improperly, then you might as well have not spent that $60,000 on your kitchen.  For a couple of weeks we spent a lot of time looking at interiors that could have been amazing and lived up to their potential, but instead were badly lit and just lost their beauty.  SO —  I’m going to help, even if it is just with this little blog.  ;-)

Today I’m just giving some general information about the different types of lamps (light bulbs) and what they do for a space.  Ready?

You all know what this is.  An A-19, or an A-lamp.  You buy this in your grocery store, and you put it in your ceiling fans, your table lamps, floor lamps…  It’s readily available in a wide variety of wattages.  It’s incandescent, and it’s going to give you a warm-colored light.  This is going to turn everything yellow, people.  And it’s going to be a bright yellow light when you put in the new lamp, and then it will turn dingy.  I noticed this in my apartment all the time because I was using these A-lamps all over the place, and when we would first put them in, it would be nice and bright (yellow, but bright), and after a while, our room would just sink into darkness and dinginess.  Not good.

*Here’s a reminder, though — dust your light bulbs!  I’m serious!*

This is an R-40, or a Reflector Lamp.  Please, please, please never use these.  I guarantee you that you have these somewhere in your house, and I want you to stop reading this post right now, take them all out, and throw them away.  And never buy them again.  These lamps are going to turn everything yellow.  Nothing will sparkle.  If you have a gorgeous kitchen or an amazing bathroom, a beautiful living room or a bedroom that you love…these are going to absolutely ruin it.  This lamp has a ton of light spill (wasted light), and it is being phased out of the market (thank you).  The PAR Lamp is taking its place.

This is a PAR Lamp — Parabolic Aluminized Reflector.  This lamp will give you the punch of light that you really want in a room.  It’s ideal for ceilings that are above the 8 feet, and I promise you that if you use these in your kitchen (or anywhere) in place of the Reflector Lamp, you will be able to instantly tell the difference. These are only a little bit more expensive than the R-Lamps, and they seriously will change your life if you have been stuck with the gloom of the R’s all this time.

Okay, people.  This?  Is an MR Lamp.  If you are designing a custom home, these should be the lamps that you plan on using.  It’s important to implement these into your lighting plan beforehand because otherwise, you will have to retrofit your recessed lighting to fit these babies.  I will tell you that these can be pretty pricey, but if you have granite countertops that you paid a lot of money for, these are the absolute best lamps for those expensive countertops.  The light given off by these lamps is a white light, or “spectrally complete.” It’s absolutely beautiful.  This is, by far, my favorite lamp of them all.

And finally, I leave you with what my instructor calls a “Curly Fry.”  Do not ever use these.  I’m serious.  I understand people wanting to be green with their lighting, but I can promise you that if you are using the right lamps all over your house, and paying attention to the light output references on the box of lights that you are buying, you will be doing your part and you won’t have to have these things in your home.  Seriously.    Take them out, dispose of them accordingly, and never look back.  And if you don’t, I’ll find you.  ;-)

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  1. Lauryn Ashey

    Wow, how interesting! I will definitely have to consult you more about lights sometime (when you have free time, I know you are super busy)! Nolan is a HUGE green advocate, so nearly every light bulb in our apartment is a “Curly Fry.” Next time we are able to grab some coffee, I will definitely have to pick your brain more on this! I am fascinated! :) xx

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