It can be challenging to determine the 'wattage' of LED lights. When incandescent light bulbs dominated the lighting market, it was easy to tell how 'bright' a bulb would be.
When using LED Lighting, we use the term lumens which is the power or strength of the light. A Lumen (lm) is the International Standard unit that shows the total amount of visible light emitted from a source. Like Watts, Lumens are a standard measurement within the lighting industry and can be found on the box of most light bulbs.
The next time you purchase a light bulb, remember to look for both Wattage & Lumens. Watts show the amount of power used & lumens show the brigthness of a bulb. The best combo to look for is:
LOW WATT & HIGH LUMENS = BRIGHT, ENERGY SAVING BULBS.
We understand it's tough if you are switching out from Incandescent light bulbs to LED light bulbs, we need to know the comparable light values.
Here's a quick and easy chart to get you started!
Need to know how to space your recessed lighting & how many recessed lights do you need?
Be sure to check out my most popular blog post.
We provide a simple formula to help you layout your recessed lighting!
Wondering how to position your hanging pendant lights over your kitchen island? Here's a go to guide to make placing those lights easy peasy!
Pendant lights can be so very important over your kitchen island. I suggest placing the bottom of the pendant light 36-40" above the island, this may vary a little depending upon your height & the height of the room, but if your ceiling is between 8' & 10' high, this will work well.
Here's a good rule of thumb for calculating the width between the lights:
For spacing 2 pendant lights, measure your island's width, divide that by 4. That number is how far from the end of the island you should place the center of your pendant light in the ceiling.
i.e. 8' wide island divided by 4 = 2. Place the center of each light 2' from each edge, this provides a 4' space in between the pendants, and works well for most standard pendant lights.
See the pendant placing diagram below.
For 3 pendant lights over an 8' island in your kitchen, here's the following formula to help you place your lighting evenly over the island or peninsula.
Divide the length of the island in 1/2. i.e. 8' divided by 2 = 4'.
Place the center pendant 4' from the edge of the island at the center point of the island.
For the remaining 2 pendants:
Divide that number in 1/2 again.
i.e. 1/2 of the island is 4', so divide that in 1/2 again and place your other pendants at that mark.
i.e. 8 divided by 2=4. 4 divided by 2 = 2.
The pendant lights are positioned at the 2 foot, 4 foot, and 6' marks.
See the diagram below.
Have recessed lighting questions? Have a look at our popular blog Recessed lighting spacing - How many recessed lights do I need? How far apart do I place my lights?
Let me know if you have any questions.
With the advent of the new LED light bulbs, there is much confusion.
It used to be just select the correct wattage for your lights and away you go, but now there are so many things to think about.
Rather than writing article outlining the 'do's and 'don't's of LED light bulbs, I thought I'd post links to great articles here. All links are from Waveform Lighting and are excellent articles.
What is the dreaded blue light hazard?
Are LED light bulbs safe?
Should I choose a 2,700K or 3,000K LED light bulb? What's the difference?
What is the difference between CCT and CRI and do I need to know?
Why is my LED bulb flickering? How do I stop it?
What is the difference between Lux and Lumens?
What is Colour Rendering Index or CRI?
Here's an article I posted several years ago. It's been very helpful to others!
How many recessed lights do I need? How far apart do I place them?
If you need help with lighting, we'd love to assist you!
Would you like a few quick tips on how to calculate the correct size chandelier or pendant light for over your dining room table?
Here we go!
Add the width and length of your dining room ie. 10' + 14' = 24.
We need a light approximately 24" wide!
Or here are a few general dining room table sizes, and the width of lights that would complement the table nicely.
Oval table 42" long - light should be 18-20" wide.
Oval table 48" long - light should be 24" wide.
Square tables? Just take the table size and subtract 12" off each side.
ie. 42" sq. table. -12" and -12" = 18" wide light.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Of course there are variables, but this will get you in the right ballpark!
Here's a few quick tips on lighting placement for your dining room chandelier or pendant.
Specifically, how high do we hang the bottom of our pendant or chandeliers, above our dining room tables?
Well, this depends upon the height of the room.
Here's a few quick examples:
8' high ceiling - hang the bottom of the light, 32 - 36" off of the table.
9' high ceiling - hang the bottom of the light, 36 - 40" off of the table.
10' high ceiling - hang the bottom of the light, 40 - 44" off of the table.
Hope this quick tip helps!
Recessed lighting spacing - How many recessed can lights do I need? How far apart do I place my can lights?
I've been an interior designer for over 16 years now and I've realize good lighting placement is key for any space, especially so for recessed lighting - (we call them pot lights in Canada - no - not those sort of lights!). I've written this handy post to show you how it's done!
(We'll talk about bathroom lighting in another post!).
Note: Lumens measure the total light sent out by the light bulb.
Watts measure the amount of power used by the bulb.
So watts do not tell you how bright the bulb is - but Lumens do.
However, since we are all use to discussing wattage, often people use 'wattage' as their term denoting the brightness of a bulb, rather than 'lumens'. For this article we'll use the term "wattage" as most people are more familiar with that term.
Recessed can lighting design layout:
Part A: How many pot / recessed / can lights do I need?
Formula: total sq. footage x 1.5 = total wattage needed. Total wattage divided by 60 watts (or whichever wattage you select) = total amount of recessed can lights.
Example: 240 square foot room x 1.5 = 360 divided by 60 (the bulb wattage I'd like to use) = 6 recessed lights needed.
Part B: Draw up a ceiling diagram (reflected ceiling plan) showing the amount of can lights you need (Part A formula). The cans / pots / recessed lights should be evenly distributed around the room, usually they are in rows with an equal number of cans in each row. Here's a great example of a kitchen lighting layout, the yellow dots show the recessed lights, the red dots show the pendant lights:
Now we will calculate the spacing between each recessed light.
Part C: Light spacing in a row:
Part D: Task Lighting Layout:
Task lighting is extra lighting used to highlight spaces where you need either extra light, or specialized lighting throughout the home. You may want to add under cabinet lighting, or pendant lights over the island in the kitchen, to bring the lighting closer to the work area.
How to calculate the distance and spacing for task lighting:
Step 1: Determine the distance from the ceiling down to the surface you wish to light, i.e.. the floor or a countertop.
Step 2: Divide this distance by 4 to obtain the distance from the wall to the first light unit. I.e.. 8' ceiling lights should be placed two feet away from the wall.
Part E: Wall washers recessed lighting layout: (lighting that shines down onto a wall in order to highlight art or a wall feature)
Step 1: The rule for installing wall wash recessed fixtures is approx. 1.5' to 3' away from the wall.
Step 2: Fixed lights can be placed closer to the wall.
Step 3: Place adjustable lights farther away from the wall. The optimal aiming angle to minimize glare is 30-degrees from the ceiling, that way we avoid glare.
Step 4: Space wall wash fixtures the same distance from each other.
Step 5: A good rule of thumb is that your accent lighting should be 3 times brighter than the ambient light in the room. This is useful for living rooms, hallways and dens/offices.
Part F: Beam Spread
There are generally 2 types of recessed lights - Spot lights and Flood lights.
Spot lights have a narrow beam of light casting light to a focused area, usually these are used to highlighting art or important design elements in the room. They cast beams 45 degrees or less.
Flood lights case a wider beam on the floor area and are used for lighting larger, more general areas. They cast beams up to 120 degrees.
Lighting Beam calculation: Angle of beam x 0.18 x ceiling height = Beam spread in inches.
Example: 60 degrees x 0.18 x 10' ceiling height = 108" divided by 12 = 9' wide beam spread.
To create overlapping beams of light for ambience, make sure that your beam spread diameter is equal to or greater than the distance between light sources fixtures.
Recessed lighting design & installation:
Now that the recessed lighting placement locations are determined, we need to find out if they can be installed in these locations. Use a stud finder to determine where the ceiling joist are located. You might have to adjust placement locations to avoid hitting a ceiling joist. It's always best to pre plan the lighting design before your renovation or new build in your home.
Please remember to contact your electrician before making any electrical decisions.
You also may enjoy this other article:
15 Steps to Build your Dream Home
Confused about this new fangled lighting called LED? Which bulb do I now select?
Here's a little chart showing the "old' wattage from incandescent lighting, vs. LED, CFL and Halogen wattage.
The new item to look for is called Lumens, that determines the brightness of the bulb, wattage shows the energy of the bulb. Just remember that the more lumens you have, the brighter the light.
Check out this chart below, happy lighting!
Jil Sonia McDonald - Interior Designer of Jil Sonia Interior Designs.