Whether switching out a light bulb or purchasing a fixture with integrated light, it is important to know how a specific type of light will impact a room. A soft, warm glow provides a completely different atmosphere than a pure, white light. Some light types are better suited for specific room, use the handy guide below to understand how light effects a room.


  • Lumens – Lumens are the standard unit of measurement when describing light emitted from bulbs. More lumens mean brighter light, this unit is standardized across all lighting types including CFL, LED, and incandescent.

  • Watts – Commonly misunderstood as the brightness indicator on old incandescent light bulbs, wattage actually refers to the amount of energy it takes to light a bulb. So that old incandescent bulb may have require 40 watts of electricity to reach 800 lumens of light, meanwhile more energy efficient CFL bulbs can reach that amount of light using only 10-15 watts. The lower the watts the lower the electricity bill.

Color Temperature

Aside from the amount of energy used and the brightness level of a light the type of light emitted or the tone of the light is also an important factor in choosing the right bulb. The shade of light output is measured on a scale that ranges from Warm to Cool. Aside from general designation there might even be a color temperature listed. Color temperature is measured in units of Kelvin (K) with the higher the Kelvins the cooler the light. See the most common light temperatures below.

  • Daylight (5,000-6,500K) – The daylight in the name refers to the light produced resembling a cloudless afternoon day. Great for workstations, bathroom vanities and accent lighting.

  • Bright White (4,000-5000K) – Great color in bathrooms with chrome fixtures or a room in need of bright light, such as a basement.

  • Warm White (3,000-4,000K) – A good middle ground between warm yellow and soft white this is perfect for kitchens and bathrooms.

  • Soft White (2,700-3,000K) – This type of light is the most common found in old incandescent bulbs. Great for bedrooms and living rooms.

For more information on Light Bulb types, click here.

For more information on Lighting Compliances, click here.


Photos: Maxim Lighting