- Top lighting from the high street handpicked for you
- How to choose the right lighting for your unique space
- What you need to consider when upgrading your lighting
When inventor and businessman Thomas Edison patented the first practical light bulb in 1879, he could never have foreseen the wealth of lighting choices that would be available on our high streets just over a century later. Here’s a quick and easy guide to what’s on offer.
Trends in lighting design
A key current trend is for vintage and retro lighting with old-fashioned 'squirrel cage' filaments, much like the original design patented by Thomas Edison. Check out The Vintage Light Bulb Company for the latest hip designs, such as the Avocado Pear Spiral and Amber Jam Jar.
Many people also opt to generate a subtle and cheery glow from a selection of down lighters and pendants – this Duomo model in antique brass is a great example. By experimenting with varied styles of lighting it's easy to change the feel of a space from calm and inviting to bright and vibrant.
Flameless LED candles
Flameless candles are a great way to create a relaxing ambiance in any room. Whether you’re unwinding in the lounge, soaking in a bath or reading before bed, the flickering LED lights will help melt away your stresses.
Concealed lighting can transform the look and feel of a room. If you have a room that struggles to get any natural daylight this is a sneaky way to create a brighter, more inviting space. At night, concealed lighting can also be used to accentuate any interior features in the room.
Spotlights can be used to illuminate work surfaces in the kitchen or mirrors in a bedroom to create length and space. Spotlighting is also a handy way to break up flat light from your room’s main source of light.
Types of light bulb
Whatever style of lighting you choose, it's vital to pick the right bulb to match. The best type to go for depends on a wide range of factors, including your budget and energy needs, as well as the lighting intensity you require.
Ever since incandescent bulbs were phased out, Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) have become the most commonly used type of energy efficient light bulb. They are generally up to four times more efficient than old-school bulbs and tend to last a lot longer. In the early days after their introduction, many people were put off CFLs because they took a while to brighten up, but modern versions are much improved.
Best for: Durable everyday use
Cost: Initially more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs but soon pay for themselves through long life and energy efficiency
Energy efficiency: High
If you're after a bright and instantly-lit room, look no further than a halogen bulb. The amount of light they give off compares well to the old incandescent bulbs, making them a popular choice for larger spaces. However, be warned that they cost a lot more to run than energy-saving bulbs and have an average expected life span of under two years.
Best for: Larger spaces and work areas
Cost: Pricey due to very high energy requirements
Energy efficiency: Low
More and more people are using their garden as an extra space for entertaining, and there are now a vast number of outdoor solar lighting options – such as these Lumify USB Solar Fairy Lights – to help lengthen alfresco evenings.
Best for: Gardens, balconies and other outdoor spaces
Energy efficiency: Very high
Light-emitting diode (LED)
Using up to 90% less energy than old style incandescent bulbs, LEDs are by far the most energy efficient option. Although you'll probably have to splash a bit of cash to get them, they should last anywhere up to 25 years. In terms of cost, it makes LEDs the smartest choice in the long run.
Best for: Stylish modern lighting
Cost: High initial outlay but low cost over whole lifetime
Energy efficiency: Very high
What you need to know when upgrading your lighting
• Make sure you choose the right cap fitting and get to know your bayonets from your screw fittings and GU10s. Carefully read the instructions for your new lamp or light so that cap fitting you pick will work first time.
• Make sure that you pick the best type of lighting for the space. The choice will vary depending on the type of room you're buying for. You might need brighter lights for a kitchen, for example, but more atmospheric illumination for a dining or entertainment space.
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