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Learn About Lightbulbs Before Buying Your Next Light Fixture

The type of lightbulb a fixture accepts is essential to its design impact.

Learn About Lightbulbs Before Buying Your Next Light FixtureLight fixtures are an extremely important and yet often overlooked element of interior design. Whether you are designing from scratch or looking for a replacement for your overhead lighting, task lighting, or wall sconces, it is important to ensure that the fixtures you choose not only deliver the desired design impact, but also deliver the right amount and type of light. This is essential to show off the room to its best advantage and to ensure that the room is functional for its intended use. For example, you wouldn’t want to install a fixture that gives off soft, moody light over your kitchen counter where you’ll be doing prep work with lots of sharp knives. Nor would you want to install the bright, directional task lighting that would be good for a kitchen counter in your elegant dining area.

Fortunately, at Mission West Kitchen & Bath we can help guide you to suitable designer light fixture options that will accept the types of lightbulbs needed to achieve the lighting effects you want.

Types of Lightbulbs

The mechanism by which the lightbulb actually produces light is very important, as this affects the color and brightness of the light that can be produced. Often, fixtures are designed to use one particular type of lightbulb, making it difficult or impossible to switch bulb types once your fixture is installed. This makes it absolutely essential to consider your choice of lightbulbs (ie light color and quality) before choosing your fixtures.

The most common types of lightbulb technologies include:

  • Incandescent Bulbs: This is the traditional type of lightbulb that we all grew up with. They produce soft, yellow-white light that radiates in all directions from the bulb. This light can be directed by the light fixture, or by the addition of reflectorized coatings inside the bulbs that help focus the light. Incandescent bulbs are not very energy-efficient, but they are quite versatile.
  • Halogen Bulbs: Halogen lightbulbs produce bright, white light very similar to natural sunlight. The bulbs can produce intense light even at smaller sizes, making them ideal for task lighting. However, they do get quite hot making it important to choose a light fixture that will not cause a fire hazard if it overheats.
  • Xenon Bulbs: This type of lightbulb produces a light similar to halogen bulbs, but at lower temperatures. Xenon bulbs can be even tinier, making them ideal for strip lighting and under-cabinet lighting.
  • Fluorescent Bulbs: Compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs, are becoming increasingly popular as replacements for regular incandescent bulbs. However, they tend to be a bit bulkier than incandescent bulbs making it difficult to switch to CFLs without having the bulb protrude from the light fixture. They come in varieties producing either warm or cool light tones.
  • LEDs: Highly energy efficient LED lighting is becoming more and more popular for home lighting due to improvements in color and light quality. Right now the most popular application for LED lighting is under-cabinet lighting.