Philips SlimStyle LED Bulbs
It's important to note that the big reason I've been able to switch so many lights to LEDs has been because of the incredible value and quality of the Philips Slim Style LED bulbs.
Over the past few months I've been swapping out a lot of my incandescent and CFL bulbs for LED bulbs. Incandescent bulbs use a lot of energy and CFLs are so inconsistent when it comes to color temperature. Even many of the daylight CFL bulbs I've tried have a subtle greenish tint that I find unpleasant. They also shift the paint colors I spent so much time agonizing over.
Most of the LED Bulbs I've been using have been the Philips SlimStyle Daylight LED bulbs which are also available in a warmer Soft White color.
The bulbs cost about $10 each but every once in a while I've noticed that Home Depot has them on sale for about half price in the store and on their website (use the links above to see if they're on sale now). Whenever I'm in the store and see them on sale I pick some up. Even at regular price they're a good deal but... hey five bucks is five bucks :)
They're really nice bulbs that give off a good amount of light without using much energy. Only 10.5 Watts for 800 lumens, equivalent to a 60W incandescent. Change a few of the bulbs you use most often and you'll notice it in your electric bill.
They're also dimmable using standard dimmers so you don't have to replace your current dimmer switches. They don't dim as much as incandescent bulbs when using standard dimmers but the light will decrease enough to change the mood of the room and save even more energy.
When they're dimmed they don't buzz or flicker either and I find the colors and light quality to be good.
About Light Bulb ColorThe color of light a bulb puts out is measured in degrees Kelvin (K). The use of Kelvin degrees has to do with the color iron glows when it's at a certain temperature. Lower color temperatures indicate a redder light while high temperatures indicate a bluer light.
Most incandescent bulbs emit a warm light in the range of 2,700 - 3,300 K and many LED lights try to mimic this color since we're so used to it. They are sometimes labeled as Warm White or Soft White.
LED bulbs are also available as Daylight bulbs with color temperature in the range of 5,000 - 6,500 K. Natural daylight on clear day is about 5,000K while on an overcast day it's about 6,500K.
In between warm and daylight you'll find Cool White, Neutral and Bright White bulbs which range from 3,500 - 4100 K.
For the most part in these tips I've limited the choices between warm and daylight bulbs because those are the two colors available in the Philips bulbs I mentioned. If you feel the daylight color is too blue for your tastes you can substitute a Cool White bulb instead of daylight but I suggest you try some daylight bulbs first. My recommendations should make the harshness less noticeable to those that don't care for daylight bulbs.
How Light Color Affects UsThere have been a number of studies on how the color of light affects us. For example, bright cool light during the day helps increase mood, alertness and productivity.
At night, warmer light helps us sleep better and relax so in the morning we're less grumpy. Blue light at night can negatively affect our circadian rhythm, our internal clock that tells us when we should sleep and when we should wake up.
Light color even affects how we perceive time. Time appears to pass faster with blue light than it does with red light and blue colors suppress appetite.
I've always had problems with sleeping and waking up on time and I've found that controlling the light color at night before bed has helped me a lot. When I bought orange UV safety glasses along with a UV flashlight to detect pet stains I read a lot of reviews of users using them at night to help them sleep and that worked for me too.
Bright lights also make it hard for you to go to sleep compared to dimmer lights.
My light bulb color recommendations try to factor in these effects.
How Light Color Affects Our VisionOur brain adapts to how we see light. If you're sitting in a room lit by incandescent lights at night you may not even realize that everything has a yellow or orange hue caused by the light.
Sometimes this makes it difficult to differentiate between colors. Have you ever spent a long time at the paint store or paint department selecting the perfect colors for your walls only to have the room look like a completely different color when it dries? That's because the store's lights have different color characteristics than the lights in your room. That's why you should always check the color with samples in your room.
It's easier to interpret colors correctly with daylight bulbs.
Cool Lights Up, Warm Lights DownFor most rooms, including living rooms and dining rooms I like to include both daylight and warm colored lights.
|Living Room with Overhead Daylight Colored Bulbs|
The way I like to do it is have Daylight bulbs in ceiling fixtures (usually with dimmers) to provide bright general lighting. Surface mount ceiling fixtures, recessed lights, etc. This is good lighting when you just get home from work, especially in the winter when the days get shorter.
|Living Room with lower Warm Colored Bulbs|
Cool Light During the Day, Warm Lights at NightIn addition to my Cool Up/Warm Down rule I like to use cool lights during the day and warm lights at night.
|Dining Room Daylight Bulbs in Cans|
During the day it also matches the light coming in through windows better. Start your day right with a good breakfast and cool colored bulbs. Inviting people over for lunch? That's a good time to use the daylight bulbs in your ceiling lights too.
|Dining Room with Warm Lights|
For a more intimate evening meal use the warm colored bulbs in the chandelier and accent lights dimmed a bit.
|Bedroom with bright daylight ceiling light|
|Bedroom with warm colored table, floor and wall lights.|
Cool Lights For Getting ReadyWhen you're getting ready in the morning it's important to view colors accurately. Closets should have daylight bulbs as should any room you get dressed in whether it's your bedroom or a large walk-in dressing room closet. That way you'll be wearing clothes that match as well in sunlight and office light as they did in your home.
Bathroom lights should also use bright and cool colored bulbs to help you wake up in the morning and about 50% of you reading this will appreciate getting your make up colors right.
There are even these warm colored battery powered LED lights you can stick on your wall that have motion as well as light sensors so they turn on when someone's in the room but won't turn on when there's already light in the room.
Cool Lights for WorkingBright, cool colored day light bulbs are easier and safer to work with. Use these in home offices, kitchens, craft rooms, workshops, garages and on desks. For your workshop, or any other spot you use fluorescent tubes, check out these LED replacements for fluorescent tubes.
If you spend time in your home office late at night try to fit in at least one fixture with a warm colored bulb so you have an easier time falling asleep. I also use software called f.lux to change the color temperature of my monitor automatically throughout the day. At night emits a warmer color light on moy computer monitor at night.
One or two warm colored lights in your kitchen would be nice too if you spend a lot of time there in the evening. Maybe some wall lights or pendants over a table or counter.
Now that you know what color lights to put in which rooms check and see if the SlimStyle Daylight and Soft White LED bulbs are currently on sale.