Your Home Lighting Fixtures: Which Bulbs Are Best?

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Light bulbs and home lighting fixtures sure have come a long way haven't they? No longer are your bulb choices limited to the pear-shaped type of yesteryear. And lighting fixtures now come in every size, shape, and design imaginable.

But make no mistake about it, the light bulb is the most important component of your home lighting fixtures. The lighting that it provides is critically responsible for determining the mood of each room.

For example, a bedroom will typically have softer or more ambient lighting, whereas a bathroom will have brighter or more task lighting.

home lighting fixtures

Hopefully, this page will shed some light (no pun intended) on which bulb types are best for your home lighting and home interior decorating needs. The four basic light bulb categories for interior lighting are Incandescent, Fluorescent, Halogen, and LED.

Bulb Choices For Your Home Lighting Fixtures

Incandescent

While incandescent bulbs come in several shapes, you are probably most familiar with the common pear-shaped bulb that has been around for ages. Incandescent bulbs are the most inefficient source of lighting available.

Only 10% of the electricity flowing to the bulb actually produces light. The other 90% is lost as heat. These bulbs are popular because they are inexpensive and have excellent color rendering abilities. Below are specific incandescent bulb types and their uses:

  • A-Bulb - a pear-shaped bulb with multi-purpose uses for the home.

  • Low Voltage Tube - a tubular-shaped bulb about 5 inches long and used in appliances, cabinets, and decorative fixtures.

  • Reflector - a funnel-shaped bulb used in directional home lighting fixtures to focus light on something specific.

  • PAR (Parabolic Aluminized Reflector) - a pear-shaped bulb with a silver cap on it to help generate indirect light.

  • Low Voltage Strip Lights - tiny bulbs encased in flexible plastic used as task and decorative lighting.

  • Globe - round globe-shaped bulb typically used in the vanity area of a bathroom

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Halogen

Halogen bulbs provide the closest approximation to natural daylight, known as "white light". These bulbs come in various shapes and sizes and are very energy efficient. Consider using some of these in your home:

  • Low Voltage MR-16 - small bulbs about 2" in diameter gives a small focused light from a distance and is used in track fixtures and recessed down-lights.

  • PAR (Parabolic Aluminized Reflector) - come in various sizes, shaped like small auto headlights that are intended to project a small light over a long distance.

  • High-Intensity - small tubular shaped bulbs that provide high output and are used in task lamps, torcheres, and pendant home lighting fixtures.

Fluorescent

Fluorescent lighting has moved beyond the notion of producing cold, clinical lighting. There are many choices today that produce warm hues that will do a wonderful job lighting your home. There are also compact versions that screw into just about any home lighting fixture.

This lighting is very energy efficient and last about ten times longer than incandescent bulbs. You should definitely consider using these where you need light for long hours each day, such as in your kitchen.

  • Compact Bulbs - these are about the same size as incandescent bulbs. But their design looks similar to a soft swirl ice cream cone. These energy efficient bulbs can be used just about anywhere you've used incandescent bulbs.

  • Tube - tubes are 5"- 96" long and require special home lighting fixtures, but provide great work lighting.

  • Compact Tubes - U-shaped tubes, ranging in size from approximately 5"-8" that can be used in many standard lamps, recessed lighting and special fixtures.

LED (Light Emitting Diode)

LED lighting is the newest kid on the block and is growing in popularity. Not surprisingly, this technology came out of the space industry. For a long time, this type of lighting was popular in indoor gardening.

Very little of the energy is lost as heat from these lightbulbs. Many of these bulbs are also rated to have longer lives than even compact fluorescent bulbs. The only downside is that they have a reputation as being expensive, but the prices continue to drop as more and more homeowners switch to them.

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