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How to Choose the Right Light
There are many considerations when purchasing lighting for the home - from the technical to the aesthetic. Heal's stocks a wide range of classic and contemporary lights for all rooms in the home - including pendants and chandeliers, lampshades, ceiling and spotlights, bathroom lights and outdoor lights.
The way we light a room can often define the room's purpose, making lighting an integral part of interior design. Lighting can be the focal point of a room, from a dramatic chandelier to atmospheric up lighters. Practical, functional and safety aspects also need consideration when lighting rooms such as the bathroom, kitchen or study, and also if you want to use outdoor lighting.
Not all bulbs work in a specific light fixture or a suitable for specific functions. It is important to know the different characteristics of each bulb type in order to get the most out of your lighting and to avoid the dangers of using the wrong bulbs in your fixtures.
Tungsten Bulbs: Also known as incandescent lights, these are traditional light bulbs that come with screw or bayonet caps. These bulbs contain argon gas and a fine tungsten filament that can break easily if the bulb is shaken or dropped. The electricity passes through the filament and as it heats up and glows it reaches a temperature of over 2000 degrees centigrade. Tungsten Bulbs emit a yellowish white coloured light which gives a feeling of warmth and ambiance. This makes them ideal for general lighting of bedrooms, living rooms, and dining rooms. They are good value and come in many different sizes, shapes, wattages, colours and finishes. Tungsten bulbs are not very efficient - approx 94% of the electricity consumed by a tungsten bulb generates heat which means only 6% of the energy is used to produce light. Their life span is also quite short - approx 500 to 1000 hours. They can be easily dimmed with most standard dimmer switches. Under a government initiative, tungsten bulbs will be phased out by the end of 2011.
Halogen Bulbs: These bulbs have a tungsten filament and are filled with a mixture of argon and halogen gas. They are made out of more expensive higher-grade glass that can tolerate the extra high temperatures they reach. Halogen bulbs produce a very attractive bright white light that closely resembles sunlight. Although more expensive initially, they can last up to 3 times longer than a traditional tungsten bulb of the same wattage and can be 20% more efficient. They can usually be dimmed but may require special dimmers. Halogen bulbs come in mains voltage (240 volt)and low voltage (12 volt) versions. Halogen bulbs come in many different sizes, shapes, wattages and colours.
Energy Saving or CFL Bulbs: Energy is used to generate light rather than heat so these bulbs can be up to 80% cheaper to run. Although more expensive, these bulbs save money in the long run especially in areas where the lights will be left on for long periods. Temperatures below zero can adversely affect the bulb's performance, so steer clear of using them in the colder parts of your home. They emit a light that is midway between a halogen and a tungsten bulb. Although the amount of mercury in a low level energy bulb is very small, because of its hazardous nature, used low-energy bulbs need to be recycled rather than disposed of in the bin.
Fluorescent Bulbs: Fluorescent bulbs are specifically designed to produce good quality even white light. They are perfect for lighting kitchens, bathrooms and utility spaces. Fluorescent bulbs are four to six times more efficient than a normal light bulb, because they heat up less when lit, and have an average lifespan of 10,000 hours.
Incandescent      Energy Saving
100W                   20W - 23W
60W                    11W - 15W
40W                    7W - 9W
Bulb Cap Types:
BC (Bayonet Cap) - B15
SBC (Small Bayonet Cap) - B15
ES (Edison Screw) - E27
SES (Small Edison Screw) - E14
What wattage rating do I need? Switches and dimmers have maximum wattage ratings, ie. the total wattage to be used by the switch/dimmer (eg. 1x10arm light rated at 20 watt each = total 200 watts) and you should not exceed this. Some mains voltage halogen lights require dimmers that run at double their total wattage. Please consult a qualified electrician for further advice.
Why does my dimmer buzz? Some wall mounted dimmers will buzz when turned to their lowest setting. This is quite normal but will vary in intensity depending on type of dimmer and the type of lighting unit being dimmed. Reducing the bulb wattage may be a solution but trying a different dimmer switch may also alleviate the problem.
Can I use a dimmer with fluorescent/energy saving bulbs? Fluorescent lighting and energy saving bulbs cannot normally be dimmed.
How do I dim halogen lighting? All main voltage halogen bulbs (eg GU10 and G9 types) can be dimmed but may require a dimmer of higher wattage than the total wattage of the light fitting they are dimming. All low voltage halogen bulbs (eg G4, G6.35 and G5.3 types) may require special dimmers dependent on their transformer type. However, any qualified electrician should be able to advise, supply and fit these for you.
We recommend that all switches and dimmers should be fitted by a qualified electrician. Please consult your electrician for the correct type of dimmer required for your light fitting.
This indicates the level of protection against electric shocks. Class 2 or double insulated lights have an extra level of insulation through the cable, to protect the consumer from the parts of the light fitting that carry an electrical current. Lights that are double insulated do not require earthing. We always recommend consulting a qualified electrician for further advice.
Use energy saving light bulbs where possible - this saves you money as they are longer lasting.
Clean bulbs, shades and fixtures regularly as dust and dirt accumulate and absorb light.
Do not wait until the bulbs have completely burned out to replace them. Darkened bulbs may still work but they use the same amount of power as a new bulb and emit less light.
Don't use a higher wattage bulb than necessary. Try a 60-watt bulb in the hallway instead of a 75-watt bulb. The difference may be small in brightness but large on your electricity bill.
Finally for safety, do not use high watt bulbs in confined areas or for fixtures that require low watt bulbs. This is an extreme fire hazard. Read the fixture instructions and contact the manufacturer for additional information.
Lighting in the Bathroom needs to have the correct rating depending on where it will be situated. Every bathroom light has an IP rating (Ingress Protection rating) which relates to how water resistant it is. It should also say which zones of the bathroom the light is suitable to be used in.
IP68 Submersible to 9 metres - Zone 0
These are watertight so they can be mounted up to 9 metres below water. They are also suitable for use in steam rooms and saunas.
IP65 Jetproof - Zone 1
Light fittings graded Zone 1 can be fitted where they may be subjected to a jet of water, for example from a shower handset.
IP44 Splashproof - Zone 2
Light fittings graded Zone 2 can be fitted wherever the fitting may be splashed. Anywhere within 0.6 metres of a basin or similar water source fits this category.
This covers all other areas where jets or splashes of water will not occur.
Please note that Zone 3 no longer exists due to changes in regulations but it may still state this on packaging of existing products.
Please click here to view a diagram of bathroom lighting zones Bathroom Lighting Diagram [PDF]
The most usual type of lighting used in bathrooms is diffused wall and ceiling lights (diffused lights are best to avoid glare on polished, tiled surfaces). For safety reasons the main bathroom light must be switched on by a pull cord or a light switch situated outside the bathroom. Glass or ceramic lights are best as they are most resistant to humid conditions.
View our Bathroom Lighting.
Hallways and Reception Lighting:An area for welcoming guests which gives the first impression of the house. If you have a hallway with high ceilings, a statement light such as a chandelier-style pendant, can really add a sense of drama. Wall lights work well if space is at a premium. A dimmer may be a good choice to vary the light from welcoming ambient to more functional brighter light. If your hallway light is often on it's a good idea to use energy saving bulbs.
Staircase Lighting: Staircases should always be well lit for safety reasons. High ceilings can suit a bright pendant lamp at the top of the stairs, and it's essential to have enough light so the edges of the stairs are clearly defined. Alternatively use wall down-lighters in appropriate positions. Dual switches (one at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom) are essential. Landings are usually quite narrow or relatively small areas, so flush fittings are often good here, or wall lights if your ceilings are quite low. Choose a dimmer switch if you need a low light throughout the night, or plug in children's nightlights also work well. Due to the heavy usage of lights on landings and staircases energy saving bulbs may be worth considering.
Bedroom Lighting: It's a good idea to consider a dimmer switch on your main bedroom light so you can adjust the level of light to suit the mood and time of day. If you read in bed or have to get out of bed to switch your main light off then a table light for your bedside table is essential.
Children's Bedroom Lighting: A bright general light is necessary for the child to play. A dimmer switch on this light may be a good idea if your child does not like the dark, or alternatively a plug in nightlight works well. You may also need a desk/table light if your child reads in bed or does their homework at a desk in their bedroom. Wall and ceiling lights are safer to use if you have a very young child as they will not be able to reach them. It is not advisable to fit low hanging lights or table/desk lights in a younger child's room.
Living Room LightingThis room is probably the most functional room of the house where many different activities take place. Table and Floor lamps are great next to chairs and sofas to aid close work such as reading. Wall lights are also good for creating ambiance in the living room, especially up lighters. Most people have a TV in their living room so soft ambient light is recommended when viewing. You may want to highlight a painting, plant or object with a spotlight or picture light or create a focal point with a pendant or chandelier.
Dining Room Lighting: This is the ideal room for a chandelier or pendant light. Hang it directly above your dining room table if possible to provide light and focus on the table. Wall lighting is also a good idea to create a warm ambient atmosphere, perfect for dinner parties.
Consider where your work surfaces are to ensure that you direct the light to where it is most needed. Fluorescent lights or spotlights are ideal for kitchens as they're bright and can direct light accordingly. If you have a kitchen table, rise and fall lamps are ideal or if space is at a premium then space track lighting or spotlights are sufficient. Do not use table and floor lights, or lights with flex as these can prove extremely hazardous in the kitchen.
A good general light is needed in your home office along with a desk light. A classic Anglepoise design is the perfect desk lamp.
Adding a table or floor lamp to a lighting scheme is an easy way to add ambience, highlight a specific area of a room, or provide light for a specific task such as reading.
The soft pools of light from table lamps give a room warmth and depth. To check if a lamp is the right size for a table the bottom of the shade should be no higher than eye level when seated. Ideally, lamps situated between chairs should have thin or transparent bases so they do not impede conversation. When buying a lamp always check that the flex is long enough to reach the socket. Choose lamps with flexible arms for task lighting.
Floor lamps can be used to create areas of light and shade which add interest and warmth to a room. For a clean contemporary look buy co-ordinating floor and table lamps. Mother and child lamps feature a main lamp and a second directional reading light. Floor lamps often also feature useful dimmer switches and foot switches for ease of operation.
Excellent for task lighting and for the home office, desk lamps are essential when a well-lit area is required. Look for lamps featuring desk clamps or a weighted base. Widely adjustable arms allow greater movement for effective positioning so you can focus the light in on a specific area.
To see our full range of Lamps Click Here
Lampshades and Pendant Shades
The colour, shape and material of a shade will make an enormous difference to the overall look of a lamp when combined with a base. Make sure the shade is in proportion to the size of the base. Ideally the shade should be no smaller than one-third of the height of base. Drum shaped shades tend to look more contemporary than conical or coolie shades, which are more traditional. Pendant shades come in all shapes, sizes and colours and are a quick way to update a pendant fitting without doing any electrical installation.
To see our full range of Lampshades Click Here
View our full our range of Designer and Contemporary Lighting
Do you have a question? Why not email our Product Advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org