When it comes to energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and eco-friendliness, you simply can’t beat LED lighting. LEDs are by far the most environmentally friendly of all bulbs, as they convert more energy into light and less into heat, which means they don’t use as much energy overall. Using less electricity reduces the demand to generate more at power plants, which in turn reduces carbon emissions and greenhouse gases.
Not only are LEDs are a more eco-friendly option, but they also last much longer than old-fashioned halogen styles, meaning you won’t need to buy replacements as frequently. Plus, they can save you a pretty penny on your utility costs, too.
In fact, if you switch all of the bulbs in your home, you could slash your electricity bill by as much as 90% (Guardian). And, as retailers are no longer selling traditional incandescent halogen bulbs following an EU ruling in 2018, everyone will need to switch to a more modern style of lightbulbs eventually.
With this in mind, I’ll explain how to make the switch, and give you a few pointers for using LED lighting efficiently and stylishly throughout every room in your home.
HOW TO LIGHT A SMALL HOME WITH ECO-FRIENDLY & LONG-LASTING LEDs
Can you replace any halogen bulbs with LEDs?
To reap the benefits of switching to LED, all you need to do is replace any incandescent lightbulbs with LED bulbs. These come in exactly the same styles as halogen bulbs — either screw-in or bayonet — which means it should be perfectly easy to make the switch, and there’s no need to invest in new light fittings or lamps. Just be sure to pick the right size and voltage: you should be able to find the correct information on a label on the light fixture itself.
You should also choose a bulb which offers a similar level of brightness to your old bulb. The brightness of a light is measured using a unit called ‘lumens’, while the ‘wattage’ indicates the amount of energy it consumes. As LEDs are more energy-efficient than incandescent styles, the wattage is much lower, but the lumen count remains the same. So, to replace an incandescent bulb with an LED one of similar brightness, you’ll want to compare the lumens, not the wattage. As a rule of thumb, remember that the higher the lumen count, the brighter the light the bulb will give out.
There’s also the colour temperature to consider: warm white lights are better for creating a relaxing environment, while cool white lights are better when you need to see very clearly. I’ve gone into more detail about choosing the right colour temperature for different rooms in the home, below.
If you have overhead halogen bulbs which are connected to a transformer, then you might find that LED bulbs flicker instead of remaining constant. If this the case, contact your electrician, who should be able to fix this problem for you.
In homes where space is at a premium, it’s not unusual for the living room to become a multifunctional space. As well as being a place to relax and watch TV, your lounge might also double up as a home office and a space for dining and entertaining — so it’s really important that you can control the brightness level to suit each activity. Dimmer switches are ideal, as you can easily brighten up the space for working, socialising, or dining, and then lower them again when you want to curl up on the sofa to watch a movie.
Standing lamps add another layer of ambient lighting, and unlike table lamps, they can be positioned anywhere which makes them ideal for very small living rooms. If you have no space at all for a lamp, then you can always add some fairy lights along a wall — these always add a really inviting and cosy feel to a living area.
Much like the living room, the kitchen is another versatile space where you’ll want to alter the light levels to suit your needs at different times of the day. Cooking and food prep requires strong, bright lighting, which is why built-in overhead spotlights are a very popular choice in this room. They’re also very practical for smaller kitchens with lower ceilings, as they don’t get in the way. Look for bulbs with a minimum 1000 lumens to ensure they’re bright enough for safe cooking.
While very strong spotlights are great for cooking, you’ll also want to have some lower lighting options, so you can create a more relaxed ambience for dining. The best way to do this is often to fit ceiling lamps or pendant lighting with warm-white bulbs over your dining table or breakfast bar. This provides enough illumination for eating but is still ambient enough for entertaining. Running some LED strip lights around the bottom of your kitchen units can also create a very stylish ambience.
A single overhead lamp and a bedside reading lamp will usually be enough to suit your needs in a compact bedroom. LEDs can offer a very high level of brightness, so for spaces you typically want to be relaxing and ambient, you’ll want to go for warm white bulbs with a lower lumen count: 250 — 400 lumens is ideal.
If you have a vanity unit then a very bright lamp — typically around 800-1000 lumens — can be really handy for applying make-up on dark winter mornings. If you’re lucky enough to have built-in wardrobes, you could consider using LED strip lighting to illuminate your clothing collection, too.
LED lightbulbs are by far the most eco-friendly lighting option, and you could see some great savings on your energy bills, too. Plus, with the new law meaning halogen bulbs will soon be a thing of the past, now is the perfect time to make the switch to LEDs. Take my tips on board, and you should be able to create an inviting home with eco-friendly lighting options to suit all of your daily activities.