At Glasgow Electrical, we understand the profound impact lighting can have on the ambiance and functionality of a space. The right lighting can transform a room, making it warm and inviting, or bright and conducive for tasks.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand the different types of lighting: Ambient, Accent, and Task.
  • The significance of choosing the right light bulbs.
  • The evolution of light bulbs and their efficiency.
  • Potential savings when switching to LEDs.
  • Tips to reduce your lighting bill.

The Importance of Using the Right Lighting at Home

Lighting plays a pivotal role in our daily lives. It’s not just about illuminating a room; it’s about enhancing the room’s aesthetic, mood, and functionality. Energy-efficient lighting, for instance, can significantly lower electricity bills and carbon dioxide emissions without compromising the quality of light. In fact, if you replace all the bulbs in your home with LED lights, you could reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50kg a year, which is equivalent to driving your car around 145 miles.

Types of Lighting

Ambient Lighting

This is the general lighting in a room, setting its overall mood. It’s the foundational layer of light you first consider when lighting a room.

Accent Lighting

Accent lights highlight specific features in a room, such as artwork or architectural details. They add depth and dimension to a space.

Task Lighting

As the name suggests, task lighting aids in specific tasks like reading, cooking, or working. It’s more concentrated and brighter than ambient lighting.

Choosing the Right Light Bulbs

The evolution of light bulbs has been remarkable. Traditional incandescent bulbs, invented over a century ago, are highly inefficient, converting only about 5% of the electricity they use into visible light. Modern alternatives, such as LEDs and CFLs, are not only more energy-efficient but also last longer.

Type of Bulb Efficiency Lifespan
Incandescent Low Short
Halogen Moderate Moderate
CFL High Long
LED Very High Very Long

LEDs vs. CFLs

While Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) were the first energy-efficient bulbs on the market, Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have largely replaced them. LEDs are more efficient, turn on instantly at full brightness, and fit almost any light fitting in the home.

Table: Wattage vs. Lumen Output

Traditional Bulb Wattage LED/CFL Lumen Output
15 watt 140 lumen
25 watt 250 lumen
40 watt 470 lumen
60 watt 800 lumen
75 watt 1,050 lumen
100 watt 1,520 lumen

Light Fixture Styles

Choosing the right light fixture style is crucial in achieving the desired ambiance and functionality for a room. Here are some popular styles:

  • Floor Lamps: Ideal for adding ambient light in living rooms and bedrooms.
  • Desk Lamps: Perfect for task lighting in studies and home offices.
  • Hanging Fixtures: Suitable for dining areas and entryways.
  • Solar Lamps: Eco-friendly options for outdoor lighting.
  • Outdoor Lights: Illuminate exteriors and enhance security.
  • Cabinet Lights: Illuminate countertops and workspaces in kitchens.
  • Motion-Activated Lights: For security and convenience in outdoor areas.

The Right Lighting for Each Room

Living Room

Layering task and ambient lighting can create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Consider using floor lamps for ambient lighting and table lamps for tasks like reading.


LED bulbs are ideal due to their efficiency. Under-cabinet lights can illuminate workspaces, making cooking and food preparation easier.


Soft, warm lighting promotes relaxation. Avoid harsh lights. Bedside lamps with dimmable features can be perfect for reading.


Ensure adequate lumens to avoid shadows, especially around mirrors. Waterproof fixtures are essential.

Studio/Home Office

Task lighting is crucial. Adjustable desk lamps can help reduce eye strain during long working hours.

Entryway, Hallways & Stairs

Illuminate these areas well to ensure safety. Consider motion-activated lights for entryways.

Utility Room/Garage

Bright overhead lighting is essential, especially for tasks like laundry or working on projects.


Choose fixtures that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Solar lamps can be an energy-efficient choice for gardens and pathways.

Smart Light Bulbs: The Future of Home Lighting

Smart light bulbs have revolutionised the way we think about home lighting. These internet-connected bulbs can be controlled from anywhere in the world, provided you have a data or wi-fi connection. Most of these bulbs are powered by LEDs, ensuring energy efficiency.

Table: Pros and Cons of Smart Light Bulbs

Pros Cons
Remote control capability Costs can add up for multiple bulbs
Compatible with existing fixtures Wi-fi or mobile signal dependency
Enhanced security features Limited control range for Bluetooth-only bulbs
Voice command compatibility

Dimmable Light Bulbs: Setting the Mood

Dimmable light bulbs allow users to adjust the brightness, offering flexibility in setting the room’s ambiance. While most modern dimmable lights are LEDs, it’s essential to ensure compatibility with your home’s dimming system.

LED Dimming Checklist:

  • Purchase LED bulbs labelled as dimmable.
  • Ensure your dimmer switch is LED-compatible.
  • Consider switching to a trailing-edge dimmer for smoother dimming.
  • Avoid mixing different bulb types in the same fitting.
  • For consistency, use identical LED bulbs in one fixture.

Halogen Light Bulbs: A Thing of the Past

Halogen bulbs, while more energy-efficient than traditional incandescents, have been phased out in the UK due to environmental concerns. LEDs are now the preferred choice for their efficiency, longevity, and eco-friendliness.

Table: Halogen vs. LED

Aspect Halogen LED
Efficiency Moderate Very High
Lifespan 2,000 hours 25,000 hours
Cost More expensive in the long run Prices decreasing over time

LED Spotlights: Focused and Efficient Lighting

Spotlights, typically mounted on surfaces, provide multiple beams of light. With the phasing out of halogen bulbs, LEDs have become the go-to choice for spotlights, especially in areas like kitchens and hallways.

Table: Spotlight Brightness Guide

Area Recommended Lumens
Kitchen (ambient) 300-400 lumens/sq.m
Kitchen (worktop) 700-800 lumens/sq.m

Where to Buy Light Bulbs

Several retailers offer a wide range of light bulbs, catering to different needs and preferences. Some popular options include Amazon, Argos, B&Q, Screwfix, and Ikea. Each of these retailers provides a variety of bulbs, from energy-efficient LEDs to smart bulbs.

Disposing of Old Light Bulbs

Proper disposal of light bulbs is crucial for environmental reasons. While LED bulbs can be disposed of with regular household waste, CFL bulbs need to be recycled due to their mercury content. Halogen bulbs, on the other hand, are not recyclable and should be wrapped and placed in normal household waste.