On the homepage of our website we write about the secret of good interior lighting and how this has to do with the right light source. The right light source is the one that suits your lamp and emits the desired light. This is necessary because a nice looking lamp does not automatically provide you with pleasant lighting. The wrong light source can result in cold, sterile light, light that hurts your eyes or the necessity to use a flash light to see what is on your plate. This blog will help you find a suitable light source.
Because we have so much to tell about this subject, this blog turned out to be quite long. That’s why we want to let you know already that we have made a handy overview of all the information in this blog;Download the handy light source decision aid here!
When we started designing lamps we automatically also started browsing through the land of light sources. Whenever we create a new lamp design the moment of excitement arrives when we insert the light bulb and turn on the light. It surprised us that the result ranges from amazing to monstrous. We are not exaggerating, we made a concept lamp that we named the ‘green monster’ after switching on the light. The material that we used for the lamp turned out to reflect the light from the inside in an ugly manner. This was the last time we used this material. Below you see the concept lamp that we named the green monster;
As said the result did not always meet our expectations. There were many different reasons for this. We found out that the light source of our choice has a big effect on this and therefore we have tried out many. In the meanwhile we know exactly where we need to focus on and the choice of the right light bulb is no longer a mystery to us. In our webshop you can find the light sources of our preference for each lamp design. You can find the specifications and the ambience the light source creates. In the frequently asked questions section you can find more information on the light sources we have pre-selected for the Lampshapers lamps designs.
We mentioned earlier that the light source needs to fit the lamp and the desired lighting effect. Below, we will explain how this works, not only for the Lampshaper lamps but for all available lamps with an E26 or E27 light socket. The information is also relevant for lamps with other light sockets but the possibilities are less extensive.
We have split the process of choosing the right light bulb in two steps. Step A is about the 3 lamp qualities and step B is about the 3 technical characteristics of the light source. In each step you can decide for yourself what you want and need. At the end you will have a short list with your wishes for a light source you can take to the store where you will be able to choose the perfect light source.
STAP A – 3 characteristics that influence your choice of a light source
A1. The shape of the lamp is open or closed
The lamp has a closed form that covers the light source; you cannot directly see the light source, only the light that it emits. Your grandma’s lampshade is a good example. It does not matter what the light source looks like, except that the light source is small enough not to be visible beneath or above the lamp shade.
The lamp has an open or transparent shape in which the light source is visible. Now it does matter what the light source looks like. In most cases an energy saving light bulb will not look pretty. Of course this is not a fact but a matter of taste :) We advise to choose a light source with clear glass in a Globe or Edison shape. We believe that these bulbs work best in our designs. From left to right: LED filament globe (Ø95mm), LED filament Edison, halogen globe (Ø95mm)
A2. Shaduw effects
Shadow effects are a specific trait of our lamp designs but also common in other lamp designs. With the choice of light source you can determine whether shadow patterns are clearly visible or more subtle;
If the light bulb has several light emitters or if the light is emitted from a larger plane, as is the case with a LED (filament) lamp and a carbon filament lamp, the shadow patterns will be less clear. If the light is emitted from 1 small source within the bulb, as is the case with a halogen bulb, you will have clear, distinguishable, sharp edged shadow patterns (as you can see in the picture of the living room). The choice is yours.
A3. The directness of light
This mostly has to do with whether you want to be able to look directly into the light. If you want a brighter light source, for example to be able to read a book, this light can be too bright for your eyes. If you have a reading lamp you can manually adjust the direction of the light so that it is functional for reading but you do not have to look directly into it. Pendants with an open shape, as we sell, cannot be pointed in a certain direction. If the selected light intensity turns out to be too strong for you, you could consider choosing a light bulb which prohibits you from looking directly into the light. A good example is a bowl mirror lamp which lower part acts as a mirror and internally reflects the light. Another example is by using a lamp made out of milk glass. We do think that this is a less pretty solution. As we mentioned before it is a personal matter which light sources are too bright and which light sources work well for you. You have to try this yourself, this can often be done in the store where the light bulbs are sold.
The bowl mirror lamp only emits light from the upper part of the bulb so that you do not directly look into the light. An added bonus is that the mirrored part beautifully mirrors the patterns of the pendant and that the shadow patterns are more clearly visible and sharper at the edges. Because there is no light shining down, a pretty lapse of colours can be seen inside the lamp. If you use this light bulb above a dinner table, however, it could be that the light turns out to be too dim for practical use. The bowl mirror lamp is available in halogen and LED versions.
STAP B – 3 technical properties influencing the choice of the light bulb
B1. Light intensity
The light intensity needed depends on the situation that you want to use the lamp in. This can be to create a nice atmosphere in the room, but in many cases the light will have a specific purpose. An example is the lamp above your dining table. You will probably want to turn it on in a dimmer manner when you are located elsewhere in your home but you will need more light during dinner, or for reading the paper or playing a board game. The ideal solution for this is a dimmer. Some light sources cannot be dimmed however and LED lamps require a special kind of dimmer. Next to purchasing a dimmer you will need to buy a light source with the desired light intensity. Simply put, this comes down to a light source that is not too weak and not too bright. Below we show some examples you could use as a starting point.
Beware: When choosing a light source make sure you do not pay too much attention to the Wattage. The light intensity of a light bulb of 40 Watt is much lower that a LED lamp of 40 Watt. It is better and easier to check what is indicated with ‘Lumen’. Lumen stands for a measure of the total amount of visible light. A higher number means more light.
B2. Light colour
Nowadays, light sources can be bought in all kinds of colours and you see more and more light sources where you can determine the exact colour shade yourself using a remote control or an app on your phone. This is an advantage of the possibilities the LED technology offers us. In this blog we will not go into this. By light colour we mean the color temperature of the light source. In other words, whether the light source emits colder (white) or wamer light (yellow). The colour temperature is expressed in Kelvin and can be found on the packaging. The lower the number the ‘warmer’ the light colour. Below you can find several examples. Again, choosing the right colour temperature is a matter of taste.Light with a lower colour temperature is usually experienced as more atmospheric and cosy. Light with a higher colour temperature is usually experienced as colder and less pleasant. Still, light with a higher colour temperature is more suitable for working because of the brightness. With a dimmer you can control the light temperature.
Beware: Choose exactly the same light source if you want to have the same colour temperature for example for two nightshades on either side of the bed. Even though the technical details are exactly the same, differences can occur between brands or the type of bulb and this will be noticeable.
B3. Pollution, expected life span and price
These three aspects do not have a direct influence on the final atmosphere you create but can be a deciding factor for the light source of your choice. Therefore, we give you a global overview of the most environmentally friendly lamp and the least friendly option for the environment;
This is it! If you include all the mentioned elements in your choice of a light source you will reach the desired effect on the atmosphere you are hoping to create. If you have questions, remarks or additions to this blog please let us know. As we told you at the beginning of this blog, we have made a handy overview of the information below to take with you to the store;Download the handy light source decision aid here!