Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Lighting your home

Choosing the right bulb for the right place

It's important to have a minimum amount of light for places such as stairways for safety reasons, and to avoid eye strain in places you might read or do close work such as embroidery. However, there is no point in paying to make a place brighter than you need it to be.

Below, we suggest the minimum amount of brightness in lumens that you should have in different areas of your home, and what the equivalent number of watts is for each type of bulb.

You might also want to see the guidance provided by Thomas Pocklington Trust on lighting and design.

Stairways

For stairways, have at least 1,200 lumens.

This is provided by:

Old-fashioned bulbs: 100W
Halogen bulbs: 80W
CFL: 20W
LED: 10W

 

 

Average-sized rooms

For average-sized rooms, have 600-700 lumens. This is provided by:

Old-fashioned bulbs: 60W
Halogen bulbs: 50W
CFL: 10W
LED: 6W

 

 

 

Large rooms

For large rooms with one light fixture, have at least 1,200 lumens. This is provided by:

Old-fashioned bulbs: 100W
Halogen bulbs: 80W
CFL: 20W
LED: 10W

 

 

 

 

 

For large rooms with more than one fitting, have 600-700 lumens. This is provided by:

Old-fashioned bulbs: 60W
Halogen bulbs: 50W
CFL: 10W
LED: 6W

 

Lamps or fittings with more than one bulb

If you have more than one bulb that will be on at the same time, use bulbs that give off 300-400 lumens. This is provided by:

Old-fashioned bulbs: 40W
Halogen bulbs: 30W
CFL: 7W
LED: 4W

Fittings in other places

Kitchens

Kitchen unit lights, such as the ones mounted under kitchen cabinets, can be CFL, halogen or LED. 

 

 

 

 

But in cold places such as an unheated pantry, use a halogen or LED bulb. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For secondary lights in kitchens, and the lights in small spaces such as cupboards, you shouldn't need more then 250 lumens. 

This is provided by:

Old-fashioned bulbs: 25W
Halogen bulbs: 20W
CFL: 4W
LED: 2W

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated: June 2014


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