Lumens vs. Watts: How to Choose the Right LED Replacement Bulb

If you hear lumens vs. watts and think, “what the what?” you are not alone. Until recently, incandescent light bulbs with the wattage emblazoned on their packaging were the norm. And choosing light bulbs based on their wattage has also been the norm.

However, it makes more sense to use light bulbs based on how much light they provide. That’s where lumens come in. A lumen measures the brightness a light bulb provides — the higher the number of lumens, the more light the lightbulb provides.

But, how many people know what a lumen is and how it is different than a watt? And how to tell how many LED bulbs are needed for lighting in the various areas of a home? It can be confusing because watts denote not just light but also energy use. And LED bulbs are designed to use less energy, so they have lower watts, however, but are just as bright incandescent bulbs when measured in lumens.

Let’s Talk about Watts

Watts measure energy use or consumption. A 60-watt bulb consumes 60 watts of energy. This 1:1 ratio is straightforward and easy to understand. And since everyone is used to thinking of watts (energy) and watts (brightness), we are used to choosing bulbs based on watts. However, modern LED (light-emitting diode) technology creates more light with fewer watts, the 1:1 ratio no longer holds. Now the measurement for visible light energy is lumens.

And Now Lumens

And although watts are more familiar to most people, lumens are a more accurate way of expressing how much light a bulb offers because they can apply to all types of light bulbs.

Still, this new way of figuring out the brightness of light bulbs — lumens vs. watts — has yet to be clearly understood. Here’s a quick conversion for common wattages:

150 w = 2600 lm

100 w = 1600 lm

75 w = 1100 lm

60 w = 800 lm

40 w = 450 lm

When choosing the right LED replacement bulbs, what matters most is knowing how many lumens are needed for each area of the home.

Determining Amount of Lumens by Room

LED Lighting for the Dining Room

The dining room is just that: the room where you entertain, break bread and dine with family and friends. It needs a variety of lighting, and getting it right is essential in making guests feel comfortable. A well-conceived dining room lighting plan will include area lighting over the dining table, general lighting, and accent lighting for a total of 35 lm per square foot.

Downtown Deco 21 Inch 6 Light Mini Chandelier and Kadas 22 Inch Wall Sconce by Kichler Lighting

Complementing the mix of styles in this dining room, Downtown Deco 21 Inch 6 Light Mini Chandelier offers plenty of light for diners and is a stunning focal point during the day. It is important to remember that the dining room chandelier, and lighting in general, is a design element and a source of illumination. The squared edges of the outer frames bring a soft modern vibe to the design while letting the light flood the entire space.

While there is plenty of natural light streaming through during the day, once night falls, a room this large needs the additional illumination provided by a pair of Kadas 22 Inch Wall Sconces flanking the wall art above the fireplace. Hinting at the glamour of 1920’s Art Deco style, these sconces are perfect for many design styles, including modern, transitional, and traditional. LED flush mounts complete the layered lighting in this dining room.

LED Lighting for Kitchen Zones

Sometimes it seems like the kitchen is where all the action is. This multi-use space needs different brightness for specific areas. For example, the main area over the island will need more diffused mood lighting, while any work or prep areas will need focused task lighting. Bulbs for general kitchen lighting should provide a total of 35 lm per foot, while task areas require 75 lm per square foot.

Ashton 10 Inch 3 Light Mini Chandelier by Crystorama

Dazzlingly beautiful, this trio of Ashton 10 Inch 3 Light Mini Chandeliers by Crystorama feature curvaceous lines that showcase sparkling cut crystals. These whimsical mini chandeliers make a true design statement and offer plenty of light throughout the space.

Arti 18 Inch Wall Sconce by Hinkley Lighting

In addition to general or ambient lighting, kitchens often need the task lighting amply supplied by three Arti 18 Inch Wall Sconces by Hinkley Lighting. Sleek and chic, the modern design of these sconces express minimalist elegance yet take their inspiration from a traditional task light. Fully adjustable, they provide light wherever it is needed.

LED Lighting for the Living Room

The living room is another busy area of the home, used for family movie nights, game nights, entertaining, and relaxing. Due to their long lifespans and energy efficiency, LED light bulbs are an excellent choice for this room. Warm white light is ideal for living areas and using smart LED light bulbs lets you control the color and brightness.

Dakota 28 Inch 15 Light Chandelier by Crystorama

Striking in its simplicity, the Dakota 28 Inch 15 Light Chandelier by Crystorama features industrial, minimalist, and rustic elements in one cool design. While its edgy design can go with just about any décor, it really stands out in this eclectic, black and white living room. The charcoal bronze finish brings the eye upward, opening up the room and making it seem roomier and airier.

LED Lighting for the Bedroom

The bedroom is a retreat from the chaos of the world, a space where relaxation and rest rule. Light plays an integral part in creating the right ambiance. With a well-designed LED lighting plan, the room will be enveloped in a snug and cozy atmosphere.

Poppy 26 Inch 6 Light Chandelier by Crystorama

With an ideal blend of texture and movement, sweet dreams are made of the Poppy 26 Inch 6 Light Chandelier by Crystorama. The natural, organic wood beads create a rich visual impact that enhances the farmhouse look of this bedroom and highlights the rustic beams on the ceiling. No matter what the design style – coastal, boho, or rustic – this chandelier is as versatile as it is gorgeous.


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