No, we don’t have flying cars or “Rosie the Robot” cooking dinner and cleaning the house. But the 21st century has lived up to a few other technological advances, one of which is LED lighting. If you know the basics of LED lighting, you know LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. These diodes are about the size of a fleck of pepper and, yet somehow, they absorb the heat produced by their own electrical conduction.
It may seem like a small feat, but think about how often you need light. (Hint: it’s all day, every day.) Lights are sprinkled throughout your house, lined up along the street, and are even strategically installed in your traditional, wheels-on-the-ground vehicle. By improving something as simple as the light bulb, technology has given us a new way to see the world.
If your home isn’t already outfitted with LED lighting, this is the decade to make the switch.
Making the Switch: 9 Reasons You’ll Flip for LED Lighting
Like any new-and-improved technology, you might expect LED lighting to be more expensive than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. And, quite frankly, it is. However, LED lighting makes up for its initial cost with a full list of benefits. As you’ll see below, making the switch to LED lighting can save you money, time, energy, and frustration.
Keep in mind, there’s no design rule that says you have to replace every light fixture in the house with LED alternatives. But once you change a few, you might become addicted to any – or all – of these LED lighting perks:
- Energy efficiency: According to Energy.gov, residential LEDs use at least 75% less energy than incandescent lights. While compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) use about 50% to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs, LEDs are still considered the most energy-efficient lighting option. This is in large part due to the fact that LEDs emit very little heat and use fewer watts of electricity. If you’re looking for premier energy-efficient lighting, choose Energy Star-rated LED fixtures.
- Extended lifespan: Because LEDs generate such little heat, they do not burn out quickly. In fact, they can last 25 times longer than incandescent lights. Here’s a more specific comparison: A 60-watt traditional incandescent bulb has a life of about 1,000 hours versus a 12-watt LED bulb that produces comparable illumination can last 25,000 hours. These lifespans are based on two hours per day of usage. As reported in the Washington Post, a bulb rated for 25,000 hours will last about 13 years if turned on for five hours every day.
- Color spectrum: The latest LED lighting can produce a variety of hues and temperatures. Color temperature is measured in Kelvins on a scale that runs from warm to cool tones. In your dining room, for instance, you want a warm, ambient light. This requires LED lighting with lower Kelvins, ranging from 2700 to 2800K. Whereas, a home office would be better suited for the cool blue tone emitted by higher Kelvin LEDs – something above 4500K. Within these temperature ranges you can also select different shades of color. Smart LED products, like the Bulbrite Solana collection, let you play with countless color options. Create lively scenes with pinks, oranges, purples and any other hue you can imagine.
- Mobile control: The best part about smart LED products is that they’re compatible with Bluetooth technology. This allows you to connect your home’s LED lighting with your smartphone. Using the lighting brand’s mobile application, you can turn on or off your lights, as well as change the colors or power output.
- Dimmability: Speaking of power output, the ability to dim is another fun feature of LED lighting. While this is not unique to LEDs, it’s still a nice perk to have in certain areas of your home (the master bedroom, dining room, and living room, to name a few). Note: if your home already has a dimmer switch, double-check that your new LED lights are compatible with your current dimmers.
- Direction: Incandescent bulbs emit light in all directions, which can be useful for general lighting. LEDs, on the other hand, can send light in a specific direction. This helps eliminate the need for reflectors and diffusers, which ultimately trap light and reduce its effectiveness.
- Durability: Not only are LED lights resistant to burning out, but they can also withstand extreme conditions. LEDs do not have a fragile filament to protect. Instead, the diodes are small and solid, making them naturally stronger than incandescent bulbs. As a result, LED lighting holds up against cold temperatures, hot temperatures and even a little unexpected jarring.
- Quiet production: Again, because there’s no filament or firing arc, LED lights don’t have a loud background buzzing. They can still produce noise, especially if connected to a faulty dimmer. Overall, though, sound is minimal and much less distracting than any fluorescent fixture.
- Style: At first, LED lighting was primarily made for commercial and industrial fixtures. Thankfully, advances in LED lighting technology have led to a significant expansion in product selection. Now, you can find LED technology integrated into any and every kind of light fixture – from outdoor lantern lights to crystal chandeliers. With so many options, you’re sure to find a style to fit your home’s lighting needs.
Our Favorite LED Lighting Styles
LED lighting offers something for everyone. The hardest part will be deciding which fixtures to convert first. To help inspire your inner designer, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite energy-efficient lighting picks.
As the symbol of luxury lighting, chandeliers offer unmatched elegance. But, like most luxury items, upkeep requires significant time and money. With LED chandeliers, however, maintenance is minimal. The bulbs will last decades, and the power of their illumination never dies. Aside from routine dusting and polishing, your work here is done.
Save time, money, and style with the Energy Star-rated Socorro chandelier. The torpedo candelabra bulbs send a warm white light directly up, which helps reduce glare and set an intimate tone over your dining room table. If that’s not enough, you’ll certainly appreciate the rich quatrefoil design that’s rooted in Italian craftsmanship.
The Viaggio chandelier has all the makings of art deco lighting. You can see it in the geometric forms, opal glass globes and shiny brass arms. Yet, the contrasting black body and warm LED lighting ensure this piece de resistance fits in with your modern-day home. Set the stage for a good time by hanging this chandelier in your active entertaining space.
Structurally speaking, pendant lights are nothing more than a bulb on a string. This basic canvas, however, allows lighting designers to express their creativity through a range of sizes, finishes, shapes, and styles. Pendants tend to be the most abstract light fixtures, which often leads to powerful statements. While you can get the same effect from any pendant, LED lighting technology elevates these artforms with color-changing capabilities. That stunning accessory now delivers a dazzling light show with just the push of a button.
Take a very small step toward LED lighting with the Akova mini-pendant. At only seven inches in diameter, this fixture won’t feel like a huge commitment. In fact, you can keep the look super simple with only one Akova pendant. Or, if your home needs more light – and you’re willing to make the change – cluster a few together. Lining three brass balls over a square dining table is a classic design technique.
The Crete pendant is living proof that the industrial roots of LED lighting have transferred seamlessly into residential décor. Its gray concrete shell is clearly inspired by the rugged floors found in a factory or garage, but the big, round shape and fabric-covered wire soften the texture just enough. Float one or more Crete pendants above your contemporary-style foyer, kitchen island or dining room table to create more visual interest.
For a pop of something playful, choose the Fizz mini-pendant. The bubble glass shade lends a touch of texture when the lights are out. Turn on those LED bulbs and your entire space comes alive. Even though LEDs are quiet fixtures, this one gives the illusion of noise. Keep the heart of your home buzzing with a set of Fizz pendants above the kitchen island.
Bathroom vanity lighting is a unique class of fixtures. These pieces must provide task lighting while fitting around odd-shaped mirrors and into tight under-cabinet crevices. These fixtures also have to be reliable; you use your bathroom day in and day out. That’s what makes LED vanity lights so attractive. With minimal maintenance and long-lasting illumination, you don’t have to worry about replacing a rare bulb size or maneuvering around a fragile pane of glass. Set up your LED vanity lights one time, and then let them shine.
If there’s any design style that benefits from LED lighting the most, it’s minimalism. As you can (barely) see in the Latitude bath vanity fixture, four LED lights are nicely integrated with the etched-glass panel. This kind of technology, along with a brushed nickel finish and lots of straight edges, creates a perfectly sleek aesthetic.
LED light bulbs are part of the “smart home” bundle. In other words, these high-tech accessories make your outdoor lights completely controllable from a mobile device. You could be away on vacation or just staying late at the office, but passersby never have to know. By connecting to a mobile app on your smartphone, you can turn on as many outdoor lights as you want. This sends a message to potential intruders that someone’s home. It’s also a convenient way to light your front porch and walkway, so you don’t have to pull up to a pitch-black house.
Your front entryway will feel completely safe and secure with the Dawn LED wall light on guard. Just one of these bold, modular fixtures emits 1,440 lumens at 3000K. The bright yellow light dramatically spreads up and down your wall for maximum coverage. On top of that, you get an artful accessory that will wow guests as they’re greeted at the door.
If you really want to save money and resources, the Feiss Urbandale wall light doubles as a water feature – or, so it seems. The undefined glass shade mimics the motion of water, giving the impression that rain is pouring down the window pane. As a result, LED light calmly flows down the streamlined fixture. It’s the kind of tranquility you want on your back patio or around a Zen garden.
Embrace Elegant Technology
LED lighting has probably been on your radar for quite some time now. Perhaps the price points have held you back in the past, but shouldn’t anymore. With so many beautiful LED lighting designs available, it’s impossible to overlook these energy-efficient alternatives. By embracing twenty-first-century LED technology, you’ll enjoy long-term savings and long-lasting style.