If your home lighting includes ceiling lights, the time will come when replacements are needed. You might want an updated design, brighter lighting or higher efficiency. Maybe the old fixture has just stopped working. If you haven’t shopped for a ceiling light in a while, you’ll be amazed at the range of features available in the latest models.
The older fixture you’re replacing probably has a standard screw-in bulb socket and is operated by a wall switch or pull chain. The newer ceiling lights you’ll be choosing from may have features you don’t yet know you need, but once they’re installed, you may wonder how you lived without them. Newer ceiling light solutions often feature LED lights, for higher efficiency and longer life. They may offer features such as dimming, motion sensors, remote controls, and even mood lighting! Today’s home lighting solutions are smarter and more convenient to use. You’ll find them easier to use than the lights you’re replacing, and they can give you more options for changing the lighting in your home to not only illuminate, but also to set the mood to match the activities of the moment.
Which Ceiling Light is Right for You?
Choosing the correct light for your situation is important, since you’ll be living with your choice for a long time. You should take the time to understand the available features to determine which type of light most closely meets your needs. Even if you buy online it’s helpful to visit a store where you can see the actual product. A knowledgeable salesperson may be able to provide tips or give you new ideas. Here are some things you’ll want to consider when deciding which solution is best for you.
Of prime importance is whether the ceiling light you’re selecting can be mounted in the same location as the light you’re replacing. Most ceiling lights are connected directly into your home’s electrical wiring by means of an outlet box installed in the ceiling. (IMPORTANT: Be sure to turn off the power to any electrical circuits before working on them.) Even though this connection type is common, it’s worth checking the existing ceiling light mount before selecting a new light, so you don’t spend time evaluating lights that you won’t be able to install.
While you’re looking at the ceiling light mount, you should also notice if there’s any ceiling damage or color variation that is hidden by your existing light fixture. If you select a new light that won’t cover these blemishes, additional work may be required to make the new installation look its best.
Room Size and Height
The amount of area that needs to be lit will determine how bright a light you will need. If you’re replacing an existing fixture, consider whether it was sufficiently bright for the room. If not, the solution may simply be to purchase a brighter light. Fortunately, there is a way to compare the brightness of various lighting solutions, whether they’re old school incandescent bulbs, fluorescent lights or LEDs. The common metric is “lumens,” which you’ll see listed on all LED ceiling light packages, as well as on the packaging of light bulbs and fluorescent lights. Unlike the wattage requirements also shown on packaging, lumens are comparable among the different types of lights. A higher lumens number means a brighter light. Watts, on the other hand, may vary from one type of light to another, with different wattages required to produce the same number of lumens.
Lighting can affect the feeling or mood in a room according to the wavelengths of light produced. This is called “color temperature.” Color temperature of lighting affects the way we see colors, which can affect our perception of how bright the lights are, as well as our mood. Lights that contain more reds are said to have warm temperatures, which those more at the blue end of the spectrum are called cool temperatures. Color temperatures are expressed in degrees Kelvin, for example 3000K, but you may be more familiar with terminology used in the lighting industry. “Soft white” lights are warmer colors, generally falling in the range of 2700K – 3000K. It’s the color temperature, and the tendency toward the red end of the spectrum, that makes us perceive these lights as “soft”. “Bright White” or “Cool White” (approximately 3500-4100K) are cooler, and appear to us as whiter light. “Daylight” lights, as the name implies, get closer to the full spectrum we see in sunlight, and look brighter to us, 5000K-6500K.
To make sure the light you select is best suited to your needs you should also consider the requirements of the room in which you will be installing it. A new ceiling light kit is likely to have features that weren’t available in the fixture you’re replacing, so you will want to make sure that the features you’re selecting will be useful in the location where you’ll be doing the installation. As you shop for your new light, you will find that some lights allow you to vary the color temperature, so the same light can be changed to give you different lighting effects with the same equipment.
Perhaps the most important area of home lighting is the kitchen. From reading recipes to finding that ice cube you dropped on the floor, good illumination is critical. Modern kitchen design includes a bright overall ambient light, which your ceiling light should provide, augmented by task lighting in various work areas throughout the room. The kitchen can also be a high-traffic area and a family gathering spot. Today’s lighting solutions that feature motion sensors can trigger the lights to come on whenever someone enters the kitchen and turn them off after everyone has left the room. No more fumbling in the dark for the light switch or the last one out forgetting to turn out the lights.
Living Room and Family Room
The rooms where your family relaxes and socializes can benefit the most from the versatility that new home lighting solutions can offer. Ceiling lighting in these rooms often serves as ambient lighting that provides the overall tone for the room. Smaller task lights, such as reading lamps or display lights for artwork or collections, complement the ambient light. Ceiling lights with variable color temperatures can help adapt the room to any mood. Activities that require bright light, such as reading, can be served by the same ceiling light that dims the room just enough to highlight the brilliance of your TV screen. Lights can be put on a timer to simulate activity when no one is home. When you evaluate the features offered by a new lighting system, consider the amount of flexibility they give you to use your lights in different ways than what’s been possible before.
Hallways are another area where motion sensors can play an important role. Hallways are transient areas, where people are likely to forget about turning lights on and off as they pass through. It’s likely that other features aren’t as important in hallways, but the one feature it needs is powerful. You will never have to worry about turning a hallway light on or off again if your ceiling light has one simple feature, the motion trigger.
The bedroom is one room where a new ceiling light’s features can really shine. For this room, you may want to consider a light with more features. Many designers emphasize task lighting in the bedroom, as opposed to the overall bright lighting you might find in a kitchen. A ceiling light that can be dimmed much of the time is consistent with this design philosophy. Still, there will be times that you need the bedroom to be well lit, so the ability to vary the brightness will give you the flexibility you need. A light with adjustable color temperature will allow you to wake up gently in the morning or tone down the blue light before you go to sleep. You might appreciate the mood lighting features that some lights offer, to provide ambient light of various colors to fit a particular mood. From romantic to relaxing, mood lighting can enhance your enjoyment of quiet time. Perhaps most importantly, you might consider a light that has a remote control, that allows you to access all the light’s features while lying in bed. If being able to turn the room light off after you’re already in bed sounds good to you, a remote-controlled ceiling lamp may be just what you need.
Ceiling Light Design
In addition to all the technical features that are available, you’ll want to consider the visual design of the light. LED light technology gives manufacturers a lot more flexibility in design that the older screw-in or fluorescent fixtures do. While may people opt for an unobtrusive ceiling light with clean lines and a smooth shape, there may be situations where more ornate designs are desirable. In some cases you may find that you need to balance your design preferences against other features these lights may not have, as well as cost.
We’ve already emphasized the importance of safety when installing a ceiling light fixture, since you will be connecting wires directly to your home electrical circuits. Be sure to follow the installation instructions that come with your new light, especially the instructions to turn off power to the circuit where the light is being installed, and verifying that the power is off.
Another important aspect of safety is in the selection of the product itself. Reputable manufacturers have their products tested and certified to industry standards, which is signified by the ETL Certified mark on the product an packaging. Most major retailers require ETL certification for any electrical products they sell, but you should be aware of the ETL mark and its meaning in the event you run across a product that is not ETL certified.
Putting it All Together
There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting the ceiling light that best suits your home lighting needs. It’s worth taking the time up front to think through what you really want and need for your situation. You don’t want to overpay for features you don’t need, but you also don’t want to miss out on features that can make your home lighting more versatile and convenient.
Manufacturers are increasingly recognizing the demand for more features in home lighting systems and area developing ceiling light solutions that pack a multitude of features into a single product. One such example is the KODA 14” LED Ceiling Light With Mood Lighting And Motion Sensor. This one product incorporates just about all the features we’ve discussed, in one cleanly designed, attractive light fixture.
This one product could be used in any of the situations discussed above. Its variable brightness and color temperature allow you to set any combination of illumination and color spectrum. Motion sensors are included, making it ideal for applications where that is needed. Its mood lighting feature gives you a capability you may not have even considered until now. An included remote control lets you take advantage of all its features without ever touching a light switch.
If you’re overwhelmed by the number of options available on today’s LED ceiling lights, The KODA light could help you narrow down your needs. By installing a light like this, you could see in a short period of time what features are important and useful to you. Even if you wanted only a simple light, with a constant brightness level and color temperature, that you turn on and off with a light switch, this light can do that. It won’t likely stay that way for long, though. As you discover how the convenience and versatility offered by modern lighting products, a simple “on-or-off” won’t ever again be enough for you.