Painting? Let’s Talk About Your Lighting First

Remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry’s GF Gwen was almost unrecognizable in different lighting?

Funny….but truth is we’ve all been skunked bringing something home that looked nothing like it did in the store.   Different color reads on  clothing or cosmetics can sting, but generally work out. But if you’re planning on painting, trust TRH: Starting with a lighting check will save you time, money, and angst.

Are you a lighting denier or minimizer?

Dismissive of prioritizing good lighting…they-meaning we  🙂 are busy people! We have obligations and commitments, so we aim for efficiency and we like thrift, especially on the un-fun, un-sexy stuff. So we

  • Buy light bulbs infrequently and in quantity
  • Put unneeded yet still working bulbs back in any light bulb box
  • Pull from this inventory when a bulb blows

So over time, we create a mosh of light colors and brightnesses in our light bulb stash, as well as in our rooms. Shorter days, and more time inside, now is the perfect time to evaluate and update lighting, whether we’re painting or not. Here’s what you need to know:

About bulbs

  • Bulbs’ wattages dim over time when in use. So in a multiple-bulb scenario like a light fixture, or room ceiling flood- even replacing one with exactly the same will often look different from the others.
  • Tech changes: Halogens are patently unsafe, and fluorescents (including CFLs) are ugly, and light uglier.  And just this month production of inefficient incandescent bulbs are totally banned.
  • Industry changes: Fixtures/parts are manufactured to accommodate the latest tech. So new bulbs might not work well or at all in old fittings, and visa-versa.

About color

How it reads is affected by a number of things. These three bundle together to form a highly variable set of circumstances, unique to your space, and creating chaos with how you read color.

  • Natural light-direction and quantity
  • What the color is shown with-flooring, tiles, furniture
  • How much of this color there is

Translated: A blue sectional in a north-facing room with white walls will read very differently from that very same blue in a chair, that’s seen in a room with taupe walls and a southern exposure.

About reading light bulb boxes, and buying bulbs

IMO light bulb packages have way too much information on them. Much repetitive, or unnecessary. TRH suggests there are 4 things you need to know, and BONUS  two of them you kind of already do!

Explaining light bulb packages

  1.  Wattage  You probably know what you’re looking for, but if you get stumped, there’s a sticker somewhere on the fixture to tell you its maximum wattage.
  2. LED is just the technology, how the light is powered/delivered. Its predecessors were CFLs, halogens and incandescents. A longer-lasting and more energy-efficient bulb, LEDs are not only a better bulb, its pretty much your only choice out there. So don’t worry, this is an easy yes.
  3. Bulb Color DING-DING-DING!! There are 3 lighting colors most consumers have to choose from, wrong color is the biggest reason color will change. Soft White is on one end of the continuum. A warm, even a pinkish tone. Other end is Daylight. SOUNDS like the best choice but not really. Its a cold, blue-toned light. Both distort color tremendously.                                                                                           95% of the time, the middle color works best. Called both Bright White and Cool White in the industry, it’s a more natural light, no funny undertones.
  4. Dimmable feature is a wise choice for most bulbs, and really a must for interior ceiling floods. Dimmable bulbs work in non-dimmable fixtures (think outdoor lights, simple flush mounts you have in hallways), but non-dimmable bulbs will not work in dimmable fixtures.  The 10-15% cost differential might make you want to make a fixture-by-fixture decision, but most find the convenience of having fewer bulb styles to inventory, and bulbs that can go anywhere outweighs any savings.

TRH strives to help people make their own best decisions. And we are always learning. So HM and big shout out to recent clients Lisa and Larry. They turned me on to floods with built-in color-changing abilities. Different from the ‘smart bulbs’ you control thru your phone, these have switches built into the bulbs’ neck, to manually adjust to your liking.

At a lighting or color impasse? We can help you make sense of it all. Just start the conversation!