How to Make Light Bulb Buying Easy

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free light bulb

Are you still having a hard time buying light bulbs? Well, I thought I had it all figured out until my art light bulb died. Let me just say that my art light is one of favorite things. Why? Because it illuminates my absolutely beautiful (to me) painting by Dixie Purvis, and it serves as a night light for my foyer.



Copy the picture below and save it for when you shop. As you can see, the lower the Kelvin  (a measurement of color temperature), the warmer the light.


After lots of  research and talking to many interior design experts…

Here are my guidelines for buying bulbs:

CFL (Compact Fluorescent)
The only place a CFL (compact fluorescent) bulb is allowed is in a storage room or your garage.

These put off a yellow-green light that is horrible-really horrible. These should never be used inside your home’s living area. They also need to be recycled. This is doable since you can easily drop them off are Home Depot and Batteries Plus. But I’m trying to simplify my life, not complicate it so CFLs are not an option at my house.



It helps to understand bulbs that have been phased out and ones that remain available. Many specialty incandescents remain available. Examples are chandelier bulbs and other decorative bulbs, appliance bulbs, and 3-way. 20-watt, 75-watt and 100-watt bulbs are still available, but are categorized as “rough service” bulbs.  This comforts me because after I run through the piles of old-style incandescent bulbs, that have been hoarded in my basement, I still have options! Light bulbs are the only thing I hoard for the record.


LED (Light-Emitting Diode)

I’m really trying to use these more and more because they have a very long life.

  • Outdoors in flood lights where you need a very tall ladder to install. I ask the gutter cleaner to install these.
  • Lamps where the shade is not white or light cream. The darkest shades I own are deep beige, and the LEDs aren’t as harsh and bright when used with them. You want the tone of every light in the house to be the same or very similar. It gets a little tricky when you mix LED with incandescents but it can be done.
  • Recessed lighting where you have a dimmer installed. You shouldn’t have recessed lighting without a dimmer anyway. LEDs are brighter than incandescents and a dimmer tones it down so everyone looks pretty! Your home should avoid a lighting scheme that reminds you of an operating room.
  • Stay with a “warm” or “soft” white which has 2700 Kelvin (see chart above).
  • My favorite brand is Cree. It is consistently rated high in research, and easily available online and at Home Depot.




Frosted versus Clear
Unless you are using an Edison Bulb which has a vintage look with the filaments exposed (available in both incandescent and LED) go with frosted because it diffuses the light evenly.

Circling back around to my art light, it’s a specialty incandescent so it is easily purchased (but I have plenty hoarded which comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me). Light bulbs are the only thing I hoard by the way.

Do you need a designer, electrician, or handyman? Contact me for recommendations so you can love your house now and make selling it easy when the time is right.

You may also be interested in this posts:

A Fresh Home Update with Lighting






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