Recessed Lighting Tips

Planning the layout of recessed lighting seems to be a frustrating task for many homeowners. Knowing how many lights (cans, pot lights, downlights, etc) to put in and where to put them is important. We’ve broken down a few tips for planning recessed lighting in any space:

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    1.  Plan, Plan, Plan!
      Start by taking measurements of the room and sketching the area out on paper. Don’t forget to take measurements of any furniture or countertops/islands and include them in the sketch.
    2. Where do you want the focus to be?
      Is there an area you need or want to spotlight? Is there a certain spot in the room where you know you need a recessed light to be directly over? In the kitchen, you may want to make the area directly above the sink and/or stove a focal point. These areas are where you should start your planning, and space out the rest of the recessed light fixtures around it.
      If there isn’t a particular focal point, like in the case of many family rooms or large “bonus room” areas, place your first light in the center of the room and evenly space out the rest from there.
    3. Keep your ceiling height in mind.
      There’s a rule that many interior designers use when planning overhead recessed lights. They divide the height of the ceiling by two, and use that number as the spacing (number of feet) for your lights. For example, if your ceiling height is 8 feet, you’d space out the recessed cans every 4 feet.  This rule isn’t set in stone though, you should keep in mind the desired brightness of the room you’re trying to achieve as well as the type of bulbs you are planning on using.
    4. Don’t forget about the corners!
      Corners in any room can be a little tricky. Shadows in the corners can create the illusion of the ceiling being lower than it is. Make sure you place recessed lights around 3 feet away from the wall, letting the light reflect off the walls to make the room seem larger.

Installing recessed lighting takes a little planning and thought. Take a minute to consider these steps before you start making holes in your ceiling!

Choosing the right color LED

Incandescents are known for giving off a pleasant, warm (yellowish) light. LEDs, however, come in a variety of different colors. Getting to know your different LED lighting options for your home or office is important for setting the right mood.

LEDs come in a wide range of color options. From purple to red, and a whole range of whites and yellows, it’s important to find the right colored bulb for your light fixture depending on your space’s needs.

The most popular LED colors are “soft white” and “warm white”. These both produce a more yellowish hue than other popular LED options (“bright white”), and are the most similar to the classic incandescent bulb’s effect.

“Bright White” gives off more of a whiter hue, which can be compared to natural daylight and is typically used in larger retail stores and modern offices.

While shopping for the right LED color for you, pay attention to the Kelvins on the box. Kelvins are the unit of measurement for color in light bulbs. Typically, the lower the number, the more yellow the color will be.


What is a lumen?

Most people think that a watt is what measures the brightness of a bulb. This actually isn’t the case. Watts measure how much energy the bulb consumes. A lumen is what is actually used to measure the brightness of a bulb.

The more lumens a bulb has, the brighter it will be. Typically this coincides with the amount of energy (watts). See the chart below:


Now that there are so many different types of bulbs to choose from (incandescent, LED, CFL, etc), using watts as a measurement of brightness isn’t always a smart method. Bulbs these days consume energy (watts) in different ways, so using lumens to determine the brightness is a sure way to make sure you’re getting the level of light intensity that you need.

Harold’s Lighting stays on top of all of the new lighting regulations and can help you figure out which type of light bulbs your fixture needs!

Our Online Lighting Options

We’ve hit the busiest time of the year. Stress levels run a little high in December, and the last thing we want to do is run another errand. That’s why many of us turn to one of the best inventions of our time – online shopping!

Shopping online, especially this time of year, can help simplify your life. Why not shop for your lighting fixtures, bulbs and parts online?

Harold’s Lighting is a traditional lighting store in Seattle, but we’re not scared of changing with the times. Use our online store to shop for light fixtures (all types), a variety of light bulbs (including those hard-to-find bulbs), and lighting controls and parts. Check out our lighting fixtures on sale, our current lighting specials, and our clearance section for the best deals.

Our online lighting store is easy to use. You can search by light fixture type, brand, height, width and even by price. The checkout process is quick and before you know it, your new lighting product will be on its way to you!

We’d love to see your face in our store, but if you’d rather stay in your PJs today, check out our online lighting store here!

Our Most Common Light Bulb Question – Answered!

Going to the store to buy a light bulbs doesn’t seem as easy as it used to! Now days, there are tons of options to choose from and it can get a little confusing for the average person. Today we’ve answered the question we get most about light bulbs:

Which bulb should I buy?

The answer to this question depends on a few things. Read on to learn a little about each bulb type. Once you have all of the info you’ll have a better idea of the bulb type you need!

This bulb type is the most commonly used bulb in the US. It is the least expensive and gives off a warm and inviting light. The downside of using this bulb type is that they’re not very energy efficient. They typically only last between 700 and 1000 hours.

This type of bulb is similar to incandescents. They give off a light color/tone that is similar to natural daylight, and is often described as “white light”. Most colors viewed underneath a halogen bulb show up sharp. These bulbs are more expensive than incandescents, last a little longer, but burn at a higher temperature. It’s important to follow the handling instructions that come with these bulbs as touching them with bare hands can damage the structure of the bulb.

Oftentimes used in office buildings and other commercial buildings, this bulb is known for the flat, cold light it gives off. The color emitted is often blue feeling and not flattering to skin types or colors. Fluorescent bulbs cannot be used with a dimmer, and oftentimes flicker or make noise. These bulbs can be made to cover large spaces which makes them great for commercial use.

Compact fluorescent bulbs last around 10 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulb, and they consume about 1/4 of the energy. These bulbs are much quieter and warmer than traditional fluorescent bulbs and can be used in place of an incandescent. The downside of using this bulb type is the cost and the fact that they contain trace amounts of mercury.

Light emitting Diode bulbs are the most energy efficient and can last a very long time. They come in a vast selection of sizes and colors and are made to fit just about every light fixture that a traditional incandescent once occupied. The downside of these bulbs is that they’re expensive, and (at this time) only provide directional light, which makes them a poor chose for ambient lighting in a larger space.

Now that you have the basics, it may be easier to make your decision. First, decide how much you’re willing to spend, then move on to your color and longevity options. Call or stop by a Harold’s Lighting store if you have any other lighting related questions!

Common Light Bulb Questions

A lot of confusion surrounds light bulbs today, and we thought we’d take a minute to help answer some of our most frequently asked light bulb questions:

Why were incandescent bulbs eliminated anyway?

About seven years ago (in 2007), a law (the Energy Independence and Security Act) was passed to improve energy efficient requirements form many consumer items, most commonly used – lightbulbs. Incandescent bulbs weren’t eliminated with this law, but it did require lightbulbs to consume much less energy than they previously did. This introduced many different types of light bulbs with much less energy output levels and a much longer lifespan.

Why was it so important to change the energy laws?

Everyone in the United States uses artificial light daily.  The average home has around fifty light bulbs in it. We’ve become so used to it, that we barely even notice it anymore. Lightbulbs make a very real impact on home energy usage.

Incandescent bulbs seem much more inexpensive when compared to the newer efficient bulbs, but they burnt out much quicker and had a significant environmental impact and replacement cost. Halogen incandescents, CFL and LED light bulbs last much longer and consume less energy. The original purchase of the bulb may seem costly, but over time they actually can save you money. Energy  usage reductions are calculated at about 90% on average!

I want to replace my traditional incandescent bulbs… what should i buy?

You have many options – halogen incandescent, CFL or LED bulbs.  If you cant’ remember watts, go for lumens, which is a measure of the light given off by the bulb. Here’s a handy rule you can use:

40 watts = 450 lumens
60 watts = 800 lumens
75 watts = 1,100 lumens

If you have questions about light bulbs, give us a call! Our expert lighting staff is ready to help you make the switch to an energy saving life!

More Lighting Terms!

Ibulbsn continuing with our theme from our last blog post, we’ve found some more lighting terms that are widely used and rarely fully understood by our lighting consumers.




Total Radiant Energy

Previously, we spoke about the three different wavelengths of light, visible light, infrared and ultraviolet. Total Radiant Energy is the measurement that is used to describe the total of these three wavelengths.

Lumens per Watt

Lumens are a measurement tool to determine the amount of light that is produced in the visible spectrum. Lumens per Watt is the number of lumens divided by the total watts used to create the light. It can be helpful to use this number to know how bright the light will be.

Rated Lamp Life

Rated lamp life is a measurement tool used to determine how long the light source will last. The longevity of a light source is established through laboratory testing.  The scientists determine the “rated lamp life” by collecting a sample group of lamps and testing the source, subjecting it to several starts per day.  The length of time required for half of the lamps to burn out determines the rated lamp life.

This process is done differently for LED light sources. LEDs do not burn like the rest, and over time their brightness can diminish. The rated lamp life (example 50,000 hours) for an LED isn’t for when it burns out, it’s for when the LED will likely be shining at only 70 percent of it’s original brightness.


Many energy efficient light bulbs are made with the ingredient Mercury. Fluorescent lamps and high intensity discharge lamps are the most common types of bulbs with mercury in them. The ingredient can be harmful and toxic to humans in large amounts so caution when handling these products is always advised.

Interior Design with Lighting

Custom Shades and Fixtures at Harold's LightingLighting is a major component for every properly designed interior. It can change the mood of a space and even make a room look larger. Interior designers use different fixture types with proper placement to achieve the perfect balance.

Lighting can change the color of a room by enhancing existing features or highlighting pieces of furniture. Darker colors can make the room appear smaller while light colors can open up a space. Light can also be reflected off walls or surfaces and change the color of the paint on the walls. Playing around with different light fixtures, shades and bulbs can change up the look and feel of a room quite a bit. Expert lighting specialists and interior designers know which bulbs and shades work with certain paint colors and shades to create a harmonious space.

For most, lighting needs to serve a purpose, or else it’s just wasting electricity. Light is a major tool for increasing the functionality of a room. Task and ambient lighting can help illuminate areas where activities are performed and can help increase the efficiency and productivity of the activity. Placing the light fixtures in the right location without distracting from the other main elements of the room is very important.

If you’re looking to change up the look and feel of a room in your house you could start playing around with your lighting options. Ask an expert lighting specialist at Harold’s Lighting to help you choose the right lamp shade or light fixture for your home.

Incandescent Bulb Facts

Consumers seem to get lost in the confusion surrounding regulations regarding incandescent light bulbs.  Incandescents were the standard just a few short years ago, but with energy regulations and the growth of environmental impact awareness, they seem to be on their way out.

According to the American Lighting Association, incandescent light bulbs must now meet stricter requirements for lumens and wattage (as of January 1, 2012).  The regulations require incandescent bulbs to produce the same amount of lumens (see more about lumens here) for less wattage (energy output).  So this means that, for example, the standard 100 watt incandescent bulb will now use no more than 72 watts and produce the same amount of light.

Also, during these changes, there were new packaging requirements enforeced throughout the U.S. for light bulbs.  Instead of listing a bulb as a 72 watt, it is listed in lumens, “1500 lumens”.

The American Lighting Association has provided an excellent article going into more depth about the incandescent bulb changes, and can be found here.

As always, if you have a question about light bulbs or fixtures, give Harold’s Lighting in Bellevue or Seattle a call and one of our expert lighting representatives will gladly help you out!

Incandescent Comparison
Incandescent Light Bulb Comparison
Image Source – American Lighting Association

LED Light Bulb Facts

LED light bulbs seem like they’re new technology, but did you know LEDs were first discovered in the 1920’s? These great standard light bulb alternatives save a ton of energy, and have little impact on the environment.

LED (light emitting diodes) light bulbs have gotten a lot of good press recently, and rightfully so. If you compare the LED bulbs to traditional light bulbs, and even other energy saving light bulbs on the market today, LED lighting often comes out on top.

These energy saving light bulbs also have a very long life time. They can last around 11 years if continuously used. They typically are a little bit more expensive than other light bulb types, but if you consider how long they actually last, they may be a very wise investment.

Below we’ve posted an article with some helpful LED facts (click on it for more info):