Looking for a way to freshen up your home without doing a full redecoration? You should try to see everything in a different light. Literally, consider changing the lighting, starting from your living room. This is a place where families gather in the morning and/or evening to catch up with one another. It’s a room where you meet relatives and friends, spending quality time with them.
High ceilings are more and more popular in new buildings nowadays, but low ceilings are still the most common. And it doesn’t mean that if you have a lower one, you can’t have fancy and effective lighting. With such concerns in mind, I’m writing this guide. I will tell you what mounts there are, how to choose the best lights for your house, and what to consider when picking a chandelier.
Ready to change the light?
When Do You Need to Buy a Chandelier and What Mount Types There Are
First of all, when I’m talking about a lower ceiling, I mean about 8 feet. This is a standard for an older house.
When to buy a new chandelier? There are no limits here, but overall, if yours is:
- Broken or on the edge;
- Too old and is in danger zone;
- Already used to and you want something fresh;
- Not matching your room’s style;
- Too dim and it’s not the bulb’s fault.
There are at least 8 mount types to choose from. Some of the fixtures are more stylish, some are more practical, while others are for industrial use. You can pick any, as long as it matches your needs and the room’s style:
- Hanging mount. Behold the chandelier! It’s a highly popular hanging mount fixture, and dare I say the most common. They come in various sizes, styles, and shapes – anything from an antique candle one to a futuristic frenzy one. It’s a universal type that offers something for rooms of any size, purpose, and design.
- Flush mount. Flush mount fixtures are most often used in bathrooms and hallways. However, they can become a great source of additional light that will accentuate certain parts of the room. Again, their design patterns are rich. This mount is great for low ceilings. Besides, it’s a money-saving option.
- Semi-flush mount. This type hangs down 4 to 8 inches. If you want such lighting for a living room with a low ceiling, calculate the height well – it might hang too low. Besides, semi-flush mount fixtures usually illuminate the ceiling, and your room’s lighting equals the amount that bounced off it. So, if this is what you’re going for, great.
- Pendant mount. This is a type of a hanging mount that can play the role of additional lighting. If your room is small, some models will work well as the main lighting as well. There are large, small, and even tiny fixtures that can be simply plugged in to be used. If you need to add a bit of detail to your living room, these are to opt for.
- Recessed mount. Such fixtures are buried within ceilings. They are usually small and used as bathroom lighting or highlighting. If you choose these, it’s better to use several to get enough light. Recessed mount fixtures work great in corners, given you have a centerpiece that’s big and bright enough.
- Indirect LED lighting. This is a breakthrough since LED lighting is essentially a strip that glows. You can put it anywhere, illuminate any curve, any niche. You will still need the main source of light, though. But to bring something fresh and accentuate your living room, this is a great option.
- Track and rail. Again, if you want to highlight a specific spot, this is a very suitable option. Track and rail lighting works well for modern, minimalistic styles. You can choose any size and length of such lights, which is nice if you have a living room with a lower ceiling.
- Island fixtures. This type is more suitable for kitchens as it highlights an “island” which can be your workspace. Likewise, if you have a bar or a small additional table in your living room, you can put an emphasis there with such a fixture. It will bring more light to that specific area.
With the plethora of design choices, any mount can become a fresh accent for any living room.
How to Choose the Brightest Candelabra Bulbs for Your Living Room?
Brighter light is supposed to make your living room appear bigger. Let’s break this notion down and see what you should consider when choosing a bright lamp:
- Lm to W ratio;
- Light beam.
Let’s talk about them one after another.
Lumen is a measurement of the amount of light emitted by a bulb, in our case, per a specific time unit. Briefly, more lumens means more brightness. One energy-saving LED bulb, for example, offers 300-500 lumens.
For a living room, you may need 1,000-2,000 lumens, given it’s 100 sq. ft..
To calculate the needed amount, multiply your living room size in square feet by the number of foot-candles required for that much space. For convenience, there are a lot of charts lighting companies offer. Plus, you can always calculate according to the standard – 10-20 foot-candles per 100 square feet.
I noticed a lot of people confuse lumens with watts in terms of brightness. Wattage is a measure of energy a source consumes to perform its function. In terms of eco-friendliness, less energy consumed means better ecology. Plus, it’s healthy for your wallet to use as little as possible. Gladly, LED bulbs will provide you with just that and a lot of lumens.
This ratio determines your bulb’s efficiency. Look for a lamp that will use as little amount of energy as possible, producing a lot of light. Again, LED tech is by far best at it, as shown in the picture.
So, a 10-watt LED bulb will produce as much light as a 60-watt incandescent lamp (750 lumens). These are estimate numbers, they may change from brand to brand, but you see the point.
LED bulbs are so efficient due to the difference in initial processes that produce light. Most traditional lamps work due to heating of a filament, gas, etc. So, most of the energy, about 90% even, is used to heat the element. LED has a completely different scenario. It produces light as a result of a rapid movement of electrons in a semiconductor. Little energy goes to byproduct heat, and most of it produces bright light we’re looking for.
Energy-efficient and eco-friendly lamps are usually marked by ENERGY STAR sign.
Traditional lamps offer 1,000-2,000 hours of work. This isn’t bad but still requires frequent changes, which means more waste and more effort from you. Common energy-saving bulbs provide 10,000-30,000 hours, with some even going up to 50,000 hours. The numbers are true given you maintain it right, your switch and dimmer are intact, and the environment of is suitable.
Your lamp may break or start to flicker, but you can use a 1- or 2-year warranty to repair or replace it. Flickering is a frequent issue people report, and I always say it’s usually because of the switch or dimmer. If it’s old or not compatible with LED tech, flickering is inevitable.
Depending on the type of lighting you want, beam angle plays a huge role in achieving your goal. If you want to illuminate an object, accentuate something in the room, look for a lamp with a 20-degree angle. When looking for an island lighting, opt for 120 degrees. But if you’re searching for a lamp to be used in the main fixture, 360 degrees will be the best. Omnidirectional light dissipates in all directions, illuminating the whole room.
Do you really need the brightest bulbs?
Some people tend to go brighter than their living room needs. Yes, bright white color will make any space look larger, but it may bring inconvenience. Bright lamps placed in small rooms may irritate your eyes. Such options are better for a kitchen and/or bathroom where you need the most attention to details.
Things to Look for When Buying Chandeliers
Let’s see what you should pay attention to when choosing a chandelier:
- Where it’s going to hang. With an 8-foot ceiling, make sure you hang the fixture somewhere you’re not going to walk frequently. A tall person can easily hit their head on a chandelier hanging from such height. Hanging a pendant or a kind of island lighting over a working table, a bar, or another part of the room you want to emphasize is a great idea.
- Size of the fixture. Make sure it’s suitable for your living room. Wider and shorter fixtures work great for low ceilings, while long ones should be avoided. There are a lot of wide designs that have several lamps for more brightness and style.
- Adjust the height where possible. Cord and chain chandeliers are very easy to adjust before mounting. Measure the ceiling height and calculate the cord’s optimal length.
- Feel your room. It’s difficult to resist a beautiful fixture, but if it’s not suitable for the room, you should find another option. It’s great to drop a chandelier above a bar or coffee table. But in case you’re changing the interior of the room frequently, it may become redundant.
- Consider something other than a chandelier. Analyze the room and see if a chandelier is the best idea. You can choose any other type of lighting and find an option as stylish and suitable as any hanging fixture. Flush or semi-flush mounts can look great not only in bathrooms and kitchens.
To make sure you always remember what to consider before choosing a fixture, here’s an easy checklist of simple things that you shouldn’t forget:
- Determine your budget and stay within it;
- Pay attention to the initial space you have;
- Keep your combined design idea in mind;
- Pay attention to the materials and finish of your fixture;
- Don’t forget your ceiling height;
- Plan long-term maintenance of the fixture and the lamps.
Spend some time on planning, creating a big design picture, and you’ll definitely find a chandelier that will suit perfectly.
Pro Tips: Choosing the Most Suitable Light
Brighter isn’t always better, that we’ve learned. But what influences the quality of your living room lighting? There are at least two more things to be cautious about.
Depending on the light temperature of your living room, it may look cozy and warm or fresh and cold. Cooler tones tend to make spaces appear larger, while warm tones make them cozier. You have quite a range to choose from:
- 1,000K-3,000K – warm light, candlelight;
- 4,000K-5,000L – cool light, close equivalent to daylight;
- 6,000K-10,000K – cold light, close equivalent to daylight.
Usually, lights for homes come in 2,400K-6,500K. A warmer color should only be used as a decoration or additional light, while colder ones are mostly used for construction sites and outside illumination.
Color rendering index or CRI is a rating showing how well the true colors are rendered when illuminated by a source of light. Indexes go from negative to 100, and for a living room, it’s better to choose something in the 80-100 range. While the highest mark is almost impossible to achieve at the moment, some LED lamp manufacturers claim to provide CRI as high as 98. Usually, 80+ is adequate, and lights lower than that will show colors in greyish tones.
Even a massive field couldn’t contain all available lighting designs. You can mix and match them, add more light to one part of the room and leave another one dimmer to divide the areas. Highlight anything, use dimmers and LED lights, and your living room, no matter how small, will never become old and boring. Correct lighting will make it appear higher and larger if you need. There are also options that will keep it small, warm, and cozy.
Alright, how did you like such a post? I tried to make it full of information, but if you think I missed something, please, let me know in the comment section. Also, let me see if you enjoyed the article!