The Science of Light

The science of what all those numbers mean on a light bulb package

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Table of Contents

When you are trying to find the perfect light bulb, it is important to find the one that satisfies all of your needs, from the color of light to the amount of light.

Light Color

Light color is indicated by a Kelvin number, such as 2700K.  This number results from the fact that if you get something hot enough it will catch fire and produce light.  Lower Kelvin numbers produce a warmer, yellow light that brings out the comfort of traditional room decor.  Higher Kelvin numbers produce a cooler, bluer light that compliments modern design and cool paint colors.

Graphic explaining Kelvin temperature of light bulbs


Bulbs are also rated for the amount of light they produce, measured in lumens.  This measurement tells you how bright a bulb is.  For reference, a 60W light bulb would typically produce roughly 800 lumens of light.  More lumens mean a brighter light.  It is important to know that the human eye tends to see cooler bulbs as brighter, even if they actually produce the same lumen count.

Graphic explaining brightness in lumens


The amount of light that a bulb produces is different from the color that a bulb produces.  If you choose a higher temperature, cooler bulb your eyes may see it as brighter or it may actually hurt your eyes to look at.  If you want to have a cozy room, it’s important to choose lower temperature bulbs and select a higher lumen count if it’s too dim.  Try out a few of the bulbs so that you can really see what you like and what works with your décor style.

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Head Homeowner

Hey everybody! I'm Sydney, the head homeowner here. Let me know if you have any questions you didn't find the answer to. Tell me what projects you're working on. I love to hear from all my readers.