The Best LED Bulb For Your Home

Finding the best LED light bulb for your home is a tricky task. Years ago, you only had the option of incandescent bulbs. Then came Compact Fluorescent or CFL bulbs (which we interior designers hated). Now, LED or Light-Emitting Diode bulbs are the bulb of choice for most fixtures in the house due to their great color quality, high efficiency, and decreasing price.

LED Lights – The Basics

LED lights are not created equal. If you get the wrong type of bulb or have inconsistent color temperature, you will have a funky looking room that looks too blue and cold. One way to drive a designer nuts is to have a harsh bright white bulb in a cozy, intimate space. Or, worse yet, mismatched bulbs with different color temperature! Yes, we know it may seem a bit over-dramatic, but we are interior designers, and details like this can make or break a room.

So, before you set foot in Home Depot or start browsing, here are a few key terms that you need to know.


LED Lighting Facts

On the side of the LED light bulb packaging you will find a list of Lighting Facts.  Think of it as the nutritional label for your bulb.  Unfortunately, the lighting facts guide doesn’t explain what all of the different properties of the bulb mean.  

Below is your cheat sheet to help you determine what you are buying:

LED Light QualityDefinition
WattsThe amount of energy a lightbulb uses. The lower the Wattage, the less energy is used. Incandescent bulbs were primarily measured and marketed in terms of Wattage and LED bulb manufacturers have followed this trend as well.
LumensThe brightness or amount of light emitted from a bulb. The higher the Lumens, the brighter the bulb. The lower the Lumens, the dimmer the bulb.
Color TemperatureA rating that indicates the “warmness” of a bulb measured in Kelvin (K). Lower numbers (e.g. 2700K) indicate a warmer bulb. Higher numbers (e.g. 5000K) indicate a cooler bulb. This value is really important when selecting the appropriate type of bulb for your room.
Color Rendering Index (CRI)The CRI of a bulb is a measure of the bulbs ability to reproduce the colors of various objects. This number ranges from 0 – 100, with a higher value being better. Unless you are proofing photos and other prints, we have found values around 80 or higher to be adequate for residential use.

The Best LED Light Bulbs for Lamps

Philips 60W Equivalent Soft White A19 Dimmable LED Household Light Bulb

Philips 60W Dimmable LED BulbThis LED bulb from Philips is an amazing general purpose bulb perfect for lamps, wall sconces, and other light fixtures.  I have used this bulb throughout our own home and absolutely love it. They are reasonably priced, produce a warm soothing glow at 2700K, and are dimmable which is an absolute must. The best part is when the bulb is dimmed to a low level, the bulb gives off a beautiful warm yellow color, much like an old-school incandescent bulb.

Cree 60W Equivalent Soft White (2700K) A19 Dimmable LED Light Bulb

Cree 60W Dimmable LED BulbThis is another great LED bulb. It has a slightly higher CRI value and comes at a soothing 2700K color temperature.  Personally, I prefer the Philips bulb but many others around the internet like and CNet prefer the Cree.  You can’t go wrong with either bulb.

The Best LED Light Bulbs for Recessed Cans

Philips 65W Equivalent Soft White BR30 Dimmable LED Warm Glow Effect Light Bulb

If you have a home with 6″ recessed can lights, this is a great replacement LED bulb. It has a rated color temperature of 2700K which will give off a warm glow that we love with the older incandescent bulbs all while only using 9 Watts of power! Think about it, you can run 6 of these LED lights and still use less power than a single bulb that it will replace.

The Best LED Landscaping Lights and LED Flood Lights

Sunthin 5w Mr16 LED Bulbs

Sunthin 5W MR16 LED bulbThe color and light produced from these flood lights looks amazing.  Just make sure that your low voltage landscape lighting fixture can support the size and wattage of the bulb.

T10 LED Mushroom Lamp Lights

T10 LED Landscape LightIf you own mushroom lights, these LED lights have served us well over the past year or so.  They give off a nice warm glow and are reasonably priced.  Just make sure that your mushroom lights are covered and that the size of the bulb matches your existing low voltage light fixture.  Also, be sure you are ordering the “Warm White” version, otherwise the color temperature may be too high giving an unfavorable blue look to your evening landscape lighting.

LED Smart Bulbs

CREE 60W LED Connected Bulb Philips Hue LED LightbulbCurrently on the market, there is a wide range of “smart bulbs” (e.g. Philips Hue LED Bulb, Cree Connected LED Bulbs) that can be purchased and controlled with your iPhone or Android device directly or with the help of a home automation bridge like the Wink Hub 2, Samsung Smart Things Hub or even the Amazon Echo.  Though these bulbs are neat and would be helpful in some situations, I don’t think they are worth the high price tag in addition other annoyances like having to leave the switch on in order for it to function.

In an upcoming post, I’ll give you a breakdown of why I’m not a fan of the connected bulb and think that the connected switch like the Lutron Caseta Dimmer is a much more cost effective and scalable solution for those wanting to automate the control of their home.  Stay tuned for this post.

Need Extra Design Help?

Need help with designing a beautiful living room or bedroom?  We offer interior design services for those who need a little design help to those that need a lot of design assistance with designing and furnishing their home.  If you don’t live in the Chicago or Milwaukee area, fear not!  We offer online interior design services allowing us to help you with your design problems anywhere in the world.

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