Lumens. Kelvin. CRI.


The side of a light bulb box can be baffling, but choosing the right bulb shouldn’t be difficult.


With a little know-how, and some help from your friends here at Galleria, you can add the perfect brightness, color and flair to your room while saving money and energy. Here are five key questions to consider when you’re picking your next light bulb.


  1. How bright should my bulb be?


It all depends on what you’re using it for.


A reading lamp, for example, needs a bulb with at least 450 lumens (lm), while lighting around a bathroom vanity will need at least 700 lumens.

And what are these “lumens”? They’re simply a way of measuring brightness. The higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb.


Traditionally, bulbs were measured in watts (w), but this unit measures how much energy is used, rather than brightness. This makes it difficult to compare traditional incandescent bulbs to more energy-efficient bulbs like CFLs and LEDs.


If you’re used to working in watts, here’s a conversion table to help you get oriented.


Lumens = Incandescent = LED

2600 lm = 150 W = 25-28 W

1600 lm = 100 W = 16-20 W

1100 lm = 75 W = 9-13 W

800 lm = 60 W – 8-12 W

450 lm = 40 W = 6-9 W


We’ll talk about energy efficiency more later, but you can already see how much less energy LEDs need to produce light.


As well as deciding on the right brightness to fit your purpose, you’ll also want to consider how much it adds to the room’s total ambient light. Ambient light is made up of the multiple light sources in a room, best built up in layers of task/directional, accent and general lighting.


Remember to build flexibility into your lighting plan. With an adaptable lighting design, a well-lit kitchen prep-zone can quickly become a post-dinner chill-zone, offering mellow, low-level light for a relaxed espresso at the coffee bar.

  1. What type of bulb do you need?


Most of the time, LEDs are the way to go.


Other bulb types do have their advantages, however, so it’s worth learning a bit about them. Here’s a refresher on the four main types of light bulb:


LED (Light-emitting diode): More and more people are using LEDs to illuminate their homes, with LED bulbs making up roughly 65% of the consumer lamp market in 2018 ( Although the earliest LEDs could only muster a cool, bluish light, modern LEDs now offer true, vivid Colors. Their ability to show Colors accurately is constantly improving, with new bulbs continuously posting higher color-rendering index (CRI). LEDs are the most expensive bulb to purchase, but you’ll save money over time. LEDs use at least 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and they last way longer – about 40,000-50,000 hours. Note: If your fitting is dimmable, remember to get a dimmable LED too.


CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs): CFLs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and they last longer too – between 10,000 and 20,000 hours. Despite their efficiency, they’re not very nice to look at, take a while to warm up, and are poor at Color-rendering. Also, CFLs contain mercury and so must be recycled at specific recycling centres.


Halogen: Halogen lights offer bright, crisp white light, with excellent Color rendering that makes them well-suited for task/directional lighting. They’re more advanced than regular incandescent bulbs, lasting between 2,000 and 4,000 hours and using 30% less energy. They use much more energy than LEDs and fluorescent bulbs, however, and are gradually being phased out by tighter energy standards legislation.


Incandescent: The original light bulb. Incandescent bulbs are cheap and versatile, but they use a lot of energy and last only 750 to 2,000 hours. In many countries, including the United States, incandescent bulbs have largely been phased out by stricter energy standards legislation. If you like saving energy but miss the look of incandescent bulbs, check out Galleria’s selection of vintage-style LED bulbs to add some retro flair to your room. (



  1. What color would you like?


White comes in several “colors”, at least when it comes to lighting your room.


We use Kelvin to measure the hue of a light source. The lower the Kelvin, the warmer the light, with candlelight the warmest at 1800 k.


  1. What’s your style?


Bulbs come in all shapes and sizes to suit your need and add drama and flair to your design.


A classic, pear-shaped GLS (General Lighting Service) like this one ( bulb is perfect for a bedside lamp, while spotlights like this (

) help stylishly illuminate large spaces like the kitchen. Take a look at the Galleria bulb selection ( and have some fun picking a bulb to match your style.


  1. Anything else I should know?


Yes, couple things!


Get the right fit: The two main types of fitting are bayonet (B) and screw (E). In lamp fitting codes, the number that follows the letter usually represents the diameter of the fitting. So an E12, for instance, is a 12mm-diameter screw type.


Clear or frosted: Frosted hides the filament, while clear leaves it visible. For lamps with shades, frosted bulbs are best, since clear bulbs can cast filament striations on the fabric.


Bulbs can be baffling, but armed with these tips, you’re well on your way to becoming a bulb buff. If you’d like some help with matching bulbs to your specific room and decor, come see our friendly Denver lighting experts at 100 Rio Grande Boulevard. We stock over a hundred bulbs in all shapes and sizes, including some of the latest LED technology.