The first fabricated light was likely a torch. In 4500 BC, lamps came into use, whose fuel source later evolved to methane, ethylene, and kerosene. You might think of an Aladdin lamp imagining them.
It is astonishing to think that light bulbs have not been around that long and that the well known LED technology became widely available only about 20 years ago.
Just to put things into perspective, let’s briefly go through the key events in the evolution of electrical lighting.
In the 1790s, the gas lamp was invented in England and brought to the United States. Subsequently, the first electric lamps were designed in the early 1800s, followed by light bulbs in the 1830s. In the early 1860s, fluorescent lights were invented.
In the early 1860s, fluorescent lights were invented.
Thomas Edison developed the carbon filament incandescent light bulb in 1879, which became the standard of lighting for decades. And finally, LED bulbs were invented in the 1990s and in the early 2000s the first residential LED bulb hit the market.
Last but not least, recessed lighting was pioneered in the early 1940s and 1950s and was initially used for commercial applications.
When lighting is successful in a home the illumination enhances the architecture, renders the colours of the room uniquely and is sufficient to support the usual activities of homeowners.
Moving to a new home, one of the first things that we address is the wall colour and light fixtures. The big dilemma is often whether to match metals throughout the home or not.
Undoubtedly, open concept spaces will benefit from a more uniform look whether you pick black or chrome light fixtures or something that combines the two metals. All other light fixtures can be different as long as they are the same style and fit into the overall colour scheme.
When it comes to selecting the right size of the light fixtures, the rule of thumb is to add the length and width of a room together in feet, then substitute inches for feet to indicate the diameter of a ceiling fixture that will be visually appropriate for your room. Dining rooms are treated slightly differently and you would need two thirds of the width of the table to be the diameter of your chandelier. Spaces with higher ceilings will embrace larger light fixtures.
Deciding on the perfect light, consider it’s brightness. More expensive light fixtures usually take brighter bulbs. It is often just a matter of adding a dimmer switch and getting dimmable bulbs to give you more flexibility in creating the appropriate ambiance.
As every responsible homeowner interested in energy efficiency you will likely go for an LED bulb. But, what about the Kelvin numbers on these bulbs? Kelvins are an indicator of colour temperature.
If you enjoy warmer light similar to incandescent bulbs a range between 2700K and 3000K is the perfect fit. A whiter light is achieved by around 3500K and is great for bathrooms and basements.
Layering your lighting scheme is a smart strategy. Kitchen lighting offers itself as a great example for demonstrating the layers of light, where you could simultaneously have pot lights, under cabinet lighting and pendant lights for decorative purposes.