Trying to pick out light bulbs is a little different these days. Here are some tips to help you pick the right light for your house.

With the new energy efficient light bulbs, there is a love/hate relationship!  People either like them, or really don’t like them.  For years we have simply gone to the store and picked up the incandescent bulb that had the wattage we liked and the job was done.  Less watts, less bright light – more watts, more bright light.  EASY!

With compact florescent it can be the same; however we need to relearn how to pick the bulb that gives us the light we like.  Sounds funny, but some people like warm light and others like cold light.  Some bulbs highlight colors in your home better than others.

The labeling on light bulbs will tell you two main items the Color Rendering Index (CRI) and the color temperature.  Sounds crazy, but these two items can make a big difference on the way things look, and even feel in your home.

Choosing the right color:

Light color is measured on a temperature scale referred to as Kelvin (K). Lower Kelvin numbers mean the light appears more yellow; higher Kelvin numbers mean the light is whiter or bluer. Most ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs are made to match the color of incandescent bulbs at 2700-3000K. For a whiter light, look for bulbs marked 3500-4100K. For bluer white light, look for bulbs marked 5000-6500K.

In my living room I needed a much bluer light then the standard compact florescent light bulbs give.  I was having trouble seeing things and the whole room seemed very dark.  I have heard others say things were too bright and glaring – they bought the light bulb I needed, and I had theirs!

OSU Extension has developed a short brochure to help consumers understand the new lighting labels so they can pick the right light for their homes.  It can be accessed at the following link:

Energy Star also has a helpful purchasing guide, as well as other information for consumers at