How Many Lumens Do I Need?

Lumens BEST

If you’ve been to a home improvement store within the past 6 months, you’ve noticed household incandescent bulbs have given way to new, sometimes unfamiliar technologies. You may find a couple “full spectrum” incandescents or Halogen floodlights, but other than those, compact fluorescent and LED bulbs line the shelves. Long gone are the days of throwing your favorite brand of 60-watt light bulb in your cart and being on your way. No, you may not even be sure which funny-looking 60-watt equal light bulb you need.

Wondering how to calculate the lumens of your incandescent bulb?
Check out From Watts to Lumens: Choosing Lights Based on Brightness


Before buying a CFL or LED light bulb, get rid of any notions you have about incandescent equivalencies. How many times have you bought a 60-watt equal CFL or LED only to be disappointed by how dim it was (or blinded by how nauseatingly bright it was)? Because there is no agreed-upon standard among manufacturers for determining equivalent wattages, statements of incandescent equivalency for CFLs and LEDs are not always dependable. So to light your home the way you intend, stop thinking about watts and start thinking about lumens.

If you read our previous article on lumens, candlepower and CRI, you may remember the definition of lumens. If not, here’s the gist: “Lumens…represent the actual amount of ambient light coming from a lamp. The higher the lumens, the more ‘lit up’ a room will be.” However, while a definition of lumens is nice, if you’re like us, you’re probably asking the real question, “How many lumens do I need to light up my room?” The answer will vary based on the design and color scheme of your room, but here is good rule of thumb, loosely based on the IESNA Lighting Handbook:

Floors: 20 Lumens per Square Foot

Tables and Raised Surfaces: 30 Lumens per Square Foot

Desks and Task Lighting: 50 Lumens per Square Foot

For the average living room of 250 square feet, you’ll need 5,000 lumens as your primary light source (20 lumens x 250 square feet), equivalent to about five 100 watt incandescent light bulbs, five 23 watt CFLs, or eight 10 watt LED light bulbs. Since you probably read on your couch, you’ll also need about 4 square feet of task lighting on each end of the couch. That’s 200 lumens each (50 lumens x 4 square feet), but you’ll need more if the light source is a lamp with a shade. In your dining room, you’ll want about 30 lumens per square foot on your dining table (you want to see your food, but not examine it), so if your table is 6 x 3 feet, that’s 540 lumens.

Room Layout

Create Your Own Room Layout at FloorPlanner.com

Keep in mind, however, that these numbers are for typical conditions. If you have especially dark walls and furniture, you’ll need brighter light sources. The distance of your light source from the surface also changes the equation. We based our calculations on 8-foot ceilings and average height task lamps. Finally, personal preference will play the largest part in your decision. If you like the room to be especially bright, you may want to add 10 to 20% to our numbers. In fact, the best idea for any home may be to aim high and install dimmers to bring the light level down to where you want it.

So how much have you thought about how many lumens you need for your home? Are our numbers too high or two low? Let us know in the comments below, on our Facebook or Twitter, or even post a photo of your home on Pinterest and share it with us!

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Benjamin is a writer for 1000Bulbs.com.

  • Tom Friend

    To replace the bulb I have, I need an LED that produces 900 Lumens. Have yet to see same.

    • Benjamin

      Well, Tom, you’ve come to the right place! We have 3 different 800 lumen warm white LED bulbs as well as this 5000K 945 lumen LED bulb.

      We also have a 1000 lumen Cree LED downlight. If you’re using recessed cans, the downlight is one of the best investments you’ll ever make. The Cree LR6 series is pretty much the gold standard for interior LED luminaires.

      • Bill

        I am a dermatologist.
        To get really good bright light for examining patients, I have three small floods on a track above my examining tables, and these also act as surgery tables for minor procedures.
        Problem is that for extended procedures, these are HOT. Especially if I am standing instead of sitting – procedures vary. We have only 8 foot (hard) ceilings.
        Do you have any high-output LEDs that would provide the same illumination, less heat, and would fit on track?

        • Benjamin Rorie

          I’m sure we do, but I would need a little more information about the bulbs.

          Are they halogen or incandescent, what is the wattage, and what is the diameter of the bulbs?

          • Bill

            I’ll have to get back to you – I’m home today and will in the office to check tomorrow and get back to you.
            Thanks for the swift reply. FWD

      • Richello Rulona

        Mr. Benjamin, I need a 400 watts flood light in a workshop with 3000 sq..m. area, my question is how many flood lights would I install? How to easily calculate it? Thank you.

        • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

          Thanks for the question Richello. There are a lot of factors that go into calculating exactly what you need for the right lighting. to start with, exact measurements of the room and where things are placed. The easiest thing to do, and what we recommend, is to consult a lighting engineer who can physically look at the room you want lit.

  • Horst Wolf

    Great article you wrote! I understood every word! Now can you educate us a bit on the “temperature” of a light? I see “warm”, “cool”, “bright”, “daylight” and even temperatures (in the 1000s of degrees) on some lamps and tubes. What’s useful for what? For reading, for painting, for drinking wine, for driving a car, for “looking good,” and so on. I think some general wpeopleords in SIMPLE ENGLISH would be very helpful to people like me – and I think there are many like me.

    Thanks in advance,


    • Benjamin Rorie

      Great question, Horst, and one we’ll need to address more in an upcoming post, but the (kinda) short version is this:

      Lighting color is measured in degrees Kelvin, which has nothing to do with what you and I usually think of as the ambient hot/cold temperature of our surroundings. In fact, it goes backwards: The higher the color temperature, the more blue (cool) light gets. At the lower end, light will be “warmer,” meaning more yellow or even red.

      The standard for household lighting is 2700K, which is what most incandescent bulbs are. Many people (including myself) like to use that color everywhere as it feels inviting and is flattering to skin tones. However, some people find that higher color temperatures are better for task lighting. It’s not uncommon to see color temperatures of 4000, 5000, or even 6000K used in offices, for example. Very high color temperatures are often referred to as “full spectrum” or “daylight” because they approximate the color of light outdoors on bright, sunny day.

      Automotive lighting is more complicated (and controversial), so I’ll have to reserve my comments until I have a chance to look into it more.

  • Tom Friend

    Next Question. Are you aware of either Edison or (say) San Diego Gas and Electric doing co-purchases where buy they pay for about 80% of the costs of the bulbs to cut electrical use?

    • Benjamin Rorie

      I am aware of programs like that, though not those in particular. Why?

    • Benjamin Rorie

      Here is a good resource for finding energy rebates with the Energy Star program. Just put in your zip code, check the appropriate boxes, and click “Locate Special Offers/Rebates.”

      Energy Star Rebates

  • Doug

    Most of my outside lighting takes “candlabra” base. I have to get on a ladder to change these bulbs which frequently go out in my fixtures. Do the LED’s do better, and what measure for output to use to get the appropriate lighting?

    • Benjamin Rorie

      I’m not sure what type of fixture you have outdoors, but it sounds like you may be talking about post lanterns or hanging pendant lanterns. They’re the only outdoor lights I can think of that use candelabra bases.

      LEDs will certainly last longer than the incandescent bulbs you’re using, and we have a good selection of LED candelabra bulbs. None of them are brighter than about 70 lumens though (equal to about a 15 watt incandescent).

      The lumen output you need will depend on what function the fixtures serve. If they are primarily decorative, the LEDs are a great choice, but if they are there for safety, I suggest sticking with long life incandescent or Halogen because of the much higher lumen output.

      Send me some photos of your fixtures to brorie@1000bulbs.com and maybe I can get you a better idea of what you need.

  • ryan

    Hey, i appreciate your blog, i have a critical question that i need you to answer…please. I am looking to hang 12 Chandeliers, each with 3 – 940 lumen bulbs. The Ceilings are from 12 ft sloping down to about 10 1/2 ft. Will this be good, or am i over/under kill on ample coverage, it is for our fellowships main assembly area. Lots of reading of our Creator’s Word up in there. Please help this is my first time crunching numbers for lighting.

    Thanks sooooooooo much,

    • Benjamin Rorie


      Unfortunately, there are way too many controllable and uncontrollable factors that come into play with an installation like that. The footcandles produced by the fixtures, the distance of the light source from the ground, and the color and reflectance of your walls and furniture are just a few that come to mind. You really need to consult a lighting designer who can come to your location for an installation like that.

      However, I can give you a few pointers…

      In general, I would advise against using chandeliers as your main lighting source, even if you’re using that many. Even though the bulbs create 940 lumens each, those bulbs are pointed upward, so if your ceiling is not particularly reflective, a good percentage of that light will be wasted. Chandeliers also cast shadows, which is extremely bad for reading.

      My suggestion is to use recessed downlights as your main light source and use the chandeliers simply as accents. This is a much better, and probably cheaper alternative.

  • ryan

    Oh, critical addition, the square footage is 792 sq. ft.

    • jozhe

      You need at least 16 chandeliers and a white ceiling if you are going to use only chandeliers.

  • Roger Riggenbafj

    Would like to use a CFL in porch lights. Now use 3 incandescent, but need CFL’s that have equal amount of lumens so to light up the front of the house and are able to file in a small space that the fixture allows. Any suggestions?


    Roger Riggenbach

    • Benjamin Rorie

      Hi Roger,

      What is the wattage of the bulbs you are using now?

  • sudha


    I need a flastlight which emits light for a distance of 15 kilometers. could you please suggest what is the lumens that i need in order to serve my purpose.

    • Benjamin Rorie


      I don’t think a flashlight like that exists. 15 kilometers is a very, very long distance. The brightest flashlight I’ve ever heard of is 20,000,000 candlepower, but that won’t even go that 9+ miles.

      My suggestion is to look into lights used in hunting and choose a cordless spotlight with the highest candlepower. Candlepower is a better measurement than lumens in this case as it is most used in the industry.

  • Chris Ebbers

    I’m considering replacing the fluorescent lights in our backlit sign with LEDs. There are currently 3 T12 HO 60″ bulbs. How do I figure out how many LED lights I need for equivalent light? I have looked at 3 and 4 light LED modules, but I don’t know how many to get.

    • Benjamin Rorie

      Sorry for the late reply, Chris. This one was a tough one to answer. Unfortunately, 1000Bulbs.com does not carry a product that meets your specifications, so answering with complete accuracy is difficult.

      I would recommend doing two things: check out this GE LED Tetra PowerGrid Data Sheet and consult a local lighting distributor or a local sign contractor about the possibility of installing this technology type. If you are located in Dallas, we recommend Texas Electrical.

      • http://www.thousandwaves.org Yesica

        I am building a display box, similar to a “light box” but with the display art mounted on the back, and lighting the art from the front. The boxes are about 28″ w X 40″ h. Not sure how deep I need to make them, probably would depend on the type of light source. Any ideas or light suggestions? Thank you.

  • Michael

    Hi, great site…

    Wondered if you could answer a question: I just moved into an apartment that has a light fixture that recommends using 60 watt bulbs. Is it OK if I use a 100 watt CFL replacement that only uses 23 watts?

    Also, the fixture is covered and holds two bulbs, but the last tenant had one 60 watt bulb in it. The room is about 13×15 and I find the light a bit pale and yellow. Based on your math above, I would have to use 2 100 watt CFLs, correct? The CFL bulbs are listed as 1750 lumens.

    Thanks for you help.

    • Benjamin Rorie

      Thanks, Michael and great question, too!

      Yes, technically you can use a 100W equivalent CFL. The recommendation is based on actual wattage, not equivalent wattage. However, 23W CFLs may not fit, so make sure to check the dimensions before you buy.

      Also, it sounds like your fixture may be under-powered for the size of your room. Most builders don’t think much about light when they build a home. Since I doubt your landlord will let you replace the lighting fixture, what I suggest is sticking with two 13-watt CFLs and adding a few floor lamps and/or table lamps to supplement the main light source. If you find a typical incandescent color temperature to be too yellow, try a CFL with a color of 3000K or 3500K.

      • Michael

        Benjamin, thanks for the speedy reply…

        Just to be clear, you say “I suggest sticking with two 13-watt CFLs…” Do you mean two 23-watt CFLs (100W equivalent)?

        • Benjamin Rorie

          No, I did mean the 13W CFLs. I’m doubtful about the 23W CFLs fitting a normal ceiling fixture.

          • Michael

            Got it… Thanks…

  • Adrienne

    Great article thanks! Our living room, 16×22, currently gets its main lighting from fluorescent cove lighting ringing the ceiling.. We would like to replace them with dimmable LEDs. Can you approximate how many lumens we will need and should we go with white or warm white? 12 v 24 volt?

    • Benjamin Rorie

      Adrienne – I can’t say for sure how many lumens you’ll need, but at least one of our customers has had good results with LED tape light. Check out the video here (it’s color-changing, but we have warm white as well). Give us a call at 1-800-624-4488 and we’ll get you what you need!

  • Sumit


    We are in the process of building a new house, and want to install LED can’s – 4″ square is what we are looking for. Additionally, we’re using a Control4 system that requires the engine to be 0-120v for dimming, not 0-10v. So far the only product I’ve found is the Halo can that would work – but there is not enough Lumen output. Do you have any product ideas, or could you suggest optimal spacing between fixtures for larger rooms?


    • Benjamin Rorie

      Thanks for the question, Sumit. There is not a product I am aware of that meets your requirements. 4-inch LED cans with high lumen output are rare, and square LED cans are even more rare. I would suggest finding a lighting designer in your area who can scope out the room and better direct you to compatible options. Please let us know if we can be of any other help.

  • Anders Hoveland

    For small bedrooms, I like 70 watt bulbs (incandescent) because there is minimal glare from the lamp. But I prefer my indoor environment to be dimmer and darker (like a cave) than most people. It is more relaxing, especially for my bedroom. All my family members prefer 100 watt bulbs. For bathrooms, it is probably best to go with 70 watts. I am happy with 60 watts, but again this is probably not bright enough for most people. For vanity lights above the mirror, the normal 40 watt bulbs have too much glare for me, although I am probably more sensitive than most. I either go with the 130v 40w globes or 25w globes. To give a more vibrant whiter light, something you can do is to switch out one of the bulbs with a low-powered LED globe light. Unless the bulbs are pointing downards, do not use a regular LED bulb because the light output is still somewhat directional and there will be too much glare. I suggest you use a mix of LED and incandescent. If you use only all LED bulbs it will not bring out the best color in skin tones because current LED bulbs are not full spectrum (they are deficient in certain frequencies of light). But a combination of incandescent with LED seems to bring out the best in colors and be the most aesthetic, assuming you do not have any problem with the color tint of the light bulbs appearing slightly different side by side.

    For the kitchen, I recommend a 100 watt bulb, or better those new 72 watt halogen bulbs. I would not necessarily recommend the “daylight” or “Reveal” bulbs because the tinted glass will slightly reduce the light output from a comparable normal bulb of the same wattage. You might alternatively consier installing LED recessed or panel lighting in your kitchen. I like the combination of LED light combined together with incandescent light, so I would install BOTH recessed LEDs and recessed bulbs with screw-in fixtures for incandescent/halogen flood light bulbs in my kitchen, but that is just my preference. Some people may prefer all the light fixtures to be the exact same color of light in their room. Typical LED lighting by itself just does not have the same color rendering, though most people probably would not care. I value my food and like my apples to look that bright appetizing red color they were meant to be. In any case, LEDs are certainly better than that awful fluorescent lighting. When my mother first bought her house, the first thing she did was rip out the fluorescent kitchen lights and put in a regular fixture. Unfortunately, the building codes now in many places require “energy efficient” lighting in the kitchen. If you want your kitchen lighting a certain way, find a contractor who will remodel the kitchen the way YOU want, not what some government bureaucrats have told them to. I also hate those recessed fixtures that only fit 3-pronged CFL bulbs they are installing in all the newly built homes. The quality of light is just HORRIBLE.

  • Walt

    Our homeowners association wants to light the signs at our entrances with LED lights. The signs are approximately 36″x36″, 4 feet off the ground, so a tight spot works. What do you suggest? Thanks.

    • Benjamin Rorie

      Walt — Assuming you’re looking for a line voltage option, these RAB LED spotlights will work. They’re capable of lighting a flag 40 feet high, so your signs should be no problem. I’ll warn you, they may seem a bit pricey, but at only 13 watts and a lifespan of 100,000 hours (over 30 years), you’ll recoup the cost many times over.

  • Joe

    Im dealing with a 30ft ceiling, it has recessed can fixtures in it, and I want to install LED bulbs, but my options are from selecting between a 40, 25, and a 15 degree. I don’t want a spot effect on the surface, so what degree spread would I need to properly highlight the room?

    • Benjamin Rorie

      Great question, Joe. What is the shape and/or diameter of the LED bulb you’re looking for: R20 (2.5 in.), PAR30 (3.75 in.), PAR38 (4.75 in.), or R40 (5 in.)?

  • http://www.buildingblisshouse.blogspot.com.au Claire

    We have ceilings that are 15′ high. The walls are very light – just off white. What sort of LED lumens would we be looking at for downlights that would give useful light but not necessarily bright enough to read with (we have floor lamps for that). Also how close together and what angle would you recommend.
    Many thanks if you can help me.

    • Benjamin Rorie

      Great question, Claire.

      Most lighting designers recommend maintaining at least 30 footcandles in a living area, which sounds like the type of room you’re describing. That means for 15-foot ceilings, you’ll need an LED PAR38 equal to a 90 watt halogen PAR38 or an
      LED R40 equal to a 100 watt incandescent. I would suggest the PAR38 in your application because it provides better beam control. You’ll need a beam angle in the narrow flood range (about 60 degrees). The cans will need to be placed about 4 feet apart.

      Keep in mind that’s just a guess based on what you’ve given me here. If you like, I can have our on-staff lighting designer contact you will more precise figures.

  • Antoinette Clay

    I am replacing old spotlights in a kitchen with chandeliers (which I see you do not recommend). The kitchen is 366.24 square feet with three skylights and two large double hung windows and a door to the outside that is half glass. Light wood look floors, white walls and white units. How many lumens do I need? Is three chandeliers (one with 8 candle lights and two with 3 or 5 candle lights) too much. I am also planning on three pendant lights over the eating table. We currently have 10 spots (dont know the wattage). Thanks Antoinette

    • Benjamin Rorie

      Thanks for your question, Antoinette. Unfortunately, that’s a difficult question to answer because I don’t know how much light is provided by your skylights and windows. You’ll need a lighting designer to take a look at the space in person and give you an actual figure for lumens.

      Chandeliers in general, however, aren’t a very good primary light source. They’re more for decorative use than for task lighting. If you use a chandelier and are taking out the spotlights, you’ll need several supplementary light sources. Under cabinet lights and pendant lights may give you what you need if you are opposed to using recessed lighting with spotlights.

  • J Tom

    Nice site and some good information, but ‘the times they are a-changin’. With new fixtures now being sold specifically for CFL bulbs,I think you need to revise this statement before someone has a problem: “stop thinking about watts and start thinking about lumens.”

    I have a ceiling fan with a light fixture designed for two CFLs. It specifies 13-watt bulbs, or less. I would love more light from the fixture, but I MUST consider that 13-watt limitation; I can’t just pop in a bulb with more lumens. A bulb exceeding 13-watts, regardless of type, could result in a current greater than the wiring could carry (considering the rising cost of copper, I suspect the wiring is a VERY fine gauge). At the very least, the fixture would fail. At worst, you are risking an electrical fire.

    So I think you should add a warning, and modify your advice to something like, “stop thinking about watts and start thinking about lumens, as long as you don’t exceed the maximum wattage that the fixture is rated.”


    • Benjamin Rorie

      You’re exactly right, you should never exceed the maximum allowed wattage specified for a fixture. However, this article is more about planning ahead by choosing the right fixtures in the right quantity and placing them in areas where they have the best effect.

      • Tim Coffman

        I installed 4″ ic airtight incandescent recessed housings in my kitchen. They call for a max 50 watt r20 or par20 bulb. These are not bright enough. I then tried a 60w equivalent Philips led (a19) using only 10.5 watts but it says it is not intended for this type of lamp. Why and if it can’t be used what do you recommend to get the 475-500 lumen output I’m looking for?

        • Benjamin Rorie

          I would suggest a 50 watt halogen PAR20. It won’t exceed the rating for your fixture, and you’ll be able to get an extra 50 to 100 lumens over incandescent.

          Also make sure you’re using a 120 volt and not a 130 volt bulb. The 130 volt bulb will be dimmer and more yellow.

          As for the LED, it may be the recessed light doesn’t allow enough ventilation, which would shorten the life of the bulb.

    • Apolinario Angcos

      how much square meter does the 25 watts LED lit up?

      • Jordan Loa

        Thank you for reaching out to us, Apolinario!

        In order to answer your question, we would need some more information regarding your lighting setup: are you using an LED fixture? using a replacement lamp? What’s the distance from the light source to the area being illuminated? What’s the beam spread, intensity,and candlepower of thee lighting source?


  • Tim Coffman

    Thanks for the reply. I have also tried the 50 watt halogen and also not bright enough. Not to mention that it became much, much hotter than the led bulb I had mentioned earlier.

    • Benjamin Rorie

      If the fixture prohibits the use of LED bulbs, it sounds like your only option is to get a can light rated for a higher wattage.

  • eli

    Hi, what about bathrooms, how much lumens would you recommend per sq foot? Especially in front of the mirror it’s important to have enough light.

    Actually, I’m looking at buying the Klus 39.4″ Aluminum PDS-O Channel (KLUS-B3777) and hanging it from the ceiling above the sink in front of a 70″ x 35″ mirror. Which LED strip would you recommend adding to it?


  • chris mccracken

    I need a LED alternative for a 250w metal halide. Must be dimmable. Can you suggest something? Thanks

    • Benjamin Rorie

      There are no LED bulbs that bright right now, but there are a few dedicated LED fixtures that bright. What type of light fixture are you using?

  • Ron Johnson

    I have three 12 volt 50 watt halogen spotlights (MR16 base) above my island counter in my RV. They are very hot and keep burning out. What replacement should I use to change out the halogens to LEDs. I’d like to use just 2 LEDs if possible because one of the fixtures is in need of replacement, but I don’t want to lose any lumens. The lights are approximately 5 feet above the countertop. Thanks

  • Lyn

    I have a 1200 sq ft ballet studio. We currently have seven 8-foot fluorescent fixtures with two tubes in each. We want to install LED can lights. How many would I need to install to gain the same lighting? The ceilings are 10 foot. Thank you.

    • Benjamin Rorie

      That’s a tough one, Lyn. The type of fluorescent tubes and ballasts used in your fixtures as well as their age can have a huge effect on how much light output you’re getting. I can’t say with complete assurance that X fluorescent = Y LED.

      I would suggest one of two things:

      One is to get a lighting designer to look at the studio and give you a suggestion. You can use this link to find an IALD-certified designer in your area: http://www.iald.org/membership/find.asp?altlink=24

      The other option would be to purchase a light meter to get a footcandle reading at several areas in the studio, then use that information to pick out the best LED for the job.

  • Ramshiva


    I want to shift from cfl to led bulb,currently i am using 23 watts cfl what is your recomendation for led of what wattage and how many lumens please guide me and approximate cost

    • Benjamin Rorie

      A 23 watt CFL is equivalent to a 100 watt incandescent, so you’ll need an LED of the same equivalent wattage. That’s roughly 1,600 lumens. Right now, it’s difficult to find LED bulbs that bright. The highest you’ll be about to find is ~1,100 lumens. Here is our selection: http://www.1000bulbs.com/category/led-lighting/

  • CJones

    Im looking to purchase a 16 lightbulb Chandelier for a living room 25ft x 16ft with 18 ft ceiling. One large window is the only source of light. None of the websites convert wattage to lumens, how do I calculate the conversion.

    • Benjamin Rorie

      There is no perfect one-to-one conversion of wattage to lumens. Many factors can influence a bulb’s light output from whether or not the bulb is frosted, to the voltage rating, to the type of gas(es) used in the bulb.

      However, assuming you are using a clear, 120 volt chandelier bulb without and special gas fill (like krypton or xenon), here are some estimated figures:

      15 Watts ~ 100 Lumens

      25 Watts ~ 200 Lumens

      40 Watts ~ 350 Lumens

      60 Watts ~ 650 Lumens

      I hope that helps!

  • Ken Baker

    Hi have a kitchen and dining room both 12ft x 12ft that I am linking to make kitchen/diner
    want to put in LED downlites I thought 6 in each half am I best fitting dedicated LED fitments or halogen fittings with LED bulbs there is nothing there at present

    • Caitlin Victor

      Hello Ken,

      LED downlights can be expensive. However, similar results can be obtained by installing an LED flood lamp in a simple recessed incandescent can. I hope that helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us.

  • Martin

    I’m putting in a 20 light crystal chandelier in an entry with 18′ ceiling. It is on a dimmer. What is the best bulb to use? Also the bulbs are exposed so not sure led would work.

  • Jeff

    Any thoughts on lumens and k for a dermatology exam room that is 10×10 feet?


    I am working on new construction with 12 ft ceilings and 5600 sq ft open floor space.
    we are installing recessed down lights using Halo H7ICAT housing. I would prefer
    RGB MDMX LED but we may have to settle for dimmable led ?
    Glenn Bell

  • Rachel

    Thanks for the great article. I’m looking for a floor lamp for my mother who is a seamstress. specifically something that can take really strong bulbs / produce as many lumens as possible. simply put – the brighter the better as she can’t see very well and would need as much light as possible (without going industrial). It would be used in her living room solely for sewing purposes.
    Can you recommend a website or a specific product?

    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for the question, Rachel!

      Floor lamps are more decorative in nature and aren’t really designed for task lighting. While we do sell floor lamps, they probably wouldn’t be the solution to your problem. when it comes to task lighting, there are a few questions that you need to keep in mind: How big is the room? How far away from the floor will the fixtures be? Are you wanting to flood the area with light, or are you aiming the light directly at something? While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend floor lamps, we would recommend some sort of ceiling mounted light fixture, such as track lighting, like the kinds you see in retail stores like Macy’s. You can take a look at our track lighting here. Hope this helps!

  • perry farella

    For outdoor lights over a front entry door will an LED bulb or LED fixture dim down below frezzing as CFL bulbs do ? Can these LEDs be connected to a light sensor to go on at dusk, off at dawn ?

    • Jordan Loa

      Great question, Perry!

      An LED bulb will handle the cold weather just fine. In fact, it’ll handle the freezing temperatures better than a CFL, as the LED comes to full brightness instantly, where the CFL requires a warm up period. As far as connecting an LED to a photo-electric cell (turning on at dusk and off at dawn) the LEDs will work just as well as any other bulb. However, the thing to keep in mind here is the minimum load the photo-cell can handle, as some LED loads are very small. Check out our selection of LEDs. I hope this helped!

  • Luke

    I need to replace a 400W, 36000 Lumen metal halide mogul base bulb with a comparable LED bulb. Does such a bulb even exist?

    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for the question, Luke!

      Unfortunately, no such LED bulb exists… yet. But when it does, we’ll be sure to carry it. However, we do have some grow light fixtures that match what you’re looking for. What sort of application are you using this type of bulb for?

  • BIG C


    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for your question, Big C!

      When it comes to LED lighting, you’ve got a lot of options, and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction. Let me ask you this: are your current halogen bulbs on a dimmer system? If so, that means you’ll have to buy dimmable bulbs, as non-dimmable bulbs will not work on a dimmer system. Here is the link to the bulb I would recommend and here’s why I would recommend it: the bulb has a high lumen output of 1,300 and a narrow flood beam angle, which is great for your application and the 25-foot ceilings because the beam goes straight down before widening out, covering more area. This bulb has a color temperature of 3000K, giving it a good balance between yellow light and white light. Finally, this bulb is recommended because it works with the Lutron Nova dimmers, which can handle higher wattages. Hope this helps!

  • BIG C


    • Jordan Loa

      I’m not sure I understand your question, Big C. Are you asking about how much light and wattage the bulbs I recommended put out?

  • Lisa

    I’m making a night light out of clear tape (it’s basically a mostly transparent sculpture) that I would like to be able to read with. I’m trying to figure out which type of led bulb (has to be led to avoid melting the tape) would be best to approximate a 40 or 60 watt incandescent bulb. Originally, I was thinking about using a string of led Christmas lights (perhaps the 70 bulb warm white g12 string) and putting them inside a clear plastic tube, but I’m worried this won’t be bright enough. How many led light strings would I need to provide good reading light? Do you have any other suggestions for an interesting looking led light bulb(s)?

    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for the question, Lisa!

      You pose a pretty good question here. If you’re interested in using a standard A-shaped bulb that’s equal to a 40 or 60-watt bulb, we have LED bulbs that fit the bill. I would look at this 60-watt equal bulb, as it is shaped very similar to a standard incandescent. However, there’s still a lot of variables here. How big is the room you’re wanting to light? How much room in your planned nightlight are you going to have? If you’re tight on space, then you may want to consider A15 bulbs, as these have the same shape as the A19s, just a smaller diameter and shorter neck. Honestly, your original idea of the G12 Christmas lights just might work, but you may need two strands to do the trick, which also goes for standard light strings as well. Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any further questions!

  • http://led3.us/ Doug

    Great article! I don’t think I’m even close to how many lumens I should have, might need to get some more lamps. Thanks for sharing!

  • Patti

    I’m trying to plan ahead. In fact planning for a whole house. I found the information here to be helpful but have a question about the statement “never exceed the maximum allowed wattage specified for a fixture.” If the fixture says use 2 standard 60W bulbs and I’m using compact fluorescents, does this mean I can use the 2 CF 23 watt bulbs?

    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for the question, Patti!

      To answer your question, yes, you can use two 23-watt CFL bulbs to replace your 60-watt incandescent bulbs. The thing that will do the harm is the heat from the lamps, and 46-watts of heat is a lot less than 120-watts of heat. I’ve included a link to one of our 23-watt CFL bulbs. Hope this helps!

  • Patti

    Yes, that is very helpful. I now feel confident in using the higher wattage CFLs in fixtures where I need more light. Of course they don’t always fit in the space allowed! Thanks, Patti

  • Nelson Lawson

    I’m considering a 4 foot track lighting fixture to illuminate my 8 square foot desk with the lights about 20 inches about the desk surface. I currently have 3 15 inch miniature fluorescent tubes that give off a lot of heat. I calculate that I would need 400 lumens total so maybe 4 or 5 of the track lights would do. Any thoughts?

  • Geoffrey Coram

    I was just looking at bulbs to put in an emergency exit sign; it’s marked 2-25W, and it seemed like an LED bulb would be just the thing to provide light without heat. However, the LED bulbs all say “caution: not intended for emergency exit signs” (and CFL bulbs have even stronger language). Why is that?

  • Shuchi

    Hello there,
    We are trying to put pendant lights in our home office which measures
    10x10x10. What would you recommend in terms of necessary watts/lumens? We are thinking of putting may be 2 pendants in the middle of room. Also would you be able to recommend how low these pendants should hang? Thanks so much already for any and all the help you might offer!!

    • Jordan Loa

      Great question here, Shuchi!

      We recommend contacting a local lighting designer or an electrical engineer for your specific lighting needs.

      Hope this helps!

  • vamsi

    I am trying to replace the existing(fluorescent) lighting to LED’s in my office building…

    I found that for fluorescent fixtures (t8) … we can figure the number of lights required by Sqft*1.5=watts… then figure the number of lights required for that room…

    The other method is Sqft*50=Lumens … then figure out the number of fixtures for the lumens… but when I am calculating the number of lights using the above procedure … the results are not close enough…..

    For Example take a 12’×16’(=192sqft) room ….
    From Method 1: 192*1.5=288watts
    Each t8=32watts…so 288/32=9bulbs (this make sense)
    From Method 2 : 195*50=9600 Lumens
    T8 I took is 2800 lumens each… so 9600/2800=3.5 or ~4 bulbs (This is not close to method1)

    1. Where am I committing the mistake??
    2. Does the output from t8 will not be the 2800 Lumens completely?… if so how much % does we really get???
    3. To design a room using LED’s …can I just use Sqft*50=Lumens ….and buy the LED’s equating that lumens??


    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Vamsi!

      Are you familiar with the Zonal Cavity Method? We recommend you connect with an electrical engineer or a lighting designer who is familiar with the Zonal Cavity Method. I have scan of the method that I can send to you.

      Hope this helps!

      • vamsi

        Thank you very much

  • Eric

    I am lighting a flagpole off my house the flag will be approx 33 feet from the light source, the thing is I dont want to much light, so what size light should I use and also should I put a visor on it so it does not light up more than the flag? Thanks

    • Jordan Loa

      Sorry for the delayed response, Eric.

      However, check out these LED spot light fixtures from RAB. We’ll be carrying these shortly, but until then, I would like to direct you to our sales team at 1-800-624-4488 so they can help you with your specific application needs. Thanks again for reaching out to us!

  • David B

    Very helpful article, thanks. I have a 15’x12′ living room (with 8.5′ ceilings) that I’m renovating and I have a lighting question. I’d like to install soffits on 3 sides of the room with LED strip lighting facing up (i.e. boxes that are about a foot below the ceiling and the lights sit inside it and bounce off the ceiling to light the room). I’ve seen a number of designs where this is used in combination with other light sources – are there LED strip lights strong enough so this is the only light source in the room?

    I’ve followed you math and with a 180 square foot room I guess I need ~4,000 lumens. But maybe bouncing off a (white) ceiling means I need a lot more to get the same amount of ambient light? And I’ll have ~40 linear feet of soffit lined with LED strip, and I think I’ve seen ads for LED strips that put out 300-400 lumens/foot. So that would get me about 12,000 lumen, which seems like maybe it’s enough? Or is soffit-only lighting just not realistic?

    Thanks for your input!

    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for the question, David!

      To answer your question about soffit-only lighting, that wouldn’t put out enough lumens to light your whole living room, as it’s primarily used for accent lighting. I’ve included a few links to our LED tape light below. I recommend trying out a small section first to test it out. As far as needing more light to achieve the same amount of ambient light because it’s reflecting off a white wall, that just depends on the distance of the objects needing to be lit. So in short, I would stick with the “other lighting sources” you mentioned, but I wouldn’t rule out the LED tape light; that would be a nice touch. Hope this helps!

      Here’s a link to our 24-volt high output warm white LED tape light, which produces 160 lumens per foot.

      Here is a link to our 24-volt high output cool white LED tapelight, which produces 210 lumens per foot.

  • matt

    should i use t5 or t8 fluorescent bulbs in a a commercial building with a 30 foot high ceiling/ which also hapens to be an auto body shop? Painting and body work. needs good light for work

    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for the question, Matt.

      However, a standard T5 has the same light output as a T8 bulb, but a T5 HO produces more light than a T8. In a place such as an auto body and paint shop, the lights have to be well placed to get under hoods and such. With that in mind, we would recommend T5 HO strip fixtures, sometimes called industrials. Also, to make sure all your bases are covered, we’d recommend contacting a local lighting designer.

      Hope this helps!

  • Craig R

    We have a customer that is requesting us to test their biomedical contaminant medical device in an lighting condition equivalent to full sun. Could you recommend a workbench light and offer some guidance on how to set that up?

    • Jordan Loa


      Thanks for reaching out to us.

      Before we can supply you with an accurate answer, we would need to know the size of the area you’re trying to light.

  • Angela Bilia

    I want to replace my bedside light with a compact fluorescent one. But I am not sure what would be the best choice. The bedside lamp takes a 40 W type ‘A’ bulb (it’s a typical bedside lamp (with a shade that fits over the shaft where the bulb is screwed in). I want to have adequate light for reading –my eyes need bright light for reading, and the current 40 W is not enough. First of all, would a compact fluorescent be the kind of bulb to replace the current one? I know that I should look for a A-19 base (so that it can fit), and I suspect that the spiral ones may be a bit too bulky (unless they are really compact). But can I go higher on the ‘replacement’ watts? What would you recommend in terms of replacement watts and lumens so that I can read comfortably?

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Courtney Silva

      Thanks for your question, Angela!

      First, I would say that it all depends on what kind of shade you have. A spiral CFL may not work if you have a shade with a harp that has to fit over the bulb. If you think it may be too bulky, I would recommend using an A-shaped omni-directional LED instead. For a bulb that provides the best readability, you should stick with one that has bright color temperature of 5000K or more. But be warned, this temperature is going to provide a whiter light that may not be as inviting as a bulb that produces 3000K. Because it is alright to go higher on replacement wattage, we recommend this 60-watt equal LED. For a light with the same wattage but brighter light output, try this LED. While either bulb will do the trick, it really all depends on how bright you want your lamp to be. Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any more questions.

  • Ann

    We are doing a re model of our kitchen it is an 10 x 12 space. We took down the walls and it is all open to the living room and dining room. Electrician suggests putting in 5 recessed lights and 2 pendants over the Island. they are warm white 600 lumens 3000k 9.4 watts by Halo. Box says they are the equivalent of a 65 watt bulb
    He just installed the same recessed lights in a small den and I am unhappy with the brightness- I feel like they are too yellow?? Its not that there isn’t enough light they just seem too dull or dark? Not sure if I am using the right wording. Is there something else we can use that would be brighter? I would rather be able to dimm something that is too bright than not have it be bright enough THANKS for a quick reply-this is being installed soon

    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Ann!

      It sounds like you’re happy with the lumen output, which refers to the brightness of the bulb, but not happy with the color temperature, which refers to the bulb’s yellow color. This is an easy fix. The bulb you have has a color temperature of 3000K, which is referred to as warm white. You need a bulb with a higher color temperature, as the higher the color temperature, the whiter the light. For you, I’d recommend a bulb with a 5000K color temperature, which will give you a much whiter light. Hope this helps!

  • Kathleen

    We are adding a 550 sq ft room which will house a swim spa on one side and be a large recreation room. It will have a large amount of windows plus three skylights over the swim spa. The walls and ceiling will be finished in cedar. It will have 8′ tall walls with a gabled ceiling reaching to 15′. The room will have a ceiling fan that has a single down light (50 watt MR16 halogen bulb). The interior of the space will be darker due to the cedar. I am not sure how many lumens would be appropriate for this space. We would not need task lighting and I want lighting that is comfortable in color. I need to avoid recessed lighting due to the moisture and potential off-gassing of the water purification chemicals….they would just corrode the recessed lighting housing. I would liked the lighting to be flush mounted to the ceiling. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thank you,

    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Kathleen!

      However, we only sell replacement lighting, and no one on staff here is qualified as a lighting designer. However, if you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to to ask!

  • Erika Willis

    I am trying to find a LED replacement kit for a 150 W metal halide lamp used in an outside setting under a roof overhang adjacent to a main entrance canopy. I estimate the median lumens of the metal halide lamp to be around 9500. The research that I have done on the computer indicates that I can replace the lamp with a 65 W LED, however when I look at the specs for this lamp, the lumens are around 6050. This is over a 36% difference. Any ideas?

    • Jordan Loa

      We appreciate the question, Erika!

      In order to recommend a solution that’s right for you, we would need to know what type of metal halide fixture you’re wanting to replace. However, I’ve included an LED fixture that may interest you:

      Let us know if you have any more questions and if we can be of further assistance!

  • William Taylor

    HI, Have read your article but as a dim wit in maths and physics I wonder if you would be kind enough to answer this question. I wish to
    replace 3 perfectly adequate 150 w old style light bulbs in 3 rooms with the modern power saving equivalent in lumens for each bulb?

    • Jordan Loa


      Thanks for reaching out to us!

      When you refer to “old style light bulbs”, are referring to a standard incandescent bulb? If so, a 150-watt equal LED bulb doesn’t exist yet, as manufacturers are having a difficult time finding a way to displace the amount of heat generated by that kind of wattage. Currently, the closest LED bulbs we have are 100-watt equal bulbs that put out around 1,000 to 1,200 lumens, and I’ve included the link to them.

      If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, and we hope we’ve been able to help!

  • Angelina

    Hi guys,
    Thank you very much for what you do. I was wondering if you could help me out with an advise on LED light bulbs and with suitable amount of watts does it take to light up a typical office space:
    Knowledge worker stations: U-shape 6′ x 8′ , 48 square feet ; altogether 30 of them spread out in the office space, taking up to 1440-1500 Square feet?
    Manager work station with one or 2 windows , dimensions 6′ x 12′, 72 Square feet with one table , 3 chairs-isolated office all together 26 of them in the office space, taking up to around 1872 Square feet?
    Also one small conference room: one table , 6 chairs, no windows around 108 Square feet?
    1 large private office with 2 tables, 10 chairs and one computer desk , 3 big windows, corner office, around 204 Square feet,dimensions 12′ x 17′?

    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for the question, Angelina!

      Questions like these are difficult to answer, and are best suited for a lighting designer, who will be able to point you in the right direction and light up your office spaces to your exact specifications. Hope this helps!

  • Hal Feinstein

    Hi Benjamin, I enjoyed reading the information above and I have a question for you. I want to replace an old incandescent fixture (frosted glass “bulb”) in our apartment’s (small) dining alcove. I am currently using a 20W 2700K 1330 lumens CFL in it. I bought a Lithonia 7″ Versa Lite (a flush mount LED fixture) but at 740 lumens it’s not bright enough and the 4000K color is very unpleasant. Do you carry, or do you know of, a flush mount LED fixture w/ about 1,500 lumens and (say) 2700K color? I like the look of the Versa Lite but it’s too dim and its 11″ version doesn’t come in 2700K. Thanks! Hal

  • M.J.II

    I’m looking for a light to use in a closet vocal booth. It is 2x4x8. I need it to read lyrics. How many lumens do you suggest?

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Courtney Silva

      Thanks for your question! If I multiplied correctly, the square footage of your vocal booth is 8 square feet. And since you’re using this light to read lyrics, we will want to multiply that by 50 lumens per square foot, the suggested number of lumens for task lighting. This means you will need at least 400 lumens for your booth. However, the brighter the better, so you might want to go a little bit above that just to be safe. I’m not sure what kind of bulb you are looking for, but we do have a large selection of LED light bulbs that produce almost no heat and work great for small spaces. Hope this helps!

  • George

    I have a 8m (W) x 4m (L) x 3.5m (H) covered porch / terrace which is open on 3 sides.

    I want to light the area in the evenings to a level that is just comfortable as a social relaxing area. (10 – 15 footcandles?)

    I’m looking at using 3″ recessed 10W LEDs (~825 lumens), so how many units should I look to install to obtain the required effect?


    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for reaching out to us, George!

      While we’re always here to help, questions like these are best posed to a lighting designer, as they would be able to accurately measure the lumens you’ll need for the space you’re wanting to light. However, if you have product-specific questions, we would be more than happy to answer those for you. Let us know if there’s anything else we can help you with.

  • Heike

    For a 2 x 9ft closet, 8ft tall, would a 12″ long, 285 lumen led stick give sufficient light to see the clothes?

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Courtney Silva


      This would probably be sufficient lighting. However, I would suggest going a bit higher to between 350-400 lumens.

  • Heike

    Do you know of a replacement LED for BT-15?

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Courtney Silva

      The best replacement LED that would be the closest equivalent to a BT-15 would be an A19 LED. However, there are a variety of wattages to choose from and you would need to make sure that it would fit the fixture currently occupied by the BT-15. Let us know if you have any other questions!

  • Heike

    Is it true that one should not use any LED in closed flushmount fixtures? Something about the slight heat emitted by the bulb reducing the lifespan of the chips?

    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Heike!

      You’re absolutely right about heat reducing the lifespan of the bulbs. However, an LED can be used in an enclosed fixture, but it just depends on how enclosed the fixture is. IF there’s no way for the heat to escape, then the bulb’s life will be greatly shortened. Hope this helps!

  • Jorge Arce

    I’m ready to install some fixtures to illuminate the front of the house but I’m not sure the lumens needed. I do like the warm color of the incandescent bulbs instead of the white color of the LED. It is a tow story house. Any recommendations on lumens and fixtures to use? Thanks

    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Jorge!

      The good thing about exterior lighting is that there are many options. While that’s generally a good thing, having too many options can be confusing. You mentioned wanting to illuminate the front of your house. In order for an accurate recommendation, we would need a little more clarification. Are you wanting to light your yard, in a security sense, or are you looking more towards lighting the facade of your house, displaying it at night? Or are you wanting lights to come on when you drive up to the house?

  • Mike K

    Hi, great information! Renovating a small kitchen (11.1″ x 7.8″)with 9 foot ceilings. Installing a ceiling fan which will also be our main source of light. The 75 watt g9 halogen would allow us to have a smaller profile fan but would that be sufficient in terms of ligthing the room or should we opt for 26w GU 24 CFL. Thanks!

    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Mike!

      What kind of base will/does your ceiling fan have? Since you’re talking about two different bases, it’s important for us to know which base you’ll be working with. Let us know if you have any other questions!

  • Mike K

    Hi Jordan…we are looking at a base with a 12 inch drop (it’s not a pole but a single mechanism). I assume that is the information you were lookign for?

    • Jordan Loa


      I’m under the impression we’re not on the same page. With that in mind, I invite you to contact us at 1-800-624-4488. From there, you’ll be directed to an account manager who can steer you in the right direction. Hope this helps!

  • Jorge

    It is to light the facade of the house but at the same time illuminate the front since there are no light poles on our street and it is really dark. I’m thinking on setting the lights on a timer.

    • Jordan Loa


      There’s too many on-site variables to recommend a solution that would be both pleasing and efficient for your needs. The best solution we could recommend is to contact a local lighting designer that can come out and accurately assess your lighting needs. Sorry we couldn’t be of more help!

  • Al

    Benjamin- I want to put Led in commercial which need bright look. 2500 sq feet area and 11 ft ceiling. How many lumence I need?

    • Jordan Loa

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Al!

      With a space that large and ceilings that high, it would be best to consult a professional lighting designer, who will be able to correctly evaluate your space and offer a solution that meets your needs. Hope this helps!

  • http://www.afbcportland.org Bob M

    We are trying to calculate the lumens needed in our house of worship. Our stage area is well lit, but the seating area (400+) needs more light. Do I calculate room width and length AND hight of fixtures? The ceiling is dark wood, but the walls are sorta light tan. Carpet and seating is marroon.

    • Jordan Loa


      We thank you for reaching out to us, and appreciate your question!

      In regards to your lighting question, the best course of action here is to contact a lighting designer with experience in lighting houses of worship. Contacting a lighting designer will ensure all the dimensions, measurements and appropriate variables are taken into account. Hope this helps!

  • Meredith

    I hope you can help , I want to install the proper amount of “bright” quality lighting in my unheated garage to serve as both general and detailed task lighting at the same time, but I am having a hard time figuring out how many fixtures/ Lumens that I need to install for ample lighting conditions for day and night use. I’m thinking(?)my best bet is: (?#)4ft T8 32 Watt Flourescants? If so, i’m not sure which would be better: Cool White or Daylight. I’m 50+ years old and the eyes aren’t as sharp as they used to be up close. My garage conditions: 23’x 26’x 9’drywall ceiling and unfinished walls (Just studs) and concrete floor. Energy efficiency is also a consideration. Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated.

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Courtney Silva

      Thanks for the question, Meredith! This is a fairly complicated question that we think would be best suited for a professional lighting designer. They will more likely be able to help you achieve a secure solution for your lighting needs. We’re sorry we couldn’t be of more assistance, but please don’t hesitate to ask if there’s anything else we can help you with!

  • eb

    how many to light up the front of my house shining from the lawn onto a 2 story house?

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Courtney Silva

      Thanks for the question, Erik. For someone to answer this question, there are many other factors that would need to be known such as the measurements of your home. We recommend consulting a landscape lighting professional for the most accurate estimation of how much light you would need.

  • Geoff

    I am in need of some suggestions to light a 4,000 sq ft area (40′ X 100′ concrete pad) by way of either a single pole mounted light at one corner, or perhaps two lights mounted to a building that is 42′ away from the edge of the pad. Energy efficiency would be a oint of concern as well.

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

      Geoff, to ensure proper lighting it would be best to get the area evaluated by someone on site who can give you a quote on what is needed. A sign company would do well since they’ll be used to mounting lights on poles for great illumination. If you’re within the Dallas, TX area I can recommend Texas Electrical.

  • wayne

    Is there a ‘conventional’ amount of light that should be used over a bathroom mirror? I have a new light that will take 4 “100 watt” bulbs and I’d like to start out right — both in lumens and type of bulb. Thanks for your advice.

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

      Hi Wayne. The level of lighting is really up to you. But as a good rule of thumb you want to keep lighting even to avoid shadows, strong enough to illuminate everything, and cool enough to get a more natural light. If you use a total of 150-200 Watts (40-50W incandescent bulbs, or 6W LEDs, or 500-600 lumens) in the fixture that will be enough light. I’d also recommend a crisp white light, something around 3500-4000K and a CRI of at least 85. It’s closer to the kind of light you’ll see outdoors so colours will look more accurate both inside and outside your house.

      Again, the end level of light is up to you. If the fixture is a set of sockets mounted above the mirror, then a minimum of 150 watts will do the trick.

  • Marcel Langone

    Hello. I’m a 21 yo student and I’m doing a project about lighting in developing communities, something similar as “a liter of light”. I’ll need to do a simple approach to determine how many LEDs (lumens) I need to put in my bottle bulbs and what I hope you can help me is if you can manage to provide me the chapter or the source from:

    “loosely based on the IESNA Lighting Handbook:
    Floors: 20 Lumens per Square Foot
    Tables and Raised Surfaces: 30 Lumens per Square Foot
    Desks and Task Lighting: 50 Lumens per Square Foot”

    This would help me to justify my options based on a solid reference.
    Thank you in advance,

    Marcel Marques.

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

      The most recent version is ISBN: 978-0-87995-241-9. I believe you’ll find what you’re looking for under section 2 (though if you can access the book through your school library it will save you quite a lot). If I or any of the other staff can be of any further help, don’t hesitate to ask.

  • Bill Johnson

    I need to illuminate a sign on the exterior of my business. The sign is 16 feet long x 2 feet tall. I would like to use LED gooseneck “barn” fixtures. How many would I need to adequately illuminate the sign? The sign is burgundy with white lettering, if that makes a difference.

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

      This is a question for a person on-site. Unfortunately, something that specific depends on things like the viewing angle and ambient lighting. The best recommendation we can make is to contact a local lighted sign company which can come out and look physically see the sign. Otherwise you may find your sign insufficiently lit from the street or lit in such a way that glare from its own lights hampers readability at night.

  • Sue T

    We are having a new walk-in closet built. It is 104″ x 89″, so 64.3 sq ft. (It is about 95″ tall.) There is a window on the south west side, so the only direct natural light will be later in the day. I am more concerned about when it is dark outside. How many lumens are recommended for a walk-in closet? What types of fixtures and/or bulbs do you recommend for in a walk-in closet? What other factors should I be considering? Thank you in advance for your help!! This is a great site!!

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Jessica Banke

      Hi Sue, thanks for the question! According to the article above, floors require about 20 lumens per sq ft. Since your closet is 64.3 sq ft, you’ll need somewhere around 1280 lumens total – meaning you could have one fixture with about that many lumens, or you could split this amount up between two or more fixtures.

      As far as what fixtures to use are concerned, we recommend installing a few recessed downlights (https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/recessed-lighting-can-fixtures/) or using a flush mount close to ceiling light (https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/close-to-ceiling-light-fixtures/). Fixtures that hang lower might get in the way when you’re trying to reach your hanging clothes or any storage space above. If these suggestions don’t quite meet your needs, we do have other options you could look at for ideas in our light fixtures section (https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/home-lighting-interiors/).

      Other factors you might want to consider are color temperature and color-rendering index (CRI). When you’re purchasing a light for your closet, you’ll want to choose light in a higher color temperature (above 4000K) and with a CRI above 80. Both of these factors will ensure that when you’re trying to match your outfits, you won’t accidentally mistake navy for black or mix-up other similar colors. You can read more about color temperature and CRI in this article on our blog: http://blog.1000bulbs.com/color-temperature-revisited/.

      I hope you found this helpful! Feel free to ask us more questions or give us feedback on the advice.

  • Roger

    I’m shopping for a wall-mount fixture to serve as a reading light while I’m on the treadmill. The light will be approximately 4′ away from the reading surface. One fixture I am considering utilizes a 3w GU10 LED bulb which, I believe, provides around 240 lumens. Is this sufficient for my purpose? Thank you.

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

      240 lumens should be sufficient for reading. But with a 4′ distance and the constant motion of treadmill, you might want to consider increasing the amount to 270-300 lumens just to be safe.

  • Bethany Egerton

    I am doing a lighting plan for a church as well. Our currently has a drop ceiling grid with florescent tubes. Yuk! The space has nearly 12′ ceilings, it is over 2200 sq. ft. (42’x53′) not including the stage area. I would like to use a mixture of six chandeliers, wall sconces and recessed. I am not sure how to calculate how to distribute the recessed lights with the other lighting. How far apart do they need to be from each other and from the chandeliers?

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

      Unfortunately, this kind of question requires a lot of information. The types of lights used, the design of room, different surfaces, and how well lit you want the church to be. Something that intensive should never be left to a guess, so it’s better to hire a lighting designer who can actually look at the room and give you an accurate measurement.

      That said, if you still want to make your own estimate, look at the output and dispersion of light from the lamps you want to use in your downlights. Most PAR lamps will include a diagram in their spec sheets illustrating how much light appears over an area by distance from the light source. If you lamps have that, you can estimate the distance between downlights by measuring how much surface area is covered by a lamp that is 12′ away.

  • Lisa

    Hello, I’m trying to light up my 6000 sq ft back yard so my kids can safely use the trampoline, swings, and ride heir scooters at night. What do you suggest I use and how much lumens do I need?

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

      Hi Lisa. Security or flood lights should provide enough light coverage for your yard, though you will probably need multiple lights. If you want specific lumen values and perfect total coverage you will need to contact a lighting designer who can look and take measurements for accurate lighting placement. You should also check with any local city ordinances regarding light pollution. A local lighting designer will know which ordinances will be a problem, if any.

  • John

    I have removed two double Fluro lights from my large room. Am making this into a family room with a long 30 seater timber table and a lounge corner… I’m thinking LED lighting… It can be the same all over but I will have 7 large photo frames all down a nine metre wall… We have a two tone wall with a chair rail all round. I’m putting in a timber floor and the walls will be two tone grey… The ceilings are 2700

    The room is about 486 sq feet ceiling
    How many lumens will I need and how many lights will indeed to light this room fairly bright. I like the idea of a dimmer

    Where is the best place to purchase these
    How much oz dollars can I expect to pay

    Any suggestion will help


    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

      Not being able to see the room shape or ceiling height (as well as furnishings or layout) make this extremely difficult to give a lighting estimate. We recommend finding a lighting designer who can actually go to physical site and look at the room in question.

      If you are not planning on installing any new fixtures (and just replace lamps), then you can estimate by comparing wattage equivalents.

  • Clifford Diver

    2 Questions
    I am doing a large house that will have one floor as an art museum kind of space. We want to use recessed small LEDs for most on the 9 foot tall ceilings. Long hallways I was thinking of all double fixtures for uniformity ( single and triples were considered.) My question is to use 13W or 24W bulbs? There is a part with very high (20 foot) ceilings so I ask do more bulbs translate to more light on the floor that far away? Or should i just use stronger bulbs up there?

    Secondly in the art spaces I have seen the effective use of single long bare florescent bulbs hung about 5 feet from the art display walls in Galleries these days. ( an industrial look with very little scalloping and shadow) . I thought a bright light from these and a warmer light from the LEDs in the same rooms. Will that contrast pose a problem? And what spectrum should the florescents be?


    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

      Stronger power bulbs will produce more light in the hallway. You’ll also want to use bulbs with a narrower beam angle to make sure that more of the light reaches the ground properly. The further from the ground a light is, the more the beam will diffuse before reaching the ground. A narrow flood or spotlight will mitigate that diffusion. So yes, a higher power bulb and/or a narrow beam angle will carry the effect you want.

      Using the LEDs as spotlights and the fluorescents as general lighting should not be a problem. It is difficult to judge without actually seeing the location so I would highly recommend finding a lighting designer to look at the space first. For the fluorescents themselves, a 4000K bulb is typical.

  • https://www.facebook.com/jcoppen1 Josh Coppen

    Hi, I was wondering if you could help me. I’m remodeling my basement and recently removed an acoustical ceiling to expose the beams. I’ve painted the beams white along with all the wiring (there’s a lot). I still have these big fluorescent ballasts and I want to replace them with lighting that I’ve created. Do you have any resources for lighting parts other than the lights themselves? Also, what would I be looking at in lumens for a 650 square foot basement and what would you recommend for energy efficient lighting that would be omnidirectional?

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

      Depending on which pieces you need (cabling, sockets, switches, etc), you can look in our electrical category for the parts: https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/electrical/

      As for energy efficient lighting, for any downward facing light (ceiling fans, can lights, etc) any bulb with a beam angle of 180 degrees or better will work just fine (that covers pretty much all LED, tube fluorescent, and CFL bulbs). For floor lamps, try to find a bulb with at least a 240-degree beam angle. Most traditional style LEDs will work for this:https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/traditional-style-led-light-bulbs/ CFL spirals will, of course, already have the needed beam angle.

      For the actual lumens necessary, it depends on how your room is laid out. Exact numbers are something we recommend having checked by an on-site lighting designer. If you know what kind of lighting you had in place originally (types of lamps, wattages, etc) and whether you felt the light was too bright or too dim, you can do a comparison and estimate whether you need more or less lighting from that.

  • ken baker

    Hi I fitted 7led light fittings in my bungalow kithchen ceiling 15 months ago the loft space above is insulated and up to now 3 fittings have gone faulty as they dont produce a lot of heat like a halogen I didnt clear the insulation from around them. is this the problem and is there any fire reg’s for led’s

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

      Hi ken, it might be a problem. Are the downlight housings you are using airtight? Many LEDs need some airflow around the base and neck of the bulb to carry heat away from the electronics inside. If the inside of your housing is completely enclosed and airtight and the bulb face makes a tight seal with the trim, you should look into LEDs that are rated for enclosed fixtures.

      As for fire regulations, as long as you are using IC-Rated housings there shouldn’t be any problems with insulation near the housing.

  • http://gravatar.com/razorwindmo48 razorwindmo48

    I have 175 sq ft room. I want to use Ribbon Light that puts out 68 lumens per ft and is dimmable. How many feet of ribbon do I need?

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

      Without knowing the room or effect you want, it’s difficult to make suggestions. I highly advise you to seek a lighting a designer who can look at the space you want to light to work with you for the best effect.

      However, if all you want is accent lighting for the room, a few runs of ribbon light around the room would do the trick. Or, just measure the length of the key areas where you want to place accent lighting. Bear in mind that ribbon lighting is for for secondary lighting like accents, not for main lighting. Hope that helps!

      • http://gravatar.com/razorwindmo48 razorwindmo48

        Thanks for the answer. I went with 3 led lights at 900 lumens each and a dimmer in my cove for a total of 39 usable watts. When dimmed it provides ample light for my tv viewing and more than enough at full brightness to read.

        • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

          That sounds great! So glad we could help.

  • bary

    l have eara of 100*100*14 ml needs to be ligting by led the lumenes abut 1500000

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

      Not being able to see the area, it’s difficult to make a recommendation. The best thing I can suggest is to find a lighting designer who can actually look at the area and take measurements.

  • Whyvon

    Hi – I am purchasing a ceiling fan for the living room that has this type of bulb:
    (3) 40 watt A-15 Candelabra base. It CAN take up to 190 watts so I could graduate to (3) 60’s. They are dimmable so I can turn down when not reading.

    Two questions:

    I need the brightest possible for reading. What lumens and color family should I choose?

    Can I choose something other than incandescent for energy savings and/or better quality with this base? And if so what would you recommend? Thanks!

    • http://www.1000bulbs.com Will Parsons

      You could very easily switch to CFL or LED candelabra bulbs. If you do, a 60-watt incandescent is roughly 800 lumens. Dimming with either of those lamps is a bit more complicated. If you get a dimmable CFL or LED, you will need to make sure that any dimming switches you use are compatible with the bulbs you choose. But, even at 600 lumens or higher, LEDs or CFLs will be cheaper to run than a standard 6-watt incandescent.

  • Hilary Horsman

    Thanks for this post! I am installing all of the lighting in my house (don’t know why I didn’t just hire someone…) so this helped out a lot.

  • http://www.Lombardis.com MIke

    I am looking to buy LED warehouse lights for a food processing plant…. according to your article, I will probably go with 50 lumens per sqft. I have 12 ft coolers and a 20 ft freezer. How much should I adjust the 50 lumens per sqft with those hieights?

    • Will Parsons

      Without seeing the height of your fluorescent bays (high bays can be lowered to more closely match the conditions in the example), it’s difficult to make an accurate estimate. While you’d be much better served to have an on-site lighting designer, you could increase the lumen value by roughly 40% for the 12ft ceiling, and 60% for the 20ft ceiling. That is only an estimate however, you can experiment to match the lighting level you wish, or higher a designer who can actually be on site to evaluate it.

  • Ryan Hager

    Hi, I’m looking at lighting a T-shaped space that will serve as a foyer/hallway. The hallway will be 55′ × 7′ with an east facing window at one end and have a medium-dark warm grey wall, 10′ ceilings, exposed flat wood ceiling (100 year old brick building with ceilings made of fir 2×4s standing on edge, with exposed HVAC and conduit, making recessed lighting impossible, surface mount problematic because of shadows in certain areas, so track + pendant is our solution). The foyer has same wall colour and ceiling height, but is about 9’×25′. I plan on lighting with track lighting with 2700K or 3000K 50W equivalent LED fixtures and am wondering how many fixtures per foot to get reasonable but not overly bright lighting, looking for warmth instead of harsh light but not feeling dim. In the 9 x 25 space I will likely have about 7 35W equivalent LED pendants hanging at about 7.5′ height over a row of seating along one side of the 25′ length and the other side will be a 42″ wide walkway from the front door to the middle of the T with the same track fixtures as above. I’m just looking to calculate the correct number of fixtures for the track, to get a relatively even light for a hallway other than the pendant lit area. If too much detail, can you just estimate for 7’×55′ aarea without considering the rest, I’m not sure how to get to the lumens per Sq. Ft. but if I have a starting point I can work out what to order from a starting point and fill in or dim as needed.

    • Will Parsons

      At 20 lumens per square foot, you’re looking at roughly 20 lights for the hallway. Bear in mind that you would be better served to either call our customer support service (they can walk you through the types of lights you need) or bring in an on-site lighting designer. These numbers are rough estimates, but a designer would be able to give you more accurate counts.

  • Marlene P

    We bought an RV that has decorative lights hanging over an island sink. They take a 12v wedge base bulb in each one but there’s no writing on the actual bulb to see how bright it is or a number to compare and there is nothing in the manual about the lights. I want something brighter but I have no idea what to get. Do I look at watts, lumens or what? I’m thinking something with 250 lumens…..???

    P.S. RV lighting is a pain in the butt…….just thought I’d throw that in 😉

    • Will Parsons

      There are many different kinds of wedge-based bulbs at that voltage. Is it actually illuminating the sink or is the lighting purely decorative? If you have an image of the bulb itself, that would help in clarifying what you need. My best advice would be to contact 1000bulbs’ customer support service, as they can guide you to the right lamp.

  • Walt

    So if you have 2 each 500 lumens bulbs do you have 1000 lumens?

    • Will Parsons

      That’s correct.

  • Will Parsons

    It depends on how bright you want the sconces to be. Check with your contractor to see the brightness (in lumens) of the bulbs he would recommend, then compare that to the 350 lumens per LED.

  • alla privates

    Hello I have my dining room/living room which is 11×17 and ceiling height of 14′ , I want this room to be above average bright what’s my best options?

    • Will Parsons

      Based on the guide from the article, roughly 5,000 lumens of overhead lighting throughout the room, with a couple of small lamps for task lighting will suit your needs. Not being able to actually see the room (which fixtures are where), that’s the closest estimate that can be made.

  • Will Parsons

    Personally, I would scale it back a bit to be less reliant on the dimmer switches. You’re looking at roughly 4x the recommended lumen output. With dimmers installed you can drop that back down though, so you should be fine. Just make sure that the dimmer switches you get are compatible with your LEDs.

  • Will Parsons

    The problem is that you’re doubling the height from our calculations. The numbers above are for a ceiling height of 8′, so be sure to consider that. The further from the ground your lights are, the stronger they’ll need to be. If you’re using chandeliers (which will not focus the light but give an ambient light source), you should consider 1.5 to 2 times the above lumens per square foot. The brightness of a single light falls off quickly the further you are from the source.

    The best course of action would be to find a lighting designer who can make a visual inspection of the room. Or, if you aren’t actually changing the physical dimensions of the room, look at the output for the bulbs you already have, and match that total.

  • Beth

    Hi, I need to light a theatre stage in Mozambique of about 50square meters. How many lumens do you recommend for this? I will be mounting lights on both side of the stage and need to avoid shadows behind the dancers.

    • Will Parsons

      This is something you should actually get a lighting designer to look at. What I can tell you, is that you’ll need two sets of lights to prevent the shadows. A set of source4 lamps should illuminate the people on stage clearly, while a secondary set of lights should illuminate the background and dispel any shadows cast by the dancers.

      Will Parsons
      Sr. Copywriter
      2140 Merritt Dr. | Garland, TX 75041
      800-624-4488 Ext. 279

  • timbuck93

    It’s excellent to have bright light during the day.

    If you’re really going to do this then get cool white 5000k (sunlight is 5780K with lots of yellow and orange in the color spectrum).
    LED lights can’t quite match sunlight so maybe get a light yellow light fixture globe / diffuser.

    Then at night you can use warm white bulbs (2700K and I recommend Philips) for relaxing lighting and be to stay around 500 or so lumens for night lighting.

  • alla privates

    How many lumens per sq feet do i need in an office,?

    • Will Parsons

      Following the directions above should provide adequate lighting (unless your ceiling is higher than average). Twenty lumens per square foot for ceiling lights, with a desk lamp should provide ample illumination.

  • So very very bright

    I used to have a 135 square ft (12.5 square metres) lit up with 6000 odd lumens from 2 four foot (1.2meter) fluorescent tubes. It was lit up like an operating theatre. Think brighter than daylight.

    Then I changed the two tubes out for LEDs and now have about 2900 lumens. Guess what? It is still just as bright! It’s all about the effective lumens – the LEDs are directional and shine down only – not up so don’t waste light.

    Now in the much large lounge area there is one 11 Watt CFL in a lamp shade that gets used most of the time. It does not need to always be lit brighter than daylight in a house! There is an overhead light than can be turned out if you need to have more light because you dropped a pin on the floor.

  • Proudman

    I think that I understand the 20 lumens per square foot rule, but my ceilings are nine feet. How much should I need to increase the lumens?

    • Proudman

      I think that it’s 25.
      Does that sound right?

  • Ashley Hunter

    Actually, we recommend 20 lumens per square foot for floor lighting in a home. However, if you are planning on performing something task-oriented (cooking, auto work, workshop, etc.) then the number changes to 50 lumens per square foot, which would put your lumens total at 23,400 lumens. Add 20% because your ceiling is so high and we guesstimate about 28,000-30,000 lumens for the 12-foot ceiling floor space. Your 8-foot sounds very well-lit to us, at 50,000 lumens. The rule of 50 lumens per 100 square feet seems very, very sparse and dim. The final decision is actually up to you, some people like more light, some people like less.

    • Fire Pro

      Thanks so much.

  • Ashley Hunter

    What you are looking for is a photometrics chart for your particular fixtures. These charts diagram lumen distribution and show you much area a light source will cover. Some charts will also tell you spacing criteria. You will need to check the specs or the manufacturer’s site for that information. I can say that you will want to space them evenly apart and since your ceiling is quite high, the distance between each fixture would increase to optimize the beam spread of the light produced. A tentative guesstimate would be 4 to 5 ft. from the walls and each fixture.

  • Amjad

    Hi, i have a living room 21 X 20 ft and 9.5 ft height, can you please suggest how many 15 W LED ceiling lights will be good, all the walls are painted white. appreciate your response

    • Joshua Santa Cruz

      Hello Amjad,

      Interesting question, it is easier to calculate how many lumens you may need through the lumen output of the LED fixture rather than the wattage. We recommend 20 lumens per square foot for living spaces which would equate to around 8,400 lumens. Although, our initial calculations were measured with 8-foot ceilings, we recommend adding an extra 10% (840 lumens) to compensate for the height difference. Per our recommend amount I calculated that you would need approximately 9,240 lumens.

      In answer to how many 15W LED ceiling lights I am rather unsure since lumen output varies from fixture to fixture. I recommend finding the lumen output of one of your 15W LED ceiling lights and dividing that amount by our recommend 9,240 lumens to calculate how many fixtures are required.