Lightbulbs Direct Blog

#

Blogging about all things lighting since 2013. Check out our specialist online retail site over on lightbulbs-direct.com

  • Calling all DIY dads: do YOU know how to change a light bulb?

    This Father's Day, let us take a little time to remember those dads all over the world that spend their spare time doing the things that dads do; changing light bulbs, unclogging sinks, fixing broken stuff, breaking fixed stuff, drilling holes and everything else that the rest of simply have no idea how to do.

    A while back, we commissioned some research to find out just how many of us know how to accomplish the most basic of household tasks, and the results were pretty shocking.

    Despite this though, dads always seem to know what to do, even when most of these tasks pile up and need taking care of all at once...


    Hal fixing a light bulb by hal16
     

    But like poor Hal above finds out very quickly, things can get a little overwhelming at times. So, this Father's Day, why not point your dad in the direction of our Help & Advice section? It's jam-packed with handy tips and tricks from things as simple as how to change a light bulb, to how to use dimmer switches and LED bulbs effectively.

    It might not necessarily help him with fixing the car or kitchen sink, but we hope that it'll make his other 'job' just that little bit easier...

  • Bias Lighting | What is it, and why should you be using it?

    If you’re anything like me then you’ve probably not heard of bias lighting before. The term itself has an air of industrial precision about it, like something you’d find in a submarine, or Germany.

    However, if you remember the Philips Ambilight TV adverts from yesteryear then you absolutely know what bias lighting looks like, even if you don’t know the name per se.

    If you don’t remember, here’s a little reminder…

    ambilight bias philips

    Stephan Legachev

    Look familiar? At the time the cynic in me took one look at the coloured lights undulating on the wall behind the display and wrote the whole thing off as a gaudy marketing gimmick, or rather a way of bolting an additional £300 onto an already exorbitant price tag.

    Well, it seems there is actually a good deal of science behind this innovation and it’s nowhere near as expensive to implement as you might think.

    Before we delve into all that though we’ll need to actually look at the mechanics of the human eye, and why they’re important.

    Watching TV on a dark background can seriously strain your eyes

    Most of the light fittings you’ll find in a living room aren’t really conducive to an immersive viewing experience. They’re generally positioned either in the ceiling or around head height and, crucially, always in front of the television screen.

    This will invariably cast glare onto the viewing area and pretty much wreck your ability to see what’s going on. Contrast and colour become nothing more than a myth and the next few hours of your life are spent chasing intermittent flashes of light across the screen; neck cocked at a grotesquely unnautral angle, in the hope that at some point you'll be able to marry the sound - mocking you in its clarity - with a picture.

    Of course, very few people will actually put up with this state of affairs for any length of time which is why most of us generally opt to either dim the lights or do away with them altogether before settling down for a film or Sunday evening TV binge. However, this act in itself poses its own set of unique problems.

    You see, your eyes are breathtakingly clever. They’re constantly adjusting for changes in light and colour that are at times so minute that they remain largely imperceptible to us. This is perfectly natural and your eyes are perfectly capable of dealing with these smaller changes.

    However, sitting in a darkened room and gazing intently at an artificially backlit screen for hours on end is anything but natural and so your eyes, naturally, have a much harder time trying to adjust.

    This can cause some serious problems because of the way in which your eyes work, which involves absorbing light from across your entire field of vision and then reacting accordingly. Your pupil will normally dilate or contract based on how much cumulative light it receives. It doesn’t matter whether you’re staring at a light bulb, car headlights or a sunset; your eyes evaluate how much light is collectively streaming in through them and adjust accordingly.

    This is why emerging from a darkened cinema on a bright summer’s day can be relatively painful for a couple of seconds as your pupils, which have been blown up to the size of dinner plates for the past 2 hours to adjust for the dark environment, pretty much slam shut in an attempt to prevent a sea of sunlight flooding in and incinerating your retinas.

    This behaviour, while helpful, can cause serious problems under the circumstances discussed above. If your field of vision stopped at the edges of the screen then any potential issues would be all but eradicated. Your eyes would simply recognise that you were looking at a bright object and make the necessary adjustments.

    However, because (in a darkened room) this bright screen is framed by the darker area that surrounds both it and you, your eyes also have to factor in these darker areas and subsequently struggle to cope with the massive imbalance between light and dark.

    This creates a situation where your eyes are working overtime to account for an unusual set of circumstances that evolution hasn’t quite prepared you for, resulting in fatigue, headaches, and impaired vision.

    What is bias lighting and how does it help?

    Put simply, bias lighting is any light source positioned behind the viewing surface. It can take many forms, but the benefits of doing so are extensive.

    Firstly, it raises the level of ambient light in your field of vision. Your eyes will still receive the same amount of light from the screen, but the additional light surrounding it addresses the imbalance between light and dark that existed before. This alleviates your eyes’ workload and wards off the headaches, dry eyes, ocular migraines and visionary problems that can accompany this situation.

    Secondly, the introduction of extra light into your field of vision massively improves the reproduction of blacks and greys on your screen, or rather; it creates an environment in which your eyes can be tricked into perceiving that this is the case.

    Confused? Not to worry – I have just the thing…

    simultaneous contrast illusion

    Dodek

    Believe it or not, the grey bar in the centre of the image above is the same colour throughout. What this illustrates, aside from how easy it is to trick one’s eyes, is that contrast is everything. Notice how the grey bar appears washed out on the left hand side but becomes richer, darker and more defined as you head towards the right hand side with the comparatively lighter background.

    Placing bias lighting behind your television will recreate this illusion. Blacks and darker areas will appear, well, darker, because of the additional ambient light. This in turn improves your perception of contrast and further enriches your viewing experience.

    This same effect can be achieved by cranking up the brightness and colour settings on your TV. Some of you reading this may have adopted this solution already and, though its effectiveness cannot be questioned, it does place an inordinate amount of strain on your TV’s backlight. Introducing bias lighting will allow you to return your TV to its factory settings and thereby extend its operational lifetime without sacrificing picture quality.

    What can I use as a bias light?

    So, you’re finally sold on the idea of bias lighting but don’t really know where to start in terms of equipment, or how to install it. Well, try not to worry, for we have compiled a brief list of effective and - more importantly - COST-effective methods for setting up the perfect bias lighting system in your home.

    Firstly, let’s talk about LED strip lights. Their versatile design lends them to an array of applications - bias lighting included. Placing a single strip across the back of your television will create a more subtle, diffused effect that emanates from the centre of the TV, while you can also place a strip on each of the four edges for a more aggressive effect.

    bias tv
    LED link lights are also a great idea, particularly if you’re looking to go for a more diffused effect. Simply place one on the rear of the television and light will appear to emanate gently from the centre of the screen.

    Colour temperature and why it’s important

    Before you choose an option though it’s important to consider colour temperature.

    It's always important to pay attention to the colour temperature of your lighting, but it is extra relevant in this instance because of how your perception of colour can change depending on context. Much like the illusion above, the colours that surround the viewing area can greatly impact your perception of those inside it.

    It’s therefore wise to opt for a light source of a similar colour temperature to that which is adopted both by the manufacturer of your television and the makers of your content – that magic number, by the way, is 6500 kelvin.

    6500k is the colour temperature at which the bulbs in your television will be calibrated. The footage playing on it will have been corrected or shot in such a way to ensure that the white reference point matches (you guessed it) 6500k, while the studios in which everything was edited will also have been kitted out with 6500k bias lighting.

    This is all done to ensure that consistency is preserved right across the production process; from shooting right through to delivery via your TV.

    Using a 6500k (or daylight coloured) light source, will ensure that the content on your screen is displayed exactly as the director and editor intended it. Using bias lighting with a distinctly warmer bias will give your content a warmer, orangey hue, while lighting that is too cool may make everything appear slightly blue.

    colour contrast comparison

    Touchstone

    The image above illustrates this point perfectly. The image in the middle has a white reference point of 6500k, while those above and below it have colour temperatures of 5000k and 9000k, respectively.

    Of course, if you’re only looking to alleviate eyestrain then you might not need to pay as much attention to the colour of your bias lighting. The addition of any sort of extra ambient light will solve this problem. However, if you’re looking to attain the purest viewing experience possible, with colour and contrast rendered absolutely perfectly, then we’d recommend daylight coloured lighting every time.

    With this in mind, we’d generally recommend going for the coolest colour option available. Daylight is best of course, with a colour temperature of around 6500k. However, cool white strips and LED link lights will also produce the cooler light necessary for accurate colour rendering.

    What we’d certainly advise against is warm white light (which is similar to that produced by traditional incandescent bulbs) or coloured light, which can wreak all sorts of havoc with your ability to perceive the colour on screen properly.

    Maybe buying that that Ambilight TV was a mistake after all…

  • Selling Your House? 3 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

    It is the burning question for anyone looking to sell something: how can I get the most for what I have? Selling a car normally involves a thorough clean inside and out, paying special attention to that dubious looking stain on the dashboard that's had you puzzled and slightly on edge ever since you spotted it. Selling something smaller on eBay is simpler still: a few flattering photographs and a favourable description that only omits some of the item's minor flaws and you're good to go. But how do you go about selling your home, or more importantly, how do you add as much value as physically possible without getting Grand Designs and Ground Force involved?

    We thought it would be interesting to find out what people look for when buying a new home, and what they generally try to avoid. So, with this in mind we asked people up and down the country to choose from a list of factors that would both persuade them to buy certain properties, and dissuade them from others. The data we got back yielded some interesting results, so we've used it to compile a list of 3 key areas you may need to address if you want to add value to your home.

    With over half of respondents citing local crime rates as their biggest concern when searching for a new place to live, it appears that those living in deprived areas are at an immediate disadvantage. Unfortunately, if you do live in such an area and find that Alfred's taken off in the batmobile then you may have your hands tied somewhat. It's therefore worth mentioning that what this list aims to do is address the elements that we CAN control, rather than focus on those we can't...

    What would most encourage you to buy a property?

    1. Give your home a 'light and airy feel'

    Crime aside, when asked what would encourage people to buy a property the most, a 'light and airy feel' came out on top with 17% of the overall vote. Making sure that your rooms receive plenty of natural light can therefore stand you in good stead. Again though, circumstance does have a say and if you live in a heavily built up area where natural light is scarce, you may feel slightly impotent. Tom Pratt, manager of LightBulbs Direct and one of Britain's brightest minds on the subject of lighting, has some advice that will hopefully cheer those that find themselves in this situation though:

    It’s really interesting to see that such a high proportion of the public would be put off by dark and unlit rooms when looking for their new home, so we would recommend to anyone in the housing market to ensure all their light bulbs are working correctly and their property is bright and welcoming.

    Bright, energy efficient LEDs are great at mimicking natural light and a well-planned lighting scheme can certainly make your home appear brighter, fresher and more open. So, if you do live in a flat, cave or Manchester, then a refresh of your lighting is always an option.

    Contrary to popular opinion though, lighting doesn't just serve as a mundane way of stopping people from bumping into their furniture when it gets dark - it can also be used to decorate the home and make it a more pleasant to live, so giving some thought to HOW you light it might also be worthwhile.

    2. Efficiency is key

    Over a third of respondents said that they would be prepared to spend up to an additional £15,000 on a property with a high EPC rating. Curiously though, only 60% actually confirmed that they knew what an EPC rating was.

    I'll admit it. I didn't at first either. However, with a little digging it turns out that EPC stands for Energy Performance Certificate and is an assessment of a home's energy efficiency, set on a scale of A to G. Any new appliance you buy for your home will normally come festooned with stickers, most of which pertain to its energy consumption; look out for the one with a series of coloured bars that get progressively greener towards the top - this is its EPC rating.

    19% of respondents said they wouldn't purchase a home with an EPC rating below C, so make sure all your major appliances (from light bulbs to washing machines to dishwashers to fridges) have a rating of C or above. 'For buyers conscious of EPC ratings and energy-efficiency, investing in energy-saving light bulbs can significantly reduce household bills and also last up to 90% longer than other bulbs' - says Tom.

    It's worth noting that this is good practice even if you're not looking to sell anything at all. Kitting out your home with energy efficient appliances can shave hundreds of pounds off your energy bill each year whilst slashing your carbon footprint.

    Another pertinent point to be stressed - especially at this time of year as we hurtle towards winter - is the value in ensuring that your home is properly insulated. A building's ability to retain heat has a huge say in how much energy it uses, so make sure your windows aren't haemorrhaging heat and ensure there's plenty of insulation in your loft - if you have one.

    3. Put in the hard yards

    It goes without saying that most people probably wouldn't fancy moving into a house that looks half finished or unloved. Even those that aren't inherently lazy might resent handing over their life savings for a house without a fully functioning toilet. In fact, 31% of respondents said they'd be put off buying a property if it required a lot of work.

    Now, we're not implying that a loft conversion or turning your garage into a fourth bedroom are your only options (though that would certainly help), but making sure that the light switches work and that the kitchen has had a facelift since the 80s is going to do you a world of good. And for the love of god, make sure the bath's plumbed in.

    What would most dissuade you from buying a house?

    Other factors that people consider when buying a new home include size - with 24% of respondents stating that a small property would put them off - and a building's style (such as Georgian, Victorian etc.) with 13% of people expressing a fondness for historical buildings of a particular period. Again though, your ability to address these particular stipulations is somewhat predetermined so it's best not to worry about these too much.

    This list is by no means exhaustive - there are hundreds of incremental adjustments that you can make that will add value to your property, so let your imagination run free - the options can be as wild as building a swimming pool in the garden or as mundane as replacing your fridge magnets - it's all a matter of how much you're willing to spend.

    Finally, there is a wealth of material on our blog that highlights the importance of lighting within the home, including specific guides for the bedroom and bathroom. There's also an article on Eurovision, so check it out...

  • Lights Set To Go Out On 'Special Purpose' and 'Rough Service' EU Light Bulb Ban Loophole

    On 1 September 2009, the European Commission introduced a directive that aimed to ban the sale of incandescent light bulbs across the EU. Designed to take place over a period of three years, it claimed the 100W filament bulb first, followed by the 60W version two years later and by 2012, the process was completed with the removal of the 40W light bulb and all other remaining derivatives. At the time this decision was both pilloried and praised, depending on which side of the fence you were on. However, since the ban's introduction a loophole has remained that enables companies to continue selling bulbs with this same technology - a loophole which, at the end of this month, is set to close.

    But what was the ban even for, and why were so many opposed to it? Well, to some it represented a well-intentioned effort on the part of the EU to phase out what is a grotesquely inefficient technology (90% of an incandescent bulb's energy is wasted on heat). To others, it was a reckless and misguided blunder that ignored the dearth of viable, affordable alternatives to replace it.

    Indeed despite the UK government's assertion at the time that 'the average annual net benefit to the UK between 2010 and 2020 is predicted to be £108 million', it was also branded as 'illogical [...] wrong, muddle-headed and infuriating' by Michael Hanlon of the Daily Mail.

    Despite this, a certain class of incandescent bulb had been exempted from the ban in order to nullify its effect on the trade and industrial sectors. Called 'rough service' or 'special purpose', this range of light bulbs shared the same technology, aesthetics and price as the outgoing incandescent version. However, as long as a bulb was sold under the 'rough service' label, it was entirely legal.

    Light bulbs in a bowl

    In September 2015 though, the EU have moved to close this loophole. The sale of special purpose bulbs will still be permitted, but from 27 February 2016 a tranche of new amendments to the original 2009 directive will be introduced that clarify how such a bulb is defined.

    Once implemented, incandescent bulbs which are longer than 60mm and resistant only to mechanical shocks or vibrations (the current definition of a rough service/special purpose bulb) will no longer be classed as such; thereby resigning them to the doldrums along with those that have gone before. It's worth noting though that this newer, refined definition will not apply to bulbs destined for use in traffic light signalling and image capture technology.

    So what does this mean for companies and consumers? Are LED light bulbs still so far behind that this new directive will plunge us all into the literal and metaphorical darkness? With an additional ban on halogen bulbs that was initially set for this year having been delayed until 2018 because of similar concerns over replacement technologies, you might be inclined to think so.

    Tom Pratt - General Manager at LightBulbs Direct - doesn't agree:

    We welcome the ban [...] The impact will be far less than the 2009 ban due to the wide availability of viable alternatives. Over the last few years, LED technology in particular has matured and dropped in price. There are also quality options available in the CFL (compact fluorescent) and energy saving ranges.

    This at least appears to be true. Where a 5W LED GU10 would have cost around £30 in 2009, today they can be picked up for as little £5 or even less depending on where you look. Despite this, LED technology still has a comparatively higher initial cost, but its ability to slash lighting bills thereafter and pay for itself over a relatively short period is sure to encourage people to adopt what is now a mature and established alternative.

    Besides, in a few weeks you'll no longer have the option anyway...

    Light bulbs in studio

    LightBulbs Direct's complete range of LED light bulbs can be found here.

    More information on the light bulb ban itself can be found here, while additional information on some of its consequences can be found elsewhere on our blog.

  • Osram to Light Up This Year’s Eurovision Song Contest

    This year’s Eurovision song contest is a big one, for many reasons. It’s the competition’s 60th anniversary, Conchita Wurst’s immaculately mowed beard is set to return to our screens for the first time in a year and through a bizarre quirk suitably befitting of a competition as bafflingly brilliant as Eurovision itself, Australia will be allowed to compete for the first time.

    But for us here at LightBulbs Direct, this year’s competition is particularly interesting for an altogether different reason – one of our most trusted suppliers, Osram (along with their entertainment lighting subsidiary, Clay Paky) has been selected to provide the lighting.

    Clay Paky Eurovision

    “We transform the largest entertainment spectacle in the world into the largest lighting technology event with our light systems," says Hans-Joachim Schwabe, CEO of OSRAM Specialty Lighting. "We want to turn the show into a really unforgettable event for the audience."

    On Europe’s biggest stage and in front of an estimated 180 million people watching around the world, Osram has been granted the opportunity to display the full capabilities of their technology and we can’t wait to see what they have in store.

    Lightify

    What's more, Osram's Lightify system is set to create the most involved and immersive viewing experience ever for those watching in the Eurovision Village, located in Vienna’s city hall square.

    Osram Lightify

    A free, bespoke app designed to work in tandem with the Lightify system and created especially for the competition, features a 12 point numbered voting system that mimics the competition’s own. Each number corresponds to a specific colour (from 1 point being blue to ‘douze pointe’ being red) and anyone can register their vote whilst the performance is ongoing.

    Once all the votes have been aggregated the square is bathed in the preponderant colour, so expect it to resemble a freezing cold plunge pool of the deepest azure for the 3 or so minutes that the UK’s act takes to the stage.

    Vienna Eurovision Village Sqaure

    The Eurovision song contest Grand Final will be hosted in Vienna on 23rd May 2015.

  • Maintained and non-maintained emergency lighting: what is the difference?

    Whether it’s through fire, earthquake or someone tripping over a cable, loss of power in a public building can induce panic, hinder escape and ultimately cost lives. Inability to locate an exit can be devastating for a whole number of reasons, from genuine danger to misconceived hysteria.

    As such, by law, every building that is designed for public use must be fitted with Emergency Lighting that activates in the event of a power cut (irrespective of the reason) and guide its occupants to the nearest emergency exit. Emergency lighting is generally split into two options, maintained and non-maintained, but what’s the difference, and why should it matter to you?

    Non-Maintained Emergency Lighting

    Non-maintained emergency lighting exists for one reason – to switch on when a building’s mains power fails. Linked to a battery and the building’s lighting circuitry, these lights remain off while the primary supply is working properly and will only turn on when this is lost. These luminaires exist in many forms, from smaller, lower wattage pin lights that emit just enough light to illuminate exit routes, to illuminated signs that glow in the event of a power cut and identify emergency exits.

    This kind of lighting is generally used in environments where the occupants are already familiar with their surroundings such as offices, factories and other workspaces.

    Exit Sign Light

    Maintained Emergency Lighting

    Maintained emergency lighting does exactly the same as its non-maintained brother, but also doubles as a building’s primary lighting supply. Powered by the mains but also linked to a chargeable battery, it switches to the latter when access to the former is lost. Basically, this is a light that remains on at all times.

    This kind of lighting is used in environments where occupants may not necessarily know where they’re going and will need to be guided to the nearest exit via generously illuminated walkways such as shopping centres, cinemas, theatres and other public areas.

    So which should I use?

    There is no 'best' option when it comes to emergency lighting, just that which is more applicable to your uses. For example, lighting a stairwell that exists purely as an exit route with maintained emergency lighting would prove to be a colossal exercise in wastefulness, whilst installing small, 3W LED non-maintained lights in a large public gallery with high ceilings and cavernous rooms would also prove to be a mistake.

    Ultimately, as is usually the case with lighting, it's simply a case of assessing your needs and choosing accordingly, though in this instance I'd offer the following rule of thumb: familiar and small environments = non-maintained lighting, Large, unfamiliar settings = maintained lighting. Of course, it's not always that simple.

    Our full range of emergency lighting products can be found here.

  • Bathroom IP Zones Explained

    Like any room throughout the home, lighting your bathroom poses its own set of unique problems and challenges. What type of light fitting should I use, and how many? Where should I put them?

    The most important element to consider though, is often the one that gets overlooked - safety. Mixing electrical components with water is never a good idea and nowhere does this happen with greater frequency than a wet and humid bathroom environment. So, how do you install lights in a room that often gets wet so that you don't end up blowing your hand off every time you want to get a shower?

    An IP (Ingress Protection) rating is assigned to any product where its ability to prevent objects of varying sizes and compositions from breaking its barriers is relevant. Any such rating normally consists of the letters 'IP' followed by two numbers, the first of which applies to solid objects and the second to water and fluids. The two tables below outline what each number means and allows you to gauge how enclosures with a certain rating would perform under a specific set of conditions...

    Solids IP RatingLiquids IP Rating

    So what does all this mean in terms of lighting your bathroom safely? The 17th edition of the IET's (Insitute of Engineering and Technology) Wiring Regulations includes an amendment that designates certain IP Zones for bathroom-based light fixtures and at what proximity from a water source these fixtures should be placed. The diagram below illustrates the relevant dimensions and proximities...

    IP Zones Diagram

    Zone 0 is the area either directly in the bath tub or shower basin. Ultimately, these are areas where any fitting would actually be submerged and therefore require an IP rating of at least IPX7. The 7 in this instance denotes the fitting's ability to prevent the "ingress of water in harmful quantity [...] when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1m of submersion)".

    It is worth noting that in the context of IP Zones there is no requirement for the enclosure to resist solid objects; if water can't breach its barriers then its resistance to solid objects is naturally spoken for and as such doesn't need to be defined.

    Zone 1 is the area either inside the shower cubicle or that directly above the bath tub (to a height of 2.25 metres). These are areas that will typically be subjected to multidirectional splashes and so would require a rating of at least IPX4, though if they are likely to be cleaned with focused washer jets then a rating of IPX5 is advised.

    Zone 2 is the area that sits on either side of Zone 1, sitting at a distance of 0.6 metres away from the bath and/or shower and at a height of 2.25 metres if directly above. These areas require an IP rating of IPX4 though again, if pressurised water jets are to be used to clean this area then a rating of IPX5 is preferable.

    Anything outside these areas does not require a fitting with a specific IP rating, though it is advised that any enclosure used inside a bathroom should have a rating at least comparable to those above, as the presence of steam in generally humid environments can at the very least cause light fittings to fail, even when the actual risk of danger is negated.

    Our full range of bathroom-ready, IP65 rated downlights can be found here.

  • Don't let ugly light bulbs ruin your home!

    The importance of a light bulb’s aesthetics cannot be understated. Thought of as purely functional until very recently, assuming that its uses extended no further than simply illuminating a room was fair enough.

    But, much like pairing a crisply tailored suit with a pair of bowling shoes, an ugly bulb can utterly spoil a room’s complexion.

    Light bulbs can look good off, too

    After months of planning and hard work, everything is ready. You’ve spent an eternity gazing at paint palettes, comparing curtains, selecting furniture and you have maybe 2-3 good fingers left on each hand after sanding the floorboards to within a nanometre of timbered perfection.

    However, something disturbing is hanging over you, quite literally in this case. Casting your eyes toward the ceiling reveals a hideously incongruous light bulb that sits unnervingly out of kilter with the rest of the room's decor and threatens to plunge it into a coldly ironic, metaphorical darkness.

    But, it doesn’t have to be this way. With so many lighting options to choose from, there is simply no need to compromise the décor of your home with drab or ugly light bulbs.

    Old school is the new cool

    Our antique filament range delivers an almost steam punk, renaissance-style twist on a classic design, with hand-wound filaments and a range of bold shapes imbuing the bulbs and rooms where they sit with a vintage yet thoroughly contemporary aesthetic.

    Crompton Antique Filament Bulb

    Plumen: the designer energy saving light bulb

    The compact fluorescent light bulb was designed for one purpose – to conserve energy - and this really shows in its less-than-affable design.

    Derided the world over for its appearance, the CFL light bulb has always been the absolute embodiment of function over form; the industrial mule that plugs away in the background to save energy and money, forever consigned to the underside of a lamp shade.

    However, the game has changed. The rise of Plumen has carried with it a flurry of intriguingly attractive bulb designs that are meant to be flaunted, rather than hidden. From the intricate spaghetti loops of the Plumen 001 to the robust symmetry of the Plumen 002, these new bulbs have the power to transform any room whilst requiring very little to actually light it.

    Plumen 001 Light Bulbs

    Our full range of Retro, Antique and Old-Fashioned filament light bulbs can be found here.

    Our range of Plumen light bulbs and fittings can be found here.

    For those looking to reduce their energy costs as far as physically possible without resorting to candles, our full range of LED light bulbs can be found here.

  • Mobile app 'Rudder' aims to get you home quicker - and safer...

    Rudder, developed by University of Michigan graduates Hannah Dow and Steve Coffey, is a brand new mobile app that incorporates a city’s street light data and coherent turn-by-turn directions to display the quickest, best-illuminated route home. The point of this may not be immediately obvious to everyone, but there is a very good reason behind it...

    In a survey commissioned by the Telegraph in January 2015, it was found that one in three female students has been assaulted, sexually or otherwise, on poorly lit UK campuses. It also found that one in eight male students has endured a similar experience.

    Let there be light...

    Walking home in the dark isn’t a particularly pleasant experience, but one that many of us endure on a regular, if not daily basis. "The experience of travelling at night is just completely different than during the day. It’s harder to see, and even if you know where you’re going, it’s easier to miss landmarks and street signs at night," says Dow.

    Rudder aims to address this by providing directions that only include routes with adequately appointed street lighting. The app’s algorithm won’t take you any more than five to eight minutes out of your way and also allows your smartphone’s camera to act as a serviceable light meter.

    A navigation app unlike any other...

    The proliferation of mobile applications in recent years means that Rudder is something of a rarity. In a digital age where my phone can track my sleeping patterns, control my boiler or allow me to ruthlessly machine gun an oncoming horde of bloodthirsty zombies, it has become increasingly difficult for developers to create something unique, interesting or genuinely useful.

    Rudder is already causing a stir though, and with additional functionality already planned; from sharing your journey’s progress with friends and family to providing the option to manipulate your route based on distance or lighting, it seems clear that the two co-creators have high hopes for an app that offers a genuinely useful solution to a genuinely real problem in today’s heavily saturated app landscape.

    Upon launch, Rudder will only be available to university students in a select few US cities. While unfortunate, it’s probably best to remember that a tiny platform known as Facebook started life under a similar set of restrictions, but swelled to become the ubiquitous, all-consuming social media juggernaut we all know and love today…

  • LightBulbs Direct Photo Contest

    Are you an indoor gardening genius? Are your fingers greener than anyone else you know?

1 of 10 of 327
Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,