A Guide To Frequently Used Lighting Terms
Accent lighting is directional lighting used to draw attention to a particular area or display object. It is often used to highlight art or other artifacts.
Ambient lighting serves as the primary source of light for a certain room. It is the foundation of all the lighting of a room
A style of light bulb which makes use of pins which fit into grooves to lock the bulb in place. This is opposed to the most common screw style of bulb. For more information on bulb types, head over to our blog so you can shop for bulbs with confidence.
Candle Lamp (Light Bulb)
A standard light bulb designed to resemble the shape of a candle flame. These are mainly used in decorative lamps, or in light fixtures where the bulb itself is on display.
This is a metal canopy which houses the electrical connections and hides the ceiling fixings on ceiling lights. There are a variety of ways of attaching the ceiling plates.
A chandelier is a decorative light that hangs from the ceiling and that has branches for light bulbs or candles.
The lighting class denotes the electrical safety of the luminaire and means the following:
Class 1 – the device has an earth wire that is connected to the household earth. Any unsafe electrical situation arising to the metal casing of the luminaire will then flow to the earth and cause the household consumer unit to trip out protecting the user from an electric shock.
Class 2 – the device has all current carrying parts separated from the user by two layers of insulation at all times.
Class 3 – the device operates on a voltage less than 50V A.C or 120V ripple free D.C, and the control gear (transformer/driver) can be separated from the device.
The colour temperature is a measure of how warm or cold a white light source appears. Warm light sources offer a softer, yellower light, while cool light bulbs emit a bluer, more intense light. Colour temperature is measured in Kelvins (K), and the lower the number, the warmer the light
Colour Rendering Index (CRI)
Indicates how clearly a light bulb replicates the colour of objects it is illuminating. It works on a scale of 1-100, and the higher the rating, the more faithfully that colours are reproduced. High CRI bulbs are mainly used for photography and exhibition purposes, where it is important that colours are accurately reproduced.
A diffuser is applied to a light source to spread light more evenly. It is made of translucent glass or plastic, and gives a much softer light. This is useful for general lighting, where the light needs to be less directed.
A device that regulates the lighting output of a lamp by controlling the power supplied. Dimmers can be used to make indoor environments more customizable and personal, and are also useful to save energy.
Please note: not all lamps are compatible with dimmers, and incompatible types may be damaged.
A compact lighting fixture that directs its output downward. Downlights can be recessed, surface-mounted or pendant.
Dual Mount light fittings come with a fully adjustable chain. But this can be removed and attached directly to the ceiling like a semi-flush light fitting. This helps ensure that the light fitting can fit in to any home.
Piece of electronic equipment that transforms the main supply voltage into a lower DC voltage that is appropriate for LED lighting. Some LED lamps have a built-in driver, while others require one to be connected externally.
Edison Screw (E14, E27)
The Edison screw (ES) cap is one of the most common types in use today. It is named after the inventor Thomas Edison, and like its name suggests, it is the type of cap that simply screws into its fitting. Many ceiling lights, floor lamps and wall light use this type of fitting, so there are a wide variety of bulbs available with this cap.
The technical term for electrical cable and can be in a variety of finishes and materials.
The IP rating (Ingress protection) is used to inform the customer on suitability for areas where there is the possibility that water may come into contact with the fitting (bathrooms and outdoor).
The rating consists of the letters IP followed by two digits, if a number is replaced by X this indicates that the enclosure is not rated for that specification.
The first digit indicates the level of protection that the enclosure provides against access to hazardous parts (electrical conductors, moving parts etc) and the ingress of solid foreign objects.
The second digit defines the protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against various forms of moisture (drips, sprays, submersion etc).
Lumens are a better method of measurement for brightness and quality of light than watts. Watts is the measurement of power required to power bulb, whereas lumens are a measure of brightness. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light.
A lighting fixture that is designed to hang from the ceiling, and which often uses a shade to prevent glare. Pendant lights are often height adjustable making them great for use in a range of homes.
Spotlights produce a narrow downward beam and are generally used for accent lighting or task lighting applications.
Touch lamps operate when you touch them. This functionality is fun but also very practical, you don’t have to reach for the switch and is easy to use for people with reduced motor functions.
Watts are the units that measure the rate at which power is generated or consumed. As a general rule, the higher the wattage, the brighter the light bulb, although this is not an exact way of measuring a bulb’s brightness.