I work in the conservatory and keep my art equipment in the guest bedroom upstairs. This is because I love the natural light there. It faces North-West, but can be too hot in Summer or too dark in Winter. As it leads off the dining room I would like to use the dining room as an alternative working space and teaching studio as I only need to move the table and bring an easel (or two) inside, Also I get lots of exercise running up and down stairs because I am quite forgetful.
1) I asked a professional builder who suggested two modern LED floresecent light fittings. I chose these two and an electrictian looked at them and gave the thumbs up. While adding the extra light socket, we got rid of the horrible Artex Ceilings. Here are the lights. Trendy clean lights and versatile for a dining room and art space. They can be lowered and dimmed for a nice meal. After replastering and decorating the electrician came round and guess what? These lights were 60cm from the ceiling (nose height), extending to 120cm (tummy level) and obviously designed for a restaurant buffet or something similar. I thought this was the extended height, not the starting height.
We returned them within the 30 days approval time.
2) A little wiser now, I asked the technical adviser from the massive Dutch company for advice. She said that the previosu choice of 12 LED’s was far too bright, even though we had to opt for warm white. She recommended this light fitting’s cousin with 2 X 4 bulbs. The alternative one had 9 bulbs which would have given us a total of 18 bulbs which she said was far, far too bright..
So the electrician installed them and they also had a dimmer for our intimate dining experience. I was very uncertain but decided to try to live with the lights. Nearing the 30 days approval, I began panicking. They were a compromise but did not work. I spend an afternoon working under than and they had a sharp piercing brightness, came nowhere near daylight and hurt my eyes. So back they went.
3) Then we got smart and did some research on the internet and found a very useful article. Now if you are interested and just want an easy solution, without my saga, here it is: Replace your bulb with the Compact Florescent DayLight Bulb… I read on…
Here is the post we found so useful:
We needed to understand three things:
- CRI (pronounced CREE) Colour Render Index – this is the accuracy with which colours are represented and should be 90+
Will Kemp: “Understanding art studio lighting for beginners: Natural daylight has a CRI rating of 100, this is what ideally we’re aiming to mimic in a lamp”
- Kelvin: This is the proximity to daylight. Daylight is an index of approx 5000K – 8000K
Will Kemp: “Understanding art studio lighting for beginners: In my studio, because I need artificial light as well as natural light I aim for a lamp of between 5000K – 5500K, this gives a white light rather than it having a cast of being too blue or too orange. For a good balance of warmth and coolness, look for bulbs with a CCT of 5500 K, the equivalent of midday sun. If you prefer cooler light, akin to north light, look for bulbs rated 6500 K.”
- Lumens: This is brightness and it varies depending on the type of bulb.
Will Kemp: Understanding art studio lighting for beginners: “The more lumens in a light bulb, the brighter the light. Understanding art studio lighting for beginners
- 40-watt incandescent bulb = 450 lumens
- 29-watt Halogen = 450 lumens
- 9-watt LED = 450 lumens
- 9-watt Compact Fluorescent Lamp = 450 lumens
He shortcuts this because the size of the room etc are all factors that affects lumens and says that for a smallish studio with an 8-10′ ceiling, just buy a screw-in CFL (Compact Florescent globe) 85watts: It should have a 90+ CRI rating, 5000K- 5500K colour temperature and around 85 watts, it will give a light output of around 5000 lumens at the lamps source and will give you a bright, clean light to work under.
I went to look at these, and guess what? This particular globe is the size of a one-litre milk bottle and obscene, and this is also my dining room !
4) So, armed with KNOWLEDGE and RESEARCH, and still harbouring desires of stylishness, we visited a local family light specialist near Abingdon.We were hankering after asthetics. Peter very kindly came back with two options:
Bog-standard Florescent tube fitting without a diffuser (the diffuser messes things up apparently) and the Triphosphor tube, and ignore the extra light fitting and remove the dimmer switch. (My son told me that this is what he uses for his fishtank, but a smaller version)
Two bathroom lights which were each 40cm in diameter and had florescent tubes – not quite the right number of Kelvins or Lumens, but sort-of -close. Also not very beautiful and expensive and a compromise.
5) So we went for the plain old florecent tube and decided that a simple white tube while switched off will simply be innocuous, well – as innocuous as radiators! When switched on it will be functional. The money we saved can be used for a truly stunning floor lamp to use for ambience. Cost: £15 plus florescent strip (excluding beautiful floor lamp). We will only use the one of the two light fittings.
Will Kemp says: “I will be using full spectrum fluorescent’s to light my studio, the lamps I’m going to go for are Philips TL-D 90 Graphica Pro Triphosphor 4′ T8 36 Watt Fluorescent Tube 36W, They have a Kelvin of 5300K and a CRI of 98 and I can create a bank of lights to mimic diffused daylight whilst ensuring the lux level is going to be high enough. On a happy note, as the bulb mimics natural daylight it’s ideal for sufferers of Seasonally Affected Disorder or S.A.D, so gives a feel good factor whilst you work!”
We are nearly there at last and we have gone the full circle. Aaarrrrggghhh!