Lighting Buying Guide
Lighting for the home represents the perfect blend of the necessary and the nice. It helps us see in the dark, but is about so much more than that. It can create ambience and set a mood, it can highlight a space to make it the best version of itself, and as a product, it's an accent that can make a statement.
With this Habitat Lighting Buying Guide, we shine a light on how to illuminate your space. Because we know that whether it gleams, glares or glows, you want lighting that radiates good looks and works hard.
What types of lighting are there?
If you're wondering how best to light up your room, we're here to help. To choose what suits your needs and style, it's important to know what's out there. Here's how it breaks down:
Ambient helps to create a mood or feeling in a room. It's usually the starting point when choosing lighting.
Task is focused lighting that works hard in a small area. It helps you to perform tasks, improves clarity, and prevents tiredness. It's essential!
Accent is for highlighting features in a room such as pictures or objects. This is usually restricted to one area.
If you want greater creative control over your lighting, you can combine different types for added spark. In fact we believe it's important not to leave a room in the dark - each deserves more than one light source.
Also known as pendant lights, almost every room has a ceiling light. There's an extensive range out there, both functional and statement, to hang anywhere from a slim hallway to a large living room.
Materials and finishes can range from industrial - think brushed, plated, or powder-coated metals - to softer-look ceramics and glass.
Ceiling lights look striking hanging alone, but grouped together over a breakfast bar or dining table they're more tasked in style, while having maximum visual impact.
These are the ultimate in portable illumination. They can be placed anywhere and do anything - adjustable for desks, delicate for bedside, or bold and dramatic as a design accessory in themselves.
From mouth-blown glass to bamboo, lacquer, paper and metal, Habitat lamps are available as complete table lamps or as a base to team with the shade of your choice.
Whether complete as base and shade, or as a base for you to finish with your own choice of shade, floor lamps make a stand.
Often pigeonholed to the ambient category, at Habitat the floor lamps play against 'types'. We have uplighters to brighten up dark corners, giant adjustable lamps, and multi-headed task lights - brilliant as reading lights when set by a sofa or desk.
Wall lights and spotlights
Wall lights can create a gorgeous ambient glow, especially when they're formed of frosted materials and teamed with low-wattage bulbs. To light up a hallway or offer luminosity to a large room, they're unbeatable, especially as a secondary option to your main pendant when you don't fancy full beam.
Available for indoors or outdoors, they can also be found as specifically designed for bathroom or kitchen.
Spotlights provide a do-it-all style of lighting. They can accent, they can brighten, or they can be mounted to the wall on an adjustable arm beside a bed or chair for focused reading.
Decorative lights and garlands
Also known as string lights or fairy lights, garlands deliver fun, colour and a little magic wherever they're strung. They're also festive, which is why they're associated with romance and Christmas.
Wrapped around banisters, draped over a mantelpiece, taped to dado rails or cascading down walls, decorative lights add sparkle to your space. The battery-operated variety stocked at Habitat can be snaked around place settings on a table, or placed in a vase or bowl for visual impact.
These are available for indoor and outdoor use.
What types of lighting accessories are there?
Shades are often where you can add warmth to light, have fun with pattern, or tie your interior together with colour or texture.
Table, floor and pendant lights all call for shades depending on the style of lamp. Coloured or neutral, tapered or drum, and in a selection of Habitat-designed printed patterns, shade materials range from cotton and real silk to paper and wood veneer.
Electrical ceiling fittings can also be dressed with pendant lampshades in materials like natural jute, decorative metal, origami paper, or glass.
Have an existing bayonet ceiling fitting and keen to use a Habitat lampshade or pendant shade with it? You'll need a reducer ring, and we include these with our shades. If for any reason yours is missing, our Customer Services team can help. Get in touch with them at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0344 499 4686.
Electrical light cords and fittings
These have moved on from functional and can now be statements within themselves. Coloured or neutral, and teamed with decorative bulbs, they have a cool, industrial look.
They can also be an affordable way to update your ceiling light when paired with a stylish lampshade or non-electrical pendant.
Combined with statement cords and fittings, decorative bulbs can be low in energy usage but high in style.
Whether oversized and mirrored, filled with twinkly LEDs, or dynamically twisted, they can hang out alone or peep from beneath pendants and shades. Festive or industrial, decorative bulbs are about a subtle little wink of individuality.
What types of bulbs are there?
We're switched on when it comes to energy efficient lighting, so we always cast our beam wide to highlight the latest innovations in home illumination. Here's how to choose your bulb:
Choose the bulb shape and size to best suit your lamp - Habitat's range is shown below.
We provide a recommendation with every light we sell - just see its packaging or product page at habitat.co.uk for details.
Decorative bulbs are also a great way of creating statement lighting, and we have a number available for display within statement pendants and glass or wire shades, where the bulb is always visible. Pairing a statement bulb with one of Habitat's Pendel cord kits is a simple, effective way of creating a contemporary look.
A cap (or base) provides an electrical connection to the light bulb, while keeping it firmly held in position. It's important that you know the cap type of your fitting before buying a light bulb for it.
Caps come in the following formats:
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL)
These are what most people think of as the ‘standard’ energy efficient bulb.
They provide a warm white light with a low heat emission. The closest thing to a traditional light bulb, they save about 80% of the energy the latter would use, so they’re both a bright choice and a long-lasting one.
The technology behind these bulbs today means they’re much improved on when they were first launched and warm up in just a minute. Here’s a guide to converting traditional incandescent wattages to their energy saving equivalents:
Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
If you’re looking to be a little creative with light, then LEDs are for you. They provide a range of effects, from soft to extremely bright light, with some even coming with colour-changing and multi-function settings. LEDs have an incredible lifespan of a minimum of 20,000 hours (over 10 years of average daily use), and thanks to being low voltage, are extremely energy efficient too. Some products such as LED task lights and garland lights have integrated, non-replaceable LEDs.
Replaceable LED bulbs, however, come in a range of caps and can be used with most products. They truly are the future of lighting.
These types of bulbs provide a crisp white light and are a bright choice because some are low voltage, with an average life span of 2,000 hours. They’re also up to 30% more energy efficient than incandescent light bulbs.
Halogens are the best option for use with dimmer switches and touch-sensitive dimmer lamps. They are also a popular choice for chandeliers, crystal, and glass ceiling lights as they give them added sparkle.
All incandescent bulbs were phased out in 2014, and Habitat led the way with a complete phase-out in advance of the European legislation date.
Incandescent bulbs are not only not good for the environment, they’re also expensive to run, so we’ve worked hard to source excellent energy efficient alternatives.
Which technical lighting terms and symbols should I know?
In 2010, European legislation changed the way we measure to bulb brightness. Previously referenced in wattage (W), brightness is now referred to in lumen (LM). This lumen measurement now appears on some bulb and product packaging.
Here's a guide to converting wattage to its lumen equivalent:
Kelvin is how bulb colour temperature is measured. It gives guidance on the warmth of the light output.
The higher the kelvin, the 'cooler' the light. All Habitat's CFL bulbs are between 2,700 and 3,000 kelvin, which gives off a 'warm' white light, while our garland lights come in three colour temperatures: warm, white and cool.
This is the term given to the power required to operate a light fitting.
The rated wattage of a light source refers to all of the power consumed to turn the light on. This is different to lumen as it refers to the amount of light output.
Class I Symbol
If this symbol is present on a product, it must be connected to an electrical earth.
The earth wire is green and yellow. If there is a fault in the supply that causes the live wire to touch the casing, it will cause a current to flow in the earth wire and the product will switch off.
Class II Symbol
If this symbol is present on a product, it advises the user that the product is double insulated and has been designed in such a way that it does not need to be wired to an electrical earth.
Class III Symbol
This symbol advises the user that a product is supplied with a safety extra-low voltage (SELV) transformer or power source. This allows the user to be able to come into contact with the live wire without getting an electric shock.
This symbol shows that a product complies with the requirements of the European directives for that product. In terms of lighting, this is the Low Voltage Directive (LVD).
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive symbol advises users that the product cannot be disposed of with general waste. It must be recycled with other WEEE products, either at a local amenity tip or other designated recycling plant.
How do I light a bathroom safely?
Bathrooms can become hot, steam-filled and wet, so lighting them safely should always be top priority.
Safety is of course the primary concern, so bathrooms are split into three zones, each of which determines which class of light is permitted in them, and the safety measures to bear in mind for installation.
Function is the second consideration. Do you need lighting that's bright and directed, or warm and ambient?
IP44 rated spotlights are ideal. Suitable for zone 2, they come in single, two-head, and three-head versions. These can be used on ceilings or above bathroom mirrors. Consider, too, multiples of bathroom-appropriate lighting mounted on walls for making a warm, glowing statement.
What are the different bathroom lighting zones?
Bathrooms are split into three different 'zones' to determine the class of light permitted near bathroom fittings, and the safety measures needed for each.
As you'd expect from being the area inside the shower or bath, zone 0 would not normally be a lit area. But any fittings that are used here must be low voltage and IPX7. Habitat does not supply this type of lighting.
Generally this is a tiled area situated directly above the bath or shower, to a height of 2.25m. Here a minimum of IP65 rated lighting is permitted, such as recessed or down lights. Habitat does not supply this type of lighting.
This is the area stretching away from zones 0 and 1. This zone also includes recessed areas of any windows with a sill close to the bath. A minimum of IP44 is permitted, such as down, track, ceiling, wall, and mirror lights.
Water resistance is measured with an IP (Ingress Protection) rating, which will always be shown on our packaging with a symbol to confirm the suitability of the product. All Habitat bathroom lights are rated IP44, so they're only suitable for use in the area marked 'zone 2' in the diagram below. We don't sell lights for use in zone 0 or zone 1.
IP44 - Bathroom zone 2, and outdoor
IP65 - Bathroom zones 1, 2, and outdoor
For your own safety, please ensure that you only place products that are suitable for a zone within that zone.
What do energy ratings mean?
Energy labelling was introduced to advise the consumer of the energy efficiency of a product. Dark green indicates good energy efficiency, while red indicates poor. This label appears on all Habitat's bulbs and lighting products, allowing you to choose those that will lower your energy consumption.
A note on safety
For your safety, lighting products must be installed in accordance with local Building Regulations. If in any doubt, or where required by the law, consult a competent person who is registered with an electrical self-certification scheme. Further information is available online or from your Local Authority.