How to use LEDs

Sally Storey explains how to get the best out of LED lighting

27 Sep, 13

Expert: Sally Storey

Company: John Cullen Lighting

Background: Design director, creating lighting schemes for everything from super yachts to some of the world’s grandest hotels.

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She has also written three books on the subject of lighting.

LEDs have been the buzzword in the world of lighting for a while now.

However, in order to make the most of this energy efficient light source, there are a number of important considerations that need to be taken into account when using LEDs.

LED light behaves differently to incandescent light sources:

LED is much more direct and lacks the ‘ambient’ properties of incandescent light.

Therefore, whilst you can use them in the same way as you would a halogen, it is also important to consider using other layers of light as well, building up a palette of effects.

For example, you could use LED Oslo at a low level and install Footlight LEDs to light shelves individually and complete the look with table lamps.

LEDs work best when used for feature lighting within a room

For example, it would work well to use LEDs for both uplighting low level floor washers and shelf lighting.

At just 1w a fitting (compared to 20w halogen versions) and with a lamp life of around 50,000 hours, you won’t need to worry about changing the bulbs or expensive energy bills.

Use LEDs to create a range of effects

Good quality LED downlights (such as the John Cullen Polespring LED) can be used in the same way as halogens to light anything from artwork to the centre of a coffee table.

The best fittings offer a full range of beam widths; John Cullen offer 36°, 26° and 10° beam widths to allow for a wide range of effects.

Essential to how to control LEDs at the outset

We would always advise fitting dimmers so that you can change the mood of a room.  Whilst LEDs are dimmable, many require different wiring so you should always check the manufacturers guidelines when fitting new lights.

To allow for simpler installation, John Cullen now offer a mains voltage driver for use with all their down, up and floor washers.