Smart lighting per room: what is a lumen, and how many do you need?

Last updated: 9 months ago

What is a lumen? And what else should you pay attention to when purchasing smart lighting for a space? We explain it!

Soft, atmospheric light in the living room, task lighting in the kitchen, bright light in the bathroom, and a dimmable lamp next to the bed: you use lighting that matches your activities and creates the atmosphere you want in every room of the house.

Smart lighting lets you easily determine the amount of light and colour temperature per lamp and per room. But there are differences in the degree of illumination that each lamp within the range of smart lighting can produce, and which colours and colour temperatures each lamp can emit. That's why we explain what to look out for when purchasing lighting for a specific room.

Watt is a Lumen?

The light output of a traditional incandescent bulb is measured in watts. "Watt?" Yes, we've all heard that joke... The higher the wattage, the brighter the light. Contrary to popular belief, watts are an indication of power consumption, not of light output. Lumens are used to measure light output. Watts and lumens are not the same.

With the disappearance of the traditional light bulb and the arrival of (smart) energy-efficient LED bulbs, the lumens are more clearly displayed on the packaging. This is because an LED can produce as much light (lumens) as a traditional bulb with a much lower wattage (energy consumption). Because you want to know how much light it produces, you check the number of lumens.

How many lumens are in a watt?

Because lumens have only recently been used, and people are more used to using wattage to determine the brightness of a bulb, we've created a handy chart to show which LED lights have equivalent light output to traditional bulbs. The right-hand column indicates how many lumens you should look for in your LED bulb to equal the light output of a traditional incandescent bulb.

15 Watt (90 lm) 136 lm (≈ 1,7 W)
25 Watt (220 lm) 249 lm (≈ 2,8 W)
60 Watt (710 lm) 806 lm (≈ 9,5 W)
75 Watt (935 lm) 1055 lm (≈ 11 W)
100 Watt (1340 lm) 1521 lm (≈ 13 W)
150 Watt (2160 lm) 2453 lm (≈ 24 W)
200 Watt (3040 lm) 3452 lm (≈ 27,7 W)

Want to swap your 60 watt traditional bulb, which produces 710 lumens, for an energy-efficient LED bulb? Then it's a good idea to purchase an LED bulb with a light output of 806 lumens to ensure you get enough brightness. For comparison: the 806 lumen LED lamp consumes only 9.5 watts. This means you save on your energy bill!

Dimmable LED bulbs always show the maximum number of lumens when the lamp is set to 100% brightness.

The colour temperature of light

Aside from lumens, you also need to consider the colour temperature, or tint, of lighting. Colour temperature means whether the lamp has a 'warm' or 'cool' light. Compare, for example, the warm colour of a sunset with the cool colour of a fluorescent tube. You can imagine tha ta warm temperature create a more relaxed atmosphere, while a cooler temperature is ideal for working.

The colour temperature of a light is measured in Kelvin (K). This value is also displayed on the packaging of bulbs and is not to be confused with the colour of the bulb, which is the true hue. The colour temperature/Kelvins refers to white light, which can range from cool blue-ish to warm yellow-ish.

The scale shown ranges from 0 K to 10,000 K. To give an idea of the difference, we've compared different temperatures to light you're probably familiar with.

Indoor lighting usualy varies between 2000 K and 5600 K, with lower values used to create a warmer atmosphere. Higher values are used when performing tasks that require good lighting, for example, at a workbench. Remeber, this is not about the brightness (lumens) of the bulb, but the tint of the colour white.

However, keep in mind that the colour temperature does have an impact on the number of lumens it emits: the warmer the temperature (i.e. fewer Kelvins) the fewer lumens a lamp can emit.

The right lighting for every room

50five offers many different brands and types of smart lighting, each with their own specifications and abilities: maximum light output, colour, colour temperature, and dimmabilitiy. This allows you to tailor lighting in each room to your needs, but also to your specific activity, like reading, cooking, relaxing, or working. 

To help you light your home, we've created a guide to indicate how many lumens you'll typically need in common rooms. Keep in mind - the number of lumens also depends on the size of the room. We also give advice in dimmibility, colour, and product suggestions.

Living room lighting

Lighting in the living room is used to create atmosphere to help you feel comfortable and relaxed. The total number of lumens in this room is typically between 500 and 1000 lumens. The living room is very suitable for dimmable and colour RGB lamps to precisely match your environment, activity, or feeling.

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Dining room lighting

In this room you generally use white light in different temperatures, so it's advisable to use bulbs that have adjustable white colour temperature. During a chic dinner with candlelight, you obviously dim the lights and choose a warmer temperature. On the other hand, it's also useful to have brighter, cooler light when you want to use the table for homework or hobbies. The number of lumens above the dining room table should be somewhere between 500 and 850.

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Kitchen lighting

It's important to have good lighting while cooking, so you can easily read ingredients and recipes. After all - we're not all top chefs. You'll want to illuminate your kitchen counter with spotlights or LED strips with plenty of bright light. In total, the kitchen should have at least 850 lumens, with 500-800 above the kitchen counter.

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Bedroom lighting

And then there was LIGHT! Has your partner ever switched on the overhead light while you tried to snooze a few more minutes? The bedroom is a place where it's especially useful to have smart lighting options. And not just smart, but more atmospheric. You want indirect, bright light while reading before bed, and  something a little warmer and subtle for romantic moments. You want bright task lighting while putting away laundry, and a dim nightlight for when one partner is still asleep. You can even program your lights to slowly slowly brighten before your alarm goes off, simulating sunrise. Different colours and shades have different effects on your body and mind.

Because sometimes you want atmosphere and sometimes you just need to find a pair of socks, smart lighting provides endless options in your bedroom. Generally, your bedroom lamps should generate between 400 and 850 lumens. To alternate between atmospheric and subtle lighting, it's nice to have different colours and shades available to you.

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Garden lighting

Decorative and functional lighting can also be used in the garden. Decorative light is ideal for illuminating your garden path to add a little bit extra coziness. On the functional side, you can use a combination floodlight + security camera to protect your home and family. The number of lumens required for garden lighting varies between 500 and 1000 lumens, depending on whether you're looking for functional or decorative lighting. The Ring Floodlight Camera produces a whopping 1500 lumens! 

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