Lighting Regulations & Interior Design

Incandescent Light Bulb


The next few years will see the familiar incandescent light bulb disappear from our homes, offices, workplaces, leisure venues etc as regulation sounds the death knell for this once ubiquitous light source replacing it with more energy-efficient, eco-friendly light bulbs.


I am currently looking into the consequences of this regulation for interior design and I would really appreciate any comments that you could leave me to explain your views on this issue. Please leave comments below.

If you need inspiration I just found this interesting article by Paul Nulty ‘A new Era for Lighting: Lighting Design Post Bulb Ban’

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  • While the regulations have increased use of LEDs, I find it interesting one of the hottest trends in light bulbs is the use of the vintage “Edison” style bulbs. It seems that many consumers are willing to give up energy conservation to get the look they want. I think style will continue to trump function for many.

  • Hi Stacey,

    Always love reading your articles, always interesting. This article prompted me to contact Paul Nulty to meet with me for a project I’m currently working on (which I did yesterday). I told him about your article so great to see his input.

    There are so many new lighting sourcing with varying colour bias coming onto the market, the interior designer needs to aware of the effect that will have on interiors it will be used in. A beautifully decorated interior can easily look flat and lifeless…

    Colour and light are always my first two considerations.

    Looking foward to reading your findings.

  • LED’s are undoubtedly the way forward. Just don’t believe everything manufacturers tell you!
    In no particular order, compare and consider the effects of:
    Real time colour temperature
    Lumen depreciation
    Embodied energy
    Actual lumen output per watt of energy used
    Switching cycle
    Qty of ultraviolet light

    Ultimately an incandecsent bulb IS a very inefficient source of light but the picture is so much bigger than just Watts of energy consumed.

  • In the UK most of the incandescent household bulbs with opal/pearl finish have now been discontinued. The standard 60w, 40w and 25w household bulbs, globes and candle shaped bulbs are still available in clear finish. Clear bulbs are brighter than opal/pearl bulbs because the light is not defused. It is therefore hoped that where you used a 60w in pearl you will now use a 40w in clear thereby saving 20w of power.

    The main problem with clear bulbs is that when in use the filament in the bulb casts a shadow like a spiders web on the walls. However they are suitable for use in enclosed luminaries or in conjunction with shades. Its use may be restricted but the incandescent bulb is alive and well but the LED or compact fluorescent may eventually win the day.

  • Many signature light fittings still use this type of light bulb, the key will be to stop using them but still achieve the same light production.

    I’m not a fan of LED lighting, but as the market grows I would hope to see it improve and be used more – there are many great aspects to it, the light produced just needs to be better. I’ve seen too many light fittings produce harsh white light, maybe ok in a gallery but a residential home demands a different light. Lighting is one of my first concerns when designing any space – how can it be lit in the morning, daytime and evening – all important considerations to how the home will feel.

    Ultimately unless you wish to stockpile light bulbs (I know some people who have done this!) the lighting manufacturers will need to adapt otherwise they won’t sell anything.

  • Great topic! I think things maybe a little different in our parts but there has been a shift in thinking here also and energy saving bulbs can be spotted in most households these days. Unfortunately they are pretty ugly (especially poking out of flush ceiling fittings) so I look forward to the day where it is possible to use LEDS in the average home.

    Right now its really commercial situations they are being used in or new residential buildings where they can be incorporated early in the design. I guess until they are redesigned to be retro fitted into our current fittings, LEDs will only be for those who can afford the high initial start up cost?

  • The 60 watt incandescent light bulbs are ubiquitous in most households. More than 20% of home electrical usage goes to producing light and we know that incandescent light bulbs are very inefficient since only 10% produces light and the other 90% produces heat. In an era where there are growing concerns about the enviroment there are more efficient bulbs that produce a higher percentage of light and at a lower cost that meets my goal of providing sustainable and efficient designs.

    • Thanks Ana, do you think that interior designers will need to think differently about the spaces that they work with when incandescent bulbs are replaced with more energy efficient ones? We all know that lighting is a super important part of an interior design scheme and incandescent bulbs have vastly different properties than energy-efficient bulbs when it comes to the light they provide. I’m just wondering if that will prove challenging for interior designers to achieve the same effect and atmosphere as they did with incandescent bulbs.

      • With these regulations on the horizon it will push forward the use of LED’s even further. It’s the only way forward. It won’t neccessarily be the LED technology itself that will improve, as they are already highly efficient, but rather the way in which they are packaged to emulate the light produced by incandescent light bulbs. There are already direct LED replacements for GU10 spot lights . . . price is the factor but regulation will drive the cost down.

        • Hi Nathan, thanks for your input. So in essence you believe that the lighting itself will be forced to evolve to meet the needs of interior designers rather than the other way around?