Big Changes on the Horizon for Residential Lighting

LEDs will change the way our homes look and function.


By now, most people understand the energy-saving merits of LED light fixtures. But according to Christopher Thompson, professional lighting designer and founder of Studio Lux, Seattle, Wash., this is just one of many benefits homeowners can reap by switching over to LED technology. The impact of LED on residential lighting is so significant, says Thompson, that more will change in the way homes are illuminated in the next three years than has changed over the past 30 years.

Although LED technology may be expensive now, with web-enabled bulbs like Philips’ Hue selling for $60 each, costs will decline as more manufacturers jump on the bandwagon. Also, notes Thompson, manufacturers of architectural lighting control systems have engineered their products to enable LEDs to be brightened, dimmed and incorporated into lighting scenes along with traditional incandescent bulbs. A few of the other reasons Thompson is “excited” about the transition from incandescent to LEDs:

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LEDs have a smaller form factor than other types of fixtures, which enables them to be installed discreetly in places that other bulbs may not fit. The fact that they emit very little heat also opens up new installation options. LED “pads,” for example, measure just 3/8 of an inch thick, making them ideally suited for mounting to the underside of a kitchen cabinet. Since they generate little heat, there’s no risk to items, like spices, that may be contained inside the cabinetry.

LED strips tucked around the perimeter of a cove ceiling can blanket a room with gentle, evenly dispersed illumination, often precluding the need for several recessed can lights in the ceiling.

LED fixtures offer the opportunity for lighting designers to adjust the “temperature” of the bulb’s light output. For example, a designer can dial down the Kelvin temperature to achieve a cool, bluish effect or raise the temperature to create a warmer looking atmosphere. When temperature control is combined with dimming and brightening functionality, Thompson says lighting will start to take on a theatrical look in homes. “Today we achieve this warm and cool affects by using filters and lenses. In a matter of months, we should be able to do it via programming.”

LED bulbs with a built-in WiFi connection are already starting to hit the marketplace, and their impact, says Thompson will be huge. A WiFi connection will allow homeowners to control lights via apps on their smartphones and tablets, which makes lighting control more affordable and more accessible. “No longer will you have to invest in a hugely expensive system in order to have the convenience of controlled lighting in one concentrated area,” he says.

Below is a video by, which shows their new line of modular LED under cabinet lighting systems.

Read about the importance of pathway lighting here.

Are you planning a new home technology project? Read about why it’s important to get your integrator and your architect together early.


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