Bulbs, Fittings & Fixtures: What to Know When Selecting Modern Lighting



Lighting plays a vital role in the overall appearance of a home, so it’s important that you choose wisely. While it’s tempting to make your choices based on style and design, the functionality of your lighting should not be overlooked. Here at Contemp, we are fully convinced by the merits of contemporary LED lighting, but it’s always helpful to have a refresher on the qualities of some of the other various bulbs and lighting fixtures:


Choosing lightbulbs can be tricky if you’re unsure what all the terminology means. Here’s a quick run-over of which bulbs serve which purpose. Remember that you should never use a wattage that’s higher than the fitting instructions suggest. You can, however, buy the highest wattage allowed and then use a dimmer switch to control it.



Tungsten (Incandescent) lighting refers to the everyday household bulb. Its light colour is usually warm with yellow undertones. This makes it ideal for creating a feeling of warmth and cosiness in rooms such as the living room. There are also clear, pearl, and silver reflector versions of the Tungsten Incandescent bulb. The clear type is best when the bulb is visible, say in a chandelier, the silver reflector ideal for spotlights.

Tungsten Halogen bulbs burn at a much higher heat than Tungsten Incandescent bulbs. To withstand the temperature, their casing is made from quartz rather than glass. The light colour produced is a lot whiter and purer. Though they can be expensive to replace, they’re a good fit for uplights because they’re somewhat energy-efficient and also available in a low voltage, with a slim and compact design.

Fluorescent bulbs are often used to light large areas such as factories and offices, causing that annoying buzzing sound. However, they’ve since undergone a lot of modifications and they’re now available in many new varieties specifically for the home. These bulbs are ideal for mini strip lights in the kitchen because they’re energy-efficient and economic with a long flat design. The only downside is that they can’t be fitted with dimmers.

Energy saving bulbs are the best option for preserving energy and cutting down on electric bills. Replace ordinary bulbs with energy saving ones. This is especially important in rooms such as the living room where the bulb may be left burning for hours at a time. Although you may have to pay more upfront, you will definitely save money in the long-run as they won’t need changing as often.




Downlights are used to cast a pool of light on to the area below where they’re fitted. They usually come in the form of recessed LED lights on the ceiling or mounted on to a surface. Rather than being fixed in place, they can be moved around to cast light on different areas of the room. They’re great for accent lighting and they’re commonly used in kitchens, bathrooms and loft conversions. However, without installing wall lights too, downlights can cause a gloomy effect in the room, with dark corners that aren’t illuminated.

Uplighters project light on to the ceiling which bounces off and creates a softer effect. Since the light is directed upwards, you’ll avoid causing glare. Uplights work well in studies or used behind sofas and large pieces of furniture in the living room. They’re usually tall and slender lamps with minimal decoration.

Track lighting is when several spotlights or floodlights are attached to a track to in rows of LVTH or mains-voltage lights without the need for a transformer. You’ll have the option to use more than one circuit, giving you the option to have all the lights on at once or just some.

Wall lights refer to any light fitted that’s mounted to the wall. They could come in the form of shades or frosted fittings. They gently diffuse light in to the room and add to the general ambient lighting, making them perfect for hallways and living rooms. Ceramic bowls can be used to create a classic look and diffuse light towards the ceiling, while translucent wall light will give off a softer and more subtle light.

Pendant lights usually hang from the centre of the room to provide ambient lighting, or above work surfaces to provide task lighting. They provide a good base for general lighting, but they may need a boost from other light sources if there’s not much natural light coming in to your room. They’re available in a range of styles, from glistening chandeliers to contemporary lanterns with an industrial feel.


Considering the purpose of your lighting fixtures is the key to effectively illuminating your home. You should aim to create layers of light within each room, using task lighting where needed and complementing the general ambient lighting with subtle accent lighting on walls and floors. Here at Contemp, you’ll find plenty of lighting fixtures that are both stylish and functional. If you need any advice on bulbs or installing the fixtures, then our friendly and knowledgeable team here at Contemp can help you out.