Hello lumens, goodbye watts

lumens, watts

You may have heard a lot a talk about lumens recently, but what are they and why do they matter?

In most simple terms, lumens are a measurement of light. More specifically, they are used to measure the total amount of light (or brightness) produced by a single light source. Increasingly, light bulb manufacturers are using lumens on their packaging, to help consumers make more accurate decisions about the type of bulb they need.
Historically, it has been watts that have provided this information, but with bulbs becoming more energy efficient due to the increased adoption of LED technology, wattage is becoming a far less accurate or relevant metric in lighting – modern LED bulbs can produce equal (or more) amounts of light using less power than their traditional equivalents. For example, most would assume that a 6.5W LED bulb would produce less light than a 50W halogen bulb, but because the low energy LED bulb is capable of producing a higher light output while using far less power, this isn’t always the case.


Ultimately, lumens just make more sense, as choosing a light bulb should come down to the light produced, and not the energy consumed in doing so. As a helpful pointer, many modern LED bulbs will be accompanied by an approximate equivalent watt specification on their packaging, but it will likely be some time before lumens are accepted as the ‘go to’ lighting metric amongst consumers.

Lumens Vs. useful lumens

When comparing lightbulbs, it is not enough to look at lumens and watts alone. This is because lumen levels are measured differently between different styles of bulb. For directional bulbs, such as spotlights, some of the light produced may be ‘wasted’, but is still counted in the total lumens rating. But, for non-directional bulbs such as candle, globe, or ball shape, the lumen output is measured in all directions.
In a bid to make light bulb comparisons more straightforward, a new useful lumens rating was introduced which only measures the light that is released in a 90° cone from the centre of the bulb, ignoring any light that is split or ‘wasted’. This measurement is more accurate for spotlights in particular as the light is only emitted in one direction.

How many lumens is enough lumens?

Every room will have its own lighting needs depending on size, ceiling height, colour scheme, the amount of natural light coming into the room, and how the space is used. Therefore, there’s no optimum lumen level, so to speak. However, the below cheat sheet provides a useful introduction into the ideal lumen level for various settings:

To assess a light bulb in terms of its energy efficiency, wattage remains a vital statistic. However, in order to gain a true understanding of how bright a bulb will shine, the answer lies in lumens.

The role of lighting in immersive dining

The Role Of Lighting In Immersive Dining

The immersive dining trend has become incredibly popular in recent years, with a growing number of restaurants now offering quirky dining experiences as a way of attracting adventurous diners. By combining great food with unusual atmospheres, immersive dining is a way for restaurants to show off their creativity and offer something truly unique to their patrons. Sight, smell, sound, and of course food, all play an essential role in the immersive dining experience, but within this article we’ll be looking at some great examples of innovating lighting.

Examples of lighting being used in immersive dining

    • Dans le Noir? (translation: In the Dark?) is a restaurant chain that plays with lighting to the extreme. This immersive experience has diners sitting in complete darkness throughout the duration of their meal in an attempt to heighten other senses. The concept aims to challenge the guests’ preconceptions and allow for a different type of interaction – both with each other and with the food.

Via www.facebook.com/DansLeNoirLondon

    • Trendy Amsterdam-based Bar Botanique Cafe Tropique is filled with tropical plants and botanical green textures to mimic the look and feel of a rainforest. The green walls, floors and ceilings are adorned with clusters of palm trees and ferns, and reflective discs hang from the ceiling to bounce light around the room. During the day, full-height windows allow natural light to flood into the space, creating shadows and a sense of being outdoors. When the sun sets, spotlights directed at ceiling mirrors create interesting textures on walls and ceilings.

Via @barbotaniqueamsterdam

    • Ultraviolet in Shanghai marries food with multi-sensorial technology in order to create a fully immersive experience for its diners. The walls are fitted with projection screens, and lights combine with sounds, scents, and cooling breeze to provide a truly unique experience for diners throughout their 20 course set menu. Check out their Instagram for some seriously cool lighting inspiration.

Via @uvbypp

Practical yet magical

Lighting has always been integral to interior design; its presence or absence can completely make or break a space, no matter how amazing the interior design looks. In 2017, this has become even more true for those venues that are inviting guests to fully unwind and engage with a multi-sensory experience. For restaurant and bar owners, immersive dining is a key trend to watch throughout the latter part of this year and beyond.

Patio lighting tips for hospitality venues

Patio Lighting Tips For Hospitality Venues

A well-lit patio area has the potential to transform a bland outdoor area into a functional space that attracts and inspires guests throughout the summer months. However, achieving patio perfection requires balance – over-lighting a patio can ruin the ambience, while insufficient lighting can prove underwhelming and leave guests wanting more. Here are some top tips for making the most out of your venue’s patio.

Outdoor lighting starts… indoors

Indoors may seem a strange place to start when planning the lighting for an outdoor space, but it’s important that the two areas complement one another and are consistent with the venue’s overall look and feel. If a guest has enjoyed a relaxing meal in the relative calm of a restaurant, the last thing they want when they step outside for a drink is to be dazzled by overly-bright lights. Conversely, having bright lights inside of an establishment can result in excessive reflections on windows and patio doors, impairing guests’ view of the patio area outside. Thinking about how indoor and outdoor spaces work together helps to ensure a harmonious lighting set-up throughout an entire venue.

Function meets form

Patio lighting exists primarily to provide illumination, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be stylish too. Introducing feature lighting is a great way of ticking both of these boxes, whilst simultaneously injecting some creativity and character into an outdoor space.

Using string lights to highlight key features around a patio area, such as bushes or statues, can work brilliantly, while fairy and festoon lights interwoven amongst trees, trellises, and pergolas helps to create a chilled out atmosphere that guests will love.

Hidden wall or ground lights offer a discreet way of illuminating a patio area and are extremely durable. Capable of withstanding the weight of people – and even cars – ground lights are a great option for lighting paths and walkways, or framing patio edges. These lights can also be positioned to highlight walls and other external key features of a premises. The Konstsmide LED Ground Light is a popular choice due to its stylish aesthetic and storm-resistant IP68 rating, which makes it invincible against even the worst of the British weather.


Low walls are a common feature around patio and decking areas, and offer an excellent opportunity to introduce an extra level of lighting. Installing ground lights on top of, or in the side of, low-level walls not only helps to provide illumination at low levels, it also helps to prevent unwanted trips and falls.

Having a patio area where guests can enjoy the warm summer evenings is an extremely valuable asset for any restaurant, bar or hotel. Therefore it is crucial to ensure that your patio is perfectly lit so your guests make the most of this space and use it to its full potential.

If you’re still looking for inspiration to help you light your outdoor patio area, then please contact us today!

LED lighting in hospitality – it’s not what it used to be…

LED Lighting In Hospitality

LED light bulbs have come a very long way in recent years, but unfortunately their reputation for emitting harsh blue light remains, particularly in the hospitality sector where lighting is so crucial for achieving the perfect ambiance. However, thanks to advancements in technology, most LEDs nowadays not only provide a much better light output, they also boast a host of additional benefits that traditional halogen and incandescent bulbs simply cannot match.

LEDs are cheaper to run

Firstly, LEDs can offer energy savings of 80-90% over traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs, and up to 50% savings over fluorescent tubes. Given the fact that a quarter of a hospitality business’s electricity costs come from lighting bills, making the switch to LED can lead to huge savings in the long run. What’s more, with an average lifespan of around 50,000 hours, modern LEDs last around 2-3 years longer than traditional bulbs, resulting in significant reductions in maintenance costs over time.

Of course, every venue is different and there are many factors to consider when calculating the cost savings of LEDs and the length of time it will take to refund the initial payout; these include energy rates, building layout and size, quantity of bulbs and fittings, and the duration period of illumination.

LEDs provide flexibility

Another key benefit of modern LEDs is that they incorporate the best technology which allows for much greater control over lighting, both inside and outside an establishment. For example:

  • Adjustable colour spectrum: smart LEDs are perfect for venue owners who are seeking lighting solutions which allow them to adjust the colour of a light to suit a variety of situations. Having the ability to switch between warm and cool lighting means venues no longer need to compromise one atmosphere for another
  • Dimmable: one of the major disadvantages of traditional LEDs was their limited dimmable range. Today’s LED bulbs are very different and allow complete control when it comes to dimming, and in some cases can dim to as little as 5 or 10%
  • Brand consistency: lighting styles, levels, and colours are all crucial to a venue’s visual identity and branding. This can create challenges for multi-site franchise businesses, as no two buildings are the same. The flexibility of LEDs allows designers to create consistent and uniform lighting so that guests receive the same experience, no matter their location.

Image credit: Michal Parzuchowsk

Making the switch to LED is easy

Finally, there is a misconception that updating an existing lighting set-up to LED is costly and disruptive. However, most retrofit projects are typically completed overnight, meaning minimal disturbance to business operations. What’s more, the initial financial outlay is often minimal as the project can be spread across as many stages as required. For example, larger venues typically choose to roll out the first phase of their retrofit in the areas of highest energy consumption, and then the savings from this are used to fund the next phase(s). This provides an affordable means of investment, without the high upfront costs.

For those still sitting on the fence, it is also worth noting that as part of the EU’s light bulb phase out initiative, many traditional bulbs are due to become obsolete soon, meaning there’s no time like the present to upgrade to LED lighting.

Switching to LEDs does not need to cause a hassle nor cost a fortune, but it does need careful consideration. Business owners and decision makers should seek advice from experienced lighting experts who can properly highlight the benefits of LED technology without compromising brand consistency. For further advice, please contact us today.