A styled photo showing a selection of Zico light bulbs, some in boxes, some out, laid out on a brightly coloured indian quilt. Also featuring is one of our Iki white ceramic lamp bases and an 'Indian Faces' glass painting.

Have you had a light bulb moment?

LED light bulb

I am sure you have…..in fact, I think we all must have! The vast array of light bulb options can be confusing for anyone! As there have been so many changes in the world of light bulbs in recent years, we thought it may be helpful to try to explain what’s watt. Sorry about the pun!

I am not sure what Thomas Edison would have thought about the explosion of different types of electric lightbulb that are available now when he first invented the incandescent bulb in 1879. The last 150 years has brought about amazing advances in lighting technology. Following the removal of incandescent bulbs, there are three main types of regular light bulbs: CFLs (compact fluorescent lamp), Halogen and LED. Both CFLs and Halogen are due to be phased out shortly and are generally less energy efficient so here we are concentrating on LEDs.

There is no question that LEDs are far more energy efficient (up to 90%) than a traditional incandescent. Whilst more expensive to buy, they can last up to 25 years so in the long term they will cost you - and the earth much less. An incandescent bulb has an average lifespan of 1,200 hours, a CFL bulb an average of 8,000hrs. Neither of which can compare to the approximate 25,000hrs of a LED light bulb. In addition, the technology around LED's has brought huge improvements on the quality of light produced so no longer do you have to have to put up with the ‘bluish’ tinge that the original LED bulb was known for.

Nought and Crosses Lampshade close up shown lit with a Zico LED bulb on a dark grey background

When choosing a bulb for your lamp, you first need to ensure you get the correct fitting or bulb cap. There are two main types of fitting: Bayonet Cap and Edison Screw. The cap is attached to the bulb and acts as a bridge between the bulb and the power supply.

Both types of bulb cap have different sizes. For the Bayonet Cap the sizes are B22 (Bayonet Cap) and B15 (Small Bayonet Cap) and for the Edison Screw Cap the most popular sizes are E14 (Small Edison Screw Cap or SES) and E27.

Next, you need to work out the brightness and colour that the bulb will give. The brightness is measured in Lumens and the colour is measured on the Kelvin Scale.

In the past a higher wattage meant a brighter bulb and therefore use of more power, but now with new technology you can produce the same amount of light using much less energy. This is where we now use lumens to measure brightness. Here is a table which compares the old wattage given off by incandescent bulbs to the new lumens of LED.



 Just as a rough guide, we would suggest around 400 lumens is suitable for a bed-side light - and you should probably aim for between 1500 and 3000 lumens in total for an average sized living room.

Next is the all important  colour of the bulb, and for this we use the Kelvin Scale. An old Incandescent bulb is the equivalent of 2,700k on the Kelvin scale. Candle light is about 1,600k on the Kelvin scale and 5,000k is equivalent to the mid-day sun. Basically, the lower the number on the Kelvin scale the warmer the light and the higher the number, the colder and more sterile the light.

When choosing a bulb for one of our lampshades we tend to prefer 2200k as a slightly softer, warmer light but 2700k is a very good standard - so it’s really up to you and your needs.

There are also a number of alternative shapes and sizes when it comes to choosing a light bulb - honestly - who would have thought it was so complicated to choose something as simple as a light bulb!

General all purpose

Widely used

Table lamps

Decorative uses

Clip-on wall lights


Slightly smaller than GLS

Space saving

Very small 

for tight squeezes

 To conclude, it is down to personal taste and also the use of the light, but generally we feel that our go to preference for our lampshades would be a 240 lumens, 2200K LED light bulb. We have recently been using a warm tinted version of this and think it gives off a lovely ambient light. However, if you intend to read by your light, you will probably need something a little brighter.

So - it really does make sense on every front to choose LED bulbs - most importantly, in the face of climate change and the increasing urgency to look after our planet, we need to think about every tiny way we can waste less energy. The brilliant thing is, they also look better - so don’t be confused any more, try and switch to LED wherever you can.

We have partnered with Zico Lighting and are now stocking a range of their lightbulbs. So why not make your life easier and greener and choose the perfect bulb to partner your lampshade, fitting or base?

Noughts and Crosses lampshade shown on the 'Iki' white ceramic lamp base with the collections of Zico light bulbs presented below
Interested in the products featured in this blog post? Find them here:
Zico Light Bulbs
Noughts and Crosses Silk Lampshade
Iki Lamp Base
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