I Finally Found the Best LED Lightbulbs for The Bedroom

published Jun 23, 2023
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Dylan Odbert Los Angeles Midcentury Modern House Tour - Bedroom

I have a confession. I am an energy-saving, waste-reducing zealot, but I resisted the switch to LED lightbulbs for a long time. I knew LEDs were the best choice for the planet and my electric bill, but I loved my incandescent bulbs fiercely. My reluctance to make the switch stemmed from my experiences with energy-saving bulbs, including the dreaded compact-fluorescent and some early LED bulbs, which left me convinced a good low-energy bulb didn’t exist.

However, it’s my job to write about homes, and I’ve found my niche writing about the intersection of home design and sustainability. Eco experts love to tout the wonders of LED bulbs, and they came up in my reporting so often that I finally started asking the pros, “How could I get that warm, lovely glow of an incandescent in an LED bulb?”

First, I learned that the labeling of watt equivalents is pretty unhelpful because it doesn’t tell you anything about the color temperature of the light. I also discovered I should avoid anything labeled “daylight,” which was a surprise. Apparently, what I interpreted to mean “natural” actually meant, a cooler, blue-ish toned light with a color temperature between 5000 and 6000 Kelvin. Instead, the experts said that I needed to look for “soft white” with a warmer temperature of about 2500 to 2700 Kelvin. However, even that tip failed me when I discovered not all LEDs are dimmable, which is not such a big deal in my kitchen but is a dealbreaker in the bedroom, where I need calming light that I can adjust to precisely the level I desire.

Next, I moved from asking the pros for bulb specs to zeroing in on their specific product picks. One person suggested that if I wanted warmth, I should look to GE’s Amber Glass Candle Light bulbs. At 2200K, those turned out to be a little too warm for bedside reading, but I put them in my entryway where their decidedly amber glow lends ambiance but doesn’t hinder tasks. 

That bulb purchase led me to my dream LEDs last year though: GE’s Relax, which you can see above. These white LED, 60 watt equivalent bulbs turned out to be the perfect lighting for my bedroom because they are soft and not too cool — but still bright enough for reading — and are also dimmable. They also last forever (up to 13 years, according to GE’s website). So I won’t have to replace them anytime soon, and so far, so good.

One last thing: If your bedroom lights aren’t on a dimmer yet, they should be! A basic plug-in dimmer switch will let you dim your existing lamps for about $15 to $20 a pop. Just be sure to buy one that is compatible with your new LED bulbs!

This post originally published on Apartment Therapy. Read it there: I Finally Found the Best Bedroom LED Lightbulbs, and I’m Letting You in on My Secret