The LED Lightbulbs That Decorators Swear By For Warm And Cozy Ambiance

For those of us unlearned in the art and science of lightbulb selection, knowing where to start can be confounding.
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Lighting can make or break the overall feel of a room. You wouldn’t put the piercingly bright fluorescents from your office in your bedroom; the vibe’s not right. But for those of us unlearned in the art and science of lightbulb selection, knowing where to start can be confounding. I know the kind of ambiance I want to set in my home, but I don’t quite know how to go about achieving it.

According to Jenna Yankun McRorie, co-founder and creative director at Fitzwater Interiors, lightbulb hues can directly dictate how your space feels. “White hues and daylight hues can energize you, while soft and warm hues can relax your mind and body,” she told HuffPost. If it’s a cozy setting you’re after, she recommended soft white and warm white bulbs. Those with a low wattage or dimmers can even feel like candlelight.

Now that ultra-bright LED lights have replaced softer incandescent lighting, it can be tough to find the right hues, said Natalie Rebuck, interior designer at Re:Design Architects. “I lean more to LED bulbs that imitate daylight — especially in kitchens and bathrooms,” she said.

If your goal is to create a soft, dreamy feeling in a room, both of our experts recommend choosing non-overhead lighting options. McRorie pointed out that “overhead lights tend to be more for task areas, like the kitchen or hallway, or for highlighting specific areas of a room.” If you’re working primarily with overheads, she recommends putting them on dimmers so you can lower the light levels as needed, which creates a cozier and more dimly lit space. “Lamps and sconces are great for creating a warm ambiance,” she said, especially when paired with the right bulb and light level.

Similarly, Rebuck prefers to use overhead recessed LED puck lights during the day and then shift to a table lamp, pendant or chandelier fixture in the evenings to soften the overall atmosphere of a room.

Below, we’ve rounded up a list of soft, ambient LED lightbulbs recommended by our experts, along with a couple of editor’s picks based on their guidance and some incandescent options for any diehards out there. Pick up a few to infuse your home with an enticing and welcoming glow.

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change. The experts consulted for this story do not necessarily endorse the products ahead unless otherwise noted.

Amazon Basics dimmable bulbs six-pack
When it comes to LED lights, interior designer Jenna Yankun McRorie at Fitzwater Interiors recommends "sticking to a low wattage and again staying in the soft white and warm white area — choosing an option that’s opaque rather than clear." This six-pack of simple 40 watt LED lightbulbs are available in an opaque soft white or a clear daylight hue, but you'll want to stick to the opaque soft white for the gentle glow that McRorie is talking about.
KarlunKoy half-chrome lightbulb two-pack
"Another way to create a glow is to select bulbs that are half painted," Rebuck noted. These dimmable LED globe-shaped bulbs are as decorative and aesthetically pleasing as they are able to cast a beautiful, subtle glow. They come in packs of two and are equivalent to 60 watts.
KarlunKoy Half Chrome LED lightbulbs five-pack
In a similar vein, Rebuck recommended these dimmable half-dark grey-tipped bulbs. "This can really give a lovely soft glow," she told HuffPost. They're much less harsh or bright than traditional Edison bulbs and are a great option who want to get that soft, warm and mellow vibe without going full Edison. They come in packs of five and are the equivalent to about 60 watts.
CB2 spiral filament lightbulb
When it comes to lighting with exposed bulbs, McRorie is partial to the Edison bulb style with a low wattage of 60 or 40 watts, like this retro-inspired globe spiral filament lightbulb. This editor's pick (based on McRorie's guidance) has a lovely vintage shape and emits 40 watts of light, ideal for a soft, romantic atmosphere. This is one incandescent option that we couldn't resist including.
Ascher E12 Candelabra LED lightbulbs five-pack
If you're going the LED route, Rebuck recommended this five-pack of Ascher lightbulbs. You can buy them in one of three different hues to customize your glow. They have a standard American E12 candelabra screw base that is easy to install and compatible with most common lamps and chandeliers. They emit 60 watts of light.
Basics Hardware Edison lightbulb six-pack
If you want to take McRorie's advice and get an Edison bulb but want a brighter light, then these 60-watt dimmable bulbs will make you feel like you stepped back in time. These editor's pick bulbs from Basics Hardware — also an incandescent option— have a gentle amber hue that captures the softness of an Edison while still being functional.
12-pack vintage 7W ST58 LED Edison lightbulbs
Available in three hues and recommended by Rebuck, this 12-pack of Edison bulbs is ideal for anyone who wants that soft Edison-bulb aesthetic but requires a bit more bright light. These soft, warm white bulbs are a great replacement for more common 60-watt bulbs. They split the difference really nicely between the retro charm of an Edison and the efficacy of a traditional bulb.
Philips LED flicker-free frosted dimmable A19 lightbulb four-pack
Rebuck recommends using these frosted lights in a lamp setting in higher-traffic areas that require a bit more light, like kitchens and bathrooms. Each provides ample brightness while emitting a cozy glow that doesn't feel too aggressive. They come in two hues at 60 watts each.

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