All Birch & Willow lamps and luminaries are designed to use medium base light bulbs, except the Twinkle pendant designed to use candelabra bulbs. There is a label on each lamp or luminary indicating the recommended maximum wattage. The recommended maximum wattage is based on the Underwriter Laboratory (UL) Guidelines.
Technological advances in lighting are producing better and better energy efficient options to incandescent bulbs. Household applications for LEDs are increasing and prices are decreasing. The quality of compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) is increasing so CFLs are suitable for more uses. We recommend the use of incandescent or LED bulbs to create the most wonderful sparkles and shadows.
A wide variety of incandescent light bulbs are available. Light bulb characteristics include shape, color, warmth or coolness, surface quality as well as standard or energy efficiency. The type of light bulb used will effect the color of the paper and influence the quality of the shadows generated by the lamp or luminary.
We hope that our quick reference page provides enough information for you to learn about the possibilities of creating the most beautiful light and shadows with your Birch & Willow lighting fixture. Please contact us if your question is not addressed.
How is the maximum wattage determined for a Birch & Willow lighting fixture?
At Birch & Willow, we adhere to Underwriter Laboratory (UL) safety guidelines. Based on UL Guidelines, the maximum recommended wattage for a lamp shade is primarily a function of three things: the top opening, bottom opening, and slope of the lamp shade. See illustrations below.
small space, low wattage
medium wattage75 watts
large space, high wattage
The greater, or more acute, the slope of the shade or fixture, the lower the maximum wattage recommended. A lampshade or fixture with a smaller slope or straighter sides can accommodate a higher wattage bulb. We use these guidelines in designing pendants and sconces.
How do different types of bulbs effect my Birch & Willow lighting fixture?
We design all our fixtures to optimize the quality of light emitted and shadows cast by the woven fixtures. Creating beauty, whimsy and delight are priorities. We consider the effect of higher and lower wattage bulbs on the appearance of each Birch & Willow design. In some cases, we may recommend using a lower wattage than specified by UL standards to enhance the quality of light and shadow. In most applications we recommend clear bulbs. Clear bulbs are brighter somewhat off setting the use of lower wattage bulbs.
Ideally, the light source feels organic. Birch & Willow fixtures created with vines are designed to leak light through the weaving. This intentional light leaking will filter through the vines, sparkle and throw shadows across walls and the ceiling. Fixtures created with paper are designed to have a still evenly diffused light.
Frosted or Clear Bulbs
Incandescent, LED and CFL light bulbs are available with frosted or coated inside surfaces. Frosted or coated bulbs project an even soft light available in a wide color spectrum most commonly noted as a range between warm and cool. The frosting or coating eliminates glare, minimizes shadows and slightly reduces the effective light output of the bulb.
Incandescent and LED light bulbs are also available with uncoated or clear surfaces. Clear bulbs create the sharpest light that sparkles and generates more shadowing. Clear bulbs may create undesirable spotting and shadows in diffusing fixtures made with paper.
We recommend using clear bulbs in woven fixtures (i.e., Roost Pendant, Thicket Sconce) to enhance the sparkle and shadow patterns. We recommend frosted or coated bulbs in paper fixtures (i.e., Cocoon Sconces, Bower Sconces) to enhance the diffusing qualities of the paper.
Frosted or Coated Bulbs for Paper Fixtures
When you buy a coated or frosted bulb, you will need to select the “color” or “color temperature” bulb most effective for the setting. All light bulbs are available in a wide range of color temperatures. The higher the color temperature of the bulb, the cooler the color quality of light. Conversely, lower color temperatures create warm color generating bulbs.
Light bulb packaging is marked by either the light color (i.e., warm light) or the color temperature (measured in kelvin and written as i.e. 2800K). Warm white is at the yellow end of the color spectrum. Daylight is at the blue end of the color spectrum. So, warm white will appear much “warmer” than daylight which will appear “cooler” or bluish white.
Soft Pink = 2600K
Warm White = 3000K
Cool White = 4100K
Daylight = 6500K
To illustrate the effect of different color temperature bulbs, we photographed the same Cocoon Sconce illuminated by four different frosted or coated bulbs.
Notice how the color of the paper and cast of light differs with each bulb selection. Click on an image to enlarge.
Clear Bulbs for Woven Fixtures
We recommend clear and iridescent bulbs for all woven Birch & Willow sconces and pendants. A Roost Pendant shown below was photographed four times. Each image shows the pendant illuminated with a difference light bulb.
Notice how the look or sparkle of the light varies with each bulb selection. More noticeably, is the effect of the bulb type on the shadows produced by the light leaks.
Click on an image to enlarge.
Do you use compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs in Birch & Willow sconces and pendants?
Yes. We encourage our customers to use CFL bulbs over incandescent bulbs whenever possible. They are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, and have a considerably longer life of 8,000 - 10,000 hours. CFL bulbs are available in a range of colors from 2800K - 6500K. Three-way and dimmable (25W+) CFL bulbs are also available.
The quality of light generated by CFL bulbs is considerably different than the quality of light emitted by incandescent bulbs (see section: Bulb Color above). We recommend using incandescent or LED bulbs in woven fixtures (i.e., Roost Pendant, Thicket Sconce) where sparkle is particularly important. We recommend CFL bulbs specifically for the Pod Pendant, Bower Sconce and Cocoon Sconce made with paper to diffuse the light source.
There is a conversion chart below showing CFL bulbs and incandescent bulb equivalents.