Light your apartment

Is your apartment darker than Karl Rove's soul? Here's what you need to know to make everything illuminated.

Energy-efficient lightbulbs are great—they last 16 times longer than regular ones and can save you up to 20 percent on electric bills—but how do you pick one? “Most people use those spiral-shaped bulbs because they’re always on display at the supermarket, but they’re not necessarily right for you,” says David Brooks, owner of Just Bulbs (220 E 60th St between Second and Third Aves, 212-888-5707). There are two things to look for, explains Brooks:

1. Shape
Make sure your replacement bulbs are the same shape as the orginal. “If it’s the wrong shape, all the light will shine inside the fixture instead of into the room,” warns Brooks.

2. Color
“Light comes in many shades of white,” Brooks says. “Soft white is the most common, but it has a yellow tint to it, which dulls the look of your fabrics and has been proven to make you tired.” The shades, which range from reds to blues, are measured by color temperature on the Kelvin scale; the higher the number, the bluer and fresher things look when bathed in its light. Instead, Brooks recommends two kinds:

* Florida Sunshine (3500K) by Westinghouse (starts at $6.95)
“It’s got a whitish tint to it and it highlights vibrant reds, greens and even beiges that are in your decor. Plus Westinghouse comes with a guarantee to replace your bulb if it burns out early.”

* Full Spectrum (5500K) by Chromalux (starts at $7)
“This is on the bluer side and is comparable to the sunlight at 10am. Plus, studies find that it can boost your mood.”

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