Clothes Closet LED Lighting Comparison

Do you remember the post I wrote about how I organize my closet? In it, I mentioned how it was dark and windowless and the closet lighting made everything look a bit yellow?

Look at the difference a lightbulb can make in your clothes closet

Well, a reader gave me the best solution to easily fix it. It truly was a “Lightbulb Moment” for me when I read the comment from Anne Hicks, who wrote, “Try a daylight cfl bulb.”

After reading her comments, it was one of those times when you slap yourself on the head and say, “Now why didn’t I think of that?”  I have to thank Anne for pointing me in the right direction.

How to make your clothes look better

I went out and about to search and find a few new bulbs and came home with a 100 watt soft white LED along with a 100 watt daylight LED bulb from Cree. If you are not familiar with Cree LED’s, they are a bit more expensive, but will last 25 times longer and use a fraction of the energy than an incandescent.

They also don’t look funky, but like a normal light bulb.

I have never been a fan of daylight bulbs in my decor. I prefer soft white lightbulbs but wanted to see how I would feel about it in my closet. As you can see from the first photo in this post, it made a huge difference. 

Experiment with different types and wattages of lightbulbs to get the best lighting for your clothes closet

Here is how the soft white LED bulb looked. Better, but still a bit too warm to show the true colors of my clothes when I turn on the light in search of something to wear.

Cree Light Bulb

I liked the 100 watt daylight LED bulb much better, but it was a bit too bright. I also read on the Cree Bulb package that when using LED bulbs you should not use a “globe-like” cover. The bulbs need air.

Hmmmmm…. I don’t like the look of an exposed bulb even if it is in my closet, so I went out again and bought a 60 watt daylight LED bulb to see what it would look like, but it was not bright enough.

Clothes closet decorating idea

After this, I started to experiment to come up with a way to use the 100 daylight LED, but find a way to shade it so it would not be exposed and too bright in my closet while still open to get air.  I ended up using a small lampshade, screw-on bulb holder and finial.

How to get the right light in a closet so you can see the true colors of your clothes

It is hard to see the details of shade in this photo, but the shade is placed on the bulb upside down.  The bulb holder attached with the finial is attached to the bulb.

Since the shade is on upside down, the top of the shade is on the underside so you see the top and finial when you look up at the light. I like that the bulb is not exposed now and looks like a finished fixture with a shiny gold finial.

A simple solution for my dark closet.  Now everything looks true to color and is not too bright or glaring. Thanks Anne for giving me a true “lightbulb moment.”

The pink boxes along the top shelf in the closet are from IKEA, I made the labels on them myself.

Free printable labels to download and use to label boxes, bins, and baskets around your home. In My Own Style

You can download the free printable to make them yourself by heading over to this post: Decorative Free Printables For Organizing Boxes, Baskets, and More

Try this lighting test to see which one makes your clothes look their true colors, not yellow!

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  1. Where did you get the shade?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      I think I got the shade at Lowes. They sell a lot of basic styles.

  2. Love this closet. Great work. Where did you find the pink boxes?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Rose – The pink boxes are from IKEA.

  3. I just did this in my closet. I love it! Thanks for the idea. The only issue I had was finding a finish large enough so I just used a little cross bar between the finish and the round metal piece of the shade. Works great.

  4. Farris Huff says:

    What a wonderful and ingenious way to set the shade up.

  5. Sally Christiansen says:

    I have read about the Cree Bulbs and have wanted to try them. I really like how they look compared to the spiral bulbs. I would love to try them in the bathroom as well as the closet. Thanks for the chance to win.

  6. What a difference the right bulbs can make! We’d love to try LED bulbs. Thanks for having the giveaway!

  7. I love my Cree LED bulbs. I bought a few when you blogged about them previously and they are wonderful. Quite a difference in your closet!

  8. Wonder how that would be in a bathroom; especially when applying makeup.

  9. Love the difference a good light bulb can make in a home. Thanks for the giving us the opportunity to win one.

  10. I too have a closet light problem! I NEED those bulbs! Am ready to clean it out and organize it too. You inspire me.

  11. Wow what a difference? I also like how you handled the bare bulb issue. I like the looks of the Cree bulbs too. Not those swirly things. I have lots of places I could use some good lighting. Will have to see who carries them and get some. Hope I win the gift certificate, hubby frowns on throwing anything away that works!

  12. Wow! What a difference the lighting can make, even in a closet! I usually just replace my light bulbs without giving it much thought. Not anymore! Great idea with the lampshade as well.

  13. OH, yes, PLEASE! I’d love me some LED bulbs. Thanks for the lighting tip and Thank your for blogging/sharing all of your wonderful ideas

  14. I would love to test a few of these in my basement, especially when it comes to home showings. I wonder if you’ll try these in other rooms as you prepare your house for showings.

  15. Jo @ Let's Face the Music says:

    I would like to try a package of these bulbs. Sounds like once we get them we’ll rarely change them. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  16. Michele D says:

    i love daylight bulbs. I hate the gloom of winter and the daylight bulbs give me hope.

  17. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine til Jesus comes. Yeah! Made me think of this little song. Thank you!

  18. Anne Hicks says:

    Diane, congrats on your closet lightbulb moment. Your closet looks more mistaking navy blue anything for black. Since my last post to you I have tried a couple of Cree LED bulbs in my family room lamps and I love them. Consider this CFL girl converted to Cree. Thanks again for your In My Own Style blog. I so enjoy reading it. Good luck with your house hunt!

  19. It is almost like I could have had a V-8 moment! I use the daylight bulbs in rooms that are really dark in the winter but never thought to put one in my closet! I need to take care of that! The lampshade is a great idea and will have to do that too, since I have a boring globe in my closet. Thanks again!

  20. What a difference! LOVE the new light and the clever way to cover it. Thanks for the post!

  21. Diane, wherever did you find that screw-on bulb holder that will take a finial? I’ve never seen one of those. I could use that little piece of hardware so many places in my house, since I’ve changed out most of my lampshades to drum shape and they all have the uno fitters, rather than the old style harp fitters that accept finials. I have an abundance of beautiful finials and they have no place to go!
    Thanks in advance.

  22. Josephine C. says:

    Thanks Diane for another great reminder to replace our closet bulb as well. I bought CREE’s 75w soft white for our closet a month ago and hadn’t replaced it yet…good thing since I’ll be exchanging it now for their Daylight 100W instead! Ahh, procrastination pays off sometimes! Based on your last post on CREE lightning I went ahead and replaced all the recessed bulbs we had in our dim den with CREE Daylight bulbs and what a difference! Now I’m ready to start sorting through our never ending boxes of items we’ve had throughout our four moves & two kids in the last 8 years. Next on my list…the closet! Thanks again.

  23. Theresa Wang says:

    Have to try this since the light fixture in my closet fell down and I have an exposed bulb.

  24. I love the shade solution you came up with!

  25. Emilie Ruiz says:

    I’d love to win! What a difference it truly makes!

  26. Lisa Squier says:

    One day after shopping at Crate and Barrel I was inspired to repaint miles of woodwork in our home “Extra White” by SW. It took months. I was disappointed when I found that the lighting all over my home still cast a bit of a yellowish color on my brightly painted woodwork. Ahhh! I haven’t found the right lights yet to give me the look I’m going for…bright and white. Your post inspired me to check out CREE lighting. Thank you! ):

  27. Like you, I like soft light but it sometimes leaves the area lacking the brightness needed. Would love to try out different bulbs!

  28. Therese Wescott says:

    Wow! My closet could sure use that light bulb, not to mention a few other places in the house! Thanks for the opportunity.

  29. I replaced the bulbs above my bathroom mirror with daylight LEDs for makeup application. I love them!

  30. Well duh! I love Cree LED bulbs and have them all over my house but I never thought to put them in my closets. What a fabulous suggestion.

  31. Charlene Lee says:

    I love the new light in your closet. I have the same problem as you did. I would love to win!!

  32. Pam Clark says:

    I’ve been replacing my old bulbs with Cree, slowly, but surely. Next up is the guest room.

  33. Mary grace says:

    This would be perfect for our new home!

  34. Great idea I would love to try!

  35. I love learning about new products that makes our lives easier – thanks for the great info!

  36. Cathy Wilson says:

    I’m going to get one for my bedroom tomorrow!

  37. I love LED bulbs. I have them just about everywhere, even in closed globe fixtures and haven’t had a problem with one yet. I guess it shortens the life of the bulb because the heat sink can’t disperse heat in a closed fixture but it’s been almost 4 years and no issues yet. Better than those vile CFL’s any day!

  38. Debbie Stanley says:

    I have the same issue in our closet. Thank you for sharing a solution.

  39. I would love for my closet to be a little brighter with these awesome light bulbs!

  40. I’ve never hear of bulbs like this I can’t wait to try them out in my house!

  41. Would love to try some Cree bulbs! Thanks for the chance!

  42. Never heard of Cree bulbs til now. Thanks for doing all the ” leg work” makes it so much easier for the rest of us. And a brilliant way to use the shade. (Does finial and bulb holder hurt bulb in any way?

  43. Melody Wright says:

    I too have a very dark closet with no windows and think I need to get some of those light bulbs. It looks like it made such a difference!

  44. Patricia Pfeiffer says:

    The Cree bulbs really make a difference. I would love to win some!

  45. Sharon Campbell says:

    Just discovered Cree brand and really like it. Need more bulbs!

  46. Elaine Chick says:

    I would like to try a variety of types and colors of new bulbs in various applications in my home. I think the color of the bulbs can make a lot of difference in the mood of the room.

  47. I may need to try these bulbs in my closet! It’s not too bright in there.

  48. What great ideas the bulb and the shade!….my closet can certainly use this!

  49. I’d love to win the lightbulbs! Thanks for the giveaway, Diane.

  50. Beth Garland says:

    I can’t wait to try this in my closet. It is also very dark! Hope I win!

  51. Marianne Dolmyer says:

    I would love some of these! Love the way you can see your clothes.

  52. Elizabeth G says:

    Great tip from your reader to try this in a closet! I’d love to change out a few bulbs in my house to see the difference. Thanks!

  53. Brenda Lee says:

    Definitely need to try these! Do they produce a lot of heat? Thanks for the opportunity to win some. Your closet looks great and such a good idea about the lamp shade!

  54. Your closet looks great…it’s amazing what a difference a lightbulb can make!

  55. Sally Williamson says:

    Really need these LED bulbs. My closet is so dark and dreary I can’t find anything!

  56. I had never heard of Cree lightbulbs, but would love to see if they make that big a difference in my closets.

  57. If daylight is too harsh—and I agree, it certainly can be—and soft white is too yellow, you should try cool white, which is between the two. Lowe’s has a display showing how the same room looks with soft white, cool white, and daylight bulbs so you can see the difference. Our aging eyeballs prefer the cool white in most fixture simply because it seems brighter than soft white but our reading lamps are daylight.

  58. Have never tried Cree bulbs so would love to try them!

  59. Wow! I am amazed at the difference! I will have to get these.

  60. Kathy Barte says:


    We just put the house on the market and want the house to look even better with the Cree light bulbs!

  61. Justin Crockett says:

    Cree makes a great bulb!!!

  62. What a difference! I know what I’ll be doing soon :)

  63. Everyone loves CREE bulbs!!!

  64. Can’t wait to try one of these!

  65. We switched out almost all our lights to the clean white LEDs since we put our house on the market. Cleaner bigger feeling. My husband is an electrical contractor so he gets good prices. BUT, we are replacing them with the old ones when/if we sell cause I’m taking them with us! ?

  66. Fritzy Dean says:

    I hope I win…but, thanks for the good information, either way!

  67. Wow!, I need these. My closet is very dark.

  68. I have LED undercabinet lighting, and it’s amazing. Would love to brighten up my walk-in closet with a daylight bulb!

  69. Heather C says:

    I use Cree light bulbs in bathroom, but I didn’t know there was a daylight bulb, will try in my closet

  70. What a huge difference lighting can make. Maybe this would help in telling the difference between black and blue. Thanks for the chance to win.

  71. Our Lowes has a light bulb display that shows the different “temperatures” of light. If you would like some photography nerd knowledge, google “Kelvin scale” and you will see a ton of images with different “white balances” like what is shown above. As a photographer, I knew all about this, but it’s crazy to see how much a HUGE difference that type of lighting chosen for a given space is.

  72. Chrystal Younger says:

    Love the lamp shade idea!

  73. Kathy Weisner says:

    Not only is this the solution for my small dark closet but I think it would be the answer in my sewing room as well. And in my favorite reading lamp. The kitchen would benefit. And do they work in outside lights?

  74. Not only am I trying this light bulb, I’m trying the fixture shade also! You have the most wonderful ideas.

  75. I had never heard of Cree, but the difference in remarkable! And I had never thought to put a lampshade on upside down!

  76. Stephanie Thomson says:

    I love the look of the “daylight” from the Cree Bulb in your closet! It’s nice to know the led bulb is made so that it cools itself off; even though you cannot put it under a globe, your decision to use a lampshade is wonderful! What a great idea! The innovative designs of the new light bulbs is taking us to a new generation of lighting. I cannot wait to try it in my closets!

  77. What a difference! Now I am not happy with my current lighting and would love to try the Cree Led bulb.

  78. Karen Mercadante says:

    Oh my! What a difference! I’ve been wondering why my closet is such a dreary place. I’m definitely going to try the Cree daylight LED. And I love your shade idea! So excited to try this!

  79. What a difference! I never would have thought to change the bulb. Thank you for all of your great ideas and giveaways.

  80. I put an LED fixture from Ikea in our master closet and it is great light. Would love to try some more bulbs in other places.

  81. Barbara Fox says:

    We currently have a 4-bulb soft white, fluorescent fixture in our walk-in. I just went to see if I could tell how yellow-dull it looks. Sure enough, everything has a yellow cast. I took a few pieces of clothing into my studio to see the difference (LED multi spectrum bulbs which is similar to daylight) Big difference! Would love to try your idea in our walk-in closet. Love the shade idea too!

  82. When putting in a light fixture in a small one rod closet can you mount it on the facing wall or does it have to go on the ceiling? And would love to try the Crees.

  83. What a difference! Would love to try. Thanks for the giveaway.

  84. Beth Sharick says:

    I have to try these! The main area of my house does not get much light. At times it can even feel a little depressing. I try to decorate and paint with a lighter pallet but even that doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. These bulbs may be just the thing I need. Thanks for letting me know about them!

  85. Great solution to a common problem. I’ve got to check those Cree bulbs out. Thanks!

  86. WOW!!!! What a difference!!! We have changed some of our lighting to LEDs but had no idea what a vivid difference they make in ALL applications. I am going to try to replicate your closet application. I still have a florescent bulb in an old light fixture. I would LOVE to be able to do this with the CREE bulbs! Thank you for the opportunity to try!

  87. Wow! I have the exact same issue in my closet. I’ve never heard of Cree or “daylight” bulbs. Would love to give them a try!

    1. We own a small 1950’s house with four closets and none of them have lights but I would love to try the Cree bulbs in other places.

  88. We are converting our bulbs as they burn out, to Cree bulbs. What a difference….especially noticed the lack of heat from the 3-ways, compared to incandescents! Thanks for the opportunity! ;)

  89. We’ve done this too! We actually have very few incandescent bulbs in our house because they put off too much heat in the summer (living in the southwest….) We tried CFL’s but I hate them because of the lighting and the mercury. So I’ve been switching them over to LED’s as we can. I LOVE the shade idea, and will be copying it in several areas that had globe enclosures.

  90. I couldn’t believe a light bulb could make that much difference. Your clothes look entirely different colors under the different bulbs. Maybe that’s why I sometimes get to work and things that matched well at home look awful together!
    I’d also like to know where you got that bulb holder, as I’ve never seen one like that.

  91. I think lighting is a bit like your eye sight. You never really knew how bad you needed glasses until you put them on. I would love to see how much better my closets look with better lighting. Thanks again for great tips!!

  92. Great idea! I would love to try this in my closet as well!

  93. Robin McKibben says:

    I have always been a bit leery of the newer style bulbs as I have had the ones with a ceramic base and they look like they are burnt at the base, so I was afraid my house would catch fire! I’d be more than happy to try this style, I like the choices available and for the closet…WOW, I would be able to see all my clothes in their true colour and see what needs to be given away, purged as we say!

  94. I would love to try these! I can’t believe what a difference it made in your closet. I am not a fan of exposed bulbs; I like the lampshade idea :)

  95. I would love to try these in my dark hallway.

  96. I can’t believe what a difference there is between the 2 bulbs. I will definitely be trying the one you chose for my dark corners.

  97. Tracy Monnier says:

    I have mixed feelings about the LED’s but in this case it made a big difference. I, too, hope to be more organized like you someday.

  98. Michelle Powers says:

    I have the same problem in my closet. I LOVE this idea. Thanks for sharing and for the shade solution. This is a quick project that will make a huge difference. Now if I can just keep my closet as organized as yours. :)

  99. As I age things seem dimmer. I will have to implement this idea. I will certainly try this in my sewing area, it may be the boost I need.

  100. Lois Tipton says:

    Glad you solved your closet lighting…I have been replacing all the bulbs in my house with the Cree LED Daylight bulbs. I finally finished the downstairs and will now start on upstairs. Didn’t realize how many bulbs I have in my house…so I’ve been changing them one room at a time because of the cost. I love the Daylight because we have so many windows in every room it makes it feel as if the outside comes right into the room and no yellow tones. Had to change some of my lamp shades to white to make it work. We also put the Daylight bulbs in our flood lights outside and it is amazing how the light spreads over the yard and looks almost like “really” daylight. The Cree bulbs from Home Depot are the best. Tried others but wasn’t satisfied.

  101. Lighting is such a tricky thing and our closet too is way too dark. The florescent bulbs just don’t cut it. I look forward to trying the new LED option! Thanks for all your research and the great tips!

  102. Great idea! Where did you purchase the bulb holder?

  103. Truly a ah ha moment. I don’t gave a Home Depot near me, any place else I can buy these bulbs? Thanks!

  104. Lois Baltes says:

    Will try this for sure!!

  105. Wow! That is a HUGE difference in color in the closet! It’s incredible to see what a change of light bulb can do to change an entire room/closet.

  106. Teresa Lowry says:

    It’s like night and day the difference in the before and after! Brilliant! I can’t wait to try it myself. And I want to try to win the chance to try it free. I have several places in my home that can benefit from this bulb. Thank you for sharing.

  107. Such a ‘bright’ idea.

  108. We just moved and found that all the “canned” ceiling lights were so dingy and made every room look like a cave. We’ve been very slowly trying to buy LED bulbs for all of them because they make such a difference. We also have closets that you can’t find anything in, so I need to try these bulbs to see if we can’t “brighten” them up!

  109. Why didn’t I think of this before??? (well probably because I didn’t know these light bulbs existed!) I gotta go get one for my tiny walk-in closet. It always looks gloomy in there otherwise.

    Thanks so much for the post, Diane!

  110. Would love to give these bulbs a try! We had solar screens put on our house which are great to help keep the Texas sun out, but makes everything kind of.. gloomy!

  111. I need to get one of these daylight bulbs to put in my makeup/vanity closet! I really like the idea of the upside down lampshade too, as right now I just have the bare bulb in there.

  112. I’m in the middle of redoing our master closet, and I was never happy with the old lighting. This looks like a great idea for the new closet..

  113. Oh my goodness! I so need this. My family thinks I’m weird because I keep buying light bulbs and not liking the color/brightness. I have a stack of discarded bulbs. I need help!

  114. Julie Benson-Grant says:

    I did something similar to my closet. The only problem that I had was the brightness of the bulb early in the morning during fall and winter. To go from dark bedroom to such a bright light was too much shock that early in the morning! After just a few days of being momentarily blinded, I switched back. My closet is off the master bath which has great natural lighting, so I just hold it towards the closet/bathroom door.

  115. Very clever idea using the lamp shade. Would love to try the Cree Bulbs.

  116. I’m going to try this. I have a bare bulb now. Not so nice.

  117. I hope it makes my clothes fit better!

  118. Sharon Hoham says:

    Thank you so much! I constantly feel like I cannot see well enough to read or even knit with the old bulbs. Looking forward to trying these and as we are moving back to Laughlin, NV this is timely.

    1. Light is very important, the older I get. I definitely want to try these bulbs. Thanks.

  119. Susan Achnitz says:

    I face the same challenge with my closet, will definitely try this!

  120. Christy H says:

    I would love to win th Cree bulbs especially since LED bulbs are so energy wise.

  121. Would like to try this with my dark, windowless closet as well!

  122. Anne Marie says:

    This is just what I need – thanks for the information. My closet is so dark and dingy and needs some light.

  123. Who would have thought it? I love the true to color look. I’ll do that in my closet!

  124. Jaclyn Lauer says:

    Love your closet! The lighting makes a huge difference! I am going to try this on my windowless walk-in closet soon!

  125. Melissa Leach says:

    I would love the opportunity to try the Cree LED light bulbs. Thanks!

  126. sometimes it is the smallest things.

  127. Molly Windsor says:

    I have a hard time telling Black from dark Navy in my closet, this might be just what I need. Thank you so much.
    Enjoy you posts,