Q: Some lighting fixtures have a wattage limit. Is this true of fluorescent bulbs? If so, how do I equate the maximum allowable in fluorescent bulbs?

Q: Some lighting fixtures have a wattage limit. Is this true of fluorescent bulbs? If so, how do I equate the maximum allowable in fluorescent bulbs?

A: The wattage limit of a lamp or fixture applies no matter what kind of bulb you use. Watts measure how much electricity a bulb uses, not its brightness. Brightness is measured in lumens.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs — CFLs — use considerably less power than incandescent bulbs to produce the same amount of light, so you can use a much brighter fluorescent bulb in a lamp or fixture than you could an incandescent bulb. In other words, you could safely use a 39-watt CFL in a 60-watt fixture and get the same amount of light as a 150-watt incandescent bulb.

As incandescent light bulbs go out of production, we're going to have to get used to thinking in terms of lumens, not watts. A 60-watt incandescent bulb and a 15-watt CFL both produce about 900 lumens; a 100-watt incandescent bulb and a 29-watt CFL, about 1,750 lumens; and a 150-watt incandescent bulb and a 39-watt CFL, about 2,780 lumens.

A RUSTIC LIFE

If you can't cozy up to a fire in your own backwoods retreat, you can at least cozy up to Ralph Kylloe's "Rustic Elegance."

The book takes readers on a virtual tour of cabins designed by architect Larry Pearson. The term "cabin" might be a bit of a stretch, since some of the homes are sprawling lodges. But all share Pearson's rustic artistry, attention to detail and talent for designing homes that play off their surroundings.

All the homes emphasize comfort and incorporate natural elements generously, but their interior decor varies widely. Among the styles are old-world European, Arts and Crafts and even sleek contemporary.

"Rustic Elegance" is published by Gibbs Smith and sells for $60 in hardcover.