How important is color temperature?
Light appearance is measured in temperature using the Kelvin scale. Unlike the weather outdoors lower color temperatures (2700K) indicate ‘warmer’ colors of orange and yellow, and higher color temperatures (6500K) indicate cooler colors like blue and white.
Most bulbs will advertise color temperature on the package. This will tell you how warm or cool the color of the light is.
- 2700K – 3000K – This is the warm or soft white range, best suited for areas in the home where you want to relax or entertain.
- 3500K – 4500K – This is more a neutral white light range, giving a balance between warm and soft color light.
- Over 5000K – Generally referred to as daylight and best suited for use in offices, workshops, bathrooms or other areas where high detail visibility is important. It can also help energize you in the morning.
Some people will also just have a preference for a certain color temperature or mood. You may even notice a color temperature will look better on your particular skin tone. The good news is there are options for everyone.
There are also bulbs and light fixtures that adjust color temperature so you can adjust the light to fit your mood or tasks through out the day for even more variety.
What is color temperature?
- Color temperature is a way to describe the light appearance provided by a light bulb (lamp). It is measured in degrees of Kelvin (K) on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000.
- Typically, commercial and residential lighting application Kelvin temperatures fall somewhere on a scale from 2000K to 6500K.
- A light bulb’s (lamp’s) color temperature lets us know what the look and feel of the light produced will be.
- The color temperature of a light bulb (lamp) is assigned using the basis of correlated color temperature (CCT).
- For example, if you heat up a metal object, the object appears to glow. Depending on the Kelvin temperature that the metal object is being heated at, the glow will be various colors, such as orange, yellow or blue. The color temperature of light bulbs (lamps) is meant to replicate the Kelvin temperature of the metal object.
Color Temperatures of Light Bulbs
Selecting the right light bulb and fixture for your application requires careful consideration of its Kelvin temperature. The color temperature can also help guide you in determining which fixture is right for each room. Whether you need an ambient source of light or one for highly-focused task lighting, keep in mind the following Kelvin ranges:
- Less than 2000K: gives off a dim glow of light, similar to what you might find from candlelight; best for low light areas where ambient illumination is welcomed
- 2000K-3000K: gives off a soft white glow, often yellow in appearance; best for living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and outdoor spaces
- 3100K-4500K: gives off a bright amount of white light; best for kitchens, offices, work spaces and vanities where task lighting is needed
- 4600K-6500K: gives off a bright amount of blue-white light, similar to that of daylight; best for display areas and work environments where very bright illumination is needed
- 6500K and up: gives off a bright bluish hue of light, often found in commercial locations; best for bright task lighting