Monday, August 1, 2016

Color temperature: What does it look like?

In previous posts, we’ve explored how the color temperature of lighting may affect your health (see LED Lighting and Your Health and Feeling Blue? Don’t Be SAD). But you may be wondering just what various color temperatures look like. Let’s do a comparison.

Warm it up!
2000-3000K - Warm white; gives an orange-yellow cast. 

Use for: 
  • Bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Fine dining
  • Ambient lighting
  • Decorative outdoor lighting

Cool blue.
3100 to 4500K - Neutral white or slight blue tint that increases contrast.

Use for:
  • Basements
  • Garages
  • Bathrooms
  • Fast food restaurants
  • Task lighting


4500K and up - Blue-white light that mimics daylight.

Use for:
  • Display areas
  • Security lighting
  • Garages
  • Task lighting


Color temperature is measured on the Kelvin scale, which ranges from 1000 to 10,000. Most light bulbs list a Kelvin value from 2000 to 6500, a number that indicates its correlated color temperature (CCT).

Bulb packaging may also list a color rendering index (CRI) value from one to 100. This number indicates how accurately the bulb creates the color temperature listed. The higher the CRI, the more accurate the color.

LEDs offer a full range of color temperature options. Most people prefer to have “warm” temperatures in their homes – a throwback to our days before a campfire, perhaps? Incandescent bulbs also tended to give off warm light, so it’s what we’re used to.

But cooler, blue lights serve a purpose as well. They keep you alert, which can be of great value for task lighting or in places where people need to pay careful attention (think air traffic controllers, 911 centers, and fine needlework).

So how to choose the best bulb? Consider what you’ll be doing in the space to be lighted. Sleeping or entertaining? Go warm. Replacing a motion detector bulb? Think cool. And if you can’t decide, go for daylight!

Check out our clearance items! We offer free shipping on orders of $75 or more now through December 31, 2016. Don’t miss out! 

Photos courtesy of Marcie Fry


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