Color Temperature Matters

Color Temperature Matters

This is our third article pertaining to choosing the perfect bulb for your lamp. First we discussed bulb brightness, and last week we talked about how much electricity your bulbs use. Today, we discuss color temperature.

Perhaps the most overlooked and misunderstood aspect of in-home lighting is color temperature. Have you ever noticed that some bulbs give off a soft, almost yellow light, while others are much whiter, often even bordering on blue? This all comes down to color temperature, and it can drastically affect the look of your lamp, lampshade or living space.

Color temperature is a way to describe the light appearance provided by a light bulb. It is measured in degrees of Kelvin (K) on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000. Most bulbs you will purchase for your home will fit into one of three categories: Soft or Warm White (2000K-3000K), Cool White (3100K-4500K), or Daylight (5000K-6500K).

One of the biggest mistakes you will see in home lighting is the placement of two drastically different color temperature bulbs in the same living area. Often you will see this in fluorescent tube fixtures in offices or retail shops where bulbs are replaced with what is cheapest or most readily available. This can be distracting or even uncomfortable to the eye.

While certain living spaces such as bedrooms or living rooms often utilize warmer bulbs, other areas such as kitchens or home offices are sometimes lit with a cooler temperature between 3000K and 5000K. It is important to consider, however, whether the lighting in the two rooms overlaps, particularly in open concept designs.

Don’t forget that the bright white shade you bought and love so much will only be as white as the bulb behind it. Warmer bulbs will give a softer, more yellow look to your shade, while only daylight bulbs will keep the fabric color true to what is seen when unlit.