Blue, white, red, green, yellow, or gray? Choosing the right colour temperature for your lighting can be every bit as complicated as choosing the perfect colour for your walls. Fortunately, STANDARD has the answers to your questions: What do the technical terms mean? What effect does each colour have on you? What kind of lighting is best for each room?

Light colour and its effects

The terms warm and cool are used to describe sources of white light.

First, incandescent (or traditional) bulbs give off a warm white hue to create a relaxing, inviting atmosphere.
Cool white, on the other hand, is a bluish-white hue, similar to moonlight reflecting off snow. This type of lighting accentuates contrast while refreshing and invigorating the atmosphere of the room.

The third type of lighting creates the feeling of being near a window. This is called day lighting, and gives a room a bright, natural look.

Infographic - 3 colors of light

A colour for every room

Each room has its function, its own special atmosphere. The colour temperature of the lighting has to match these characteristics.

Blog - Color Temperatures - application

Warm white is a warm, soft hue, perfect for intimate locations such as the living room, the bedroom, and the library, or even a bar or a restaurant in the evening. In other words, for convivial settings that lend themselves to relaxation, reading a good book, or just enjoying good company.

Kitchens, warehouses, shops and public spaces require clear, precise lighting to enhance the quality of work and prevent accidents. Cool white is best for these locations.

Day lighting is designed to give the impression of sunlight on the inside and is ideal for offices, reception areas, and restaurants specializing in breakfast or lunch.

Fluorescent, compact fluorescent, and LED lamps offer great flexibility in terms of lighting and colour. A wide range of colour temperatures are now available that are adaptable to every kind of application.

More about Colour Temperatures

  1. Dennis McCarthy says:

    While it’s a good thing to educate folks on the basics this lacks supplemental information.
    CCTs are just part of the issue – SPD Spectral Power distribution was not mentioned
    it’s an important facet of what the illumination is comprised of.
    Also – We in the lighting industry need to get away from designations of cool or warm
    or “daylight” designations… Chromatic attributes ought to be expressed as data points
    not evocative terms. Defining CCTs with numbers involved in CIE diagram coordinates
    or dominant wavelength are a more exacting way to publicize performance traits.
    * I have analyzed hundreds of SSL products over the years- The number of times the CCT
    numbers actually are a multiple of 100 ( ending in double zeros) in my evaluations – it’s happened
    twice. My calibrated spectrometer details actual numbers- SSL marketers round up or down
    their claims with minimal accuracy far too often.

    • The objective of this article is more to educate people that don’t have any knowledge on color temperature, it’s purpose is not technical. As it is true that data points is more accurate, it doesn’t help to have general picture on color temperature shades and variations, that’s why we use cool/warm type of designation.
      I also understand your need to have more technical information. We will satisfy this need as well in our next articles.
      Thank you for sharing your opinion on those matters.

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