Cool vs. Warm

When it comes to light color, “warm” and “cool” have nothing to do with how hot the bulb gets. You may have noticed some bulbs look more blue and some more yellow. If you look at the box the bulb came in you can find a color temperature number, usually ranging from 2700k to 5000k. What this is referring to is the appearance of the light, a cool or warm look. The spectrum typically goes from warm (2700k) to cool (5000k, or daylight). Why is this important? Color temperature effects how objects appear and sets the mood and feel of a room. So what is the main difference and would each color be best?

Cool Lighting – Cool light is a bluish-white light; similar to daylight at noon. Cool light goes best in:

  • Kitchens – A busy space needs good, bright lighting. The detail work of reading newspaper or recipes, food prep and cooking, or distinguishing colors needs the bright white.
  • Working Spaces – Office, garage, sewing rooms, study spaces. Cool white light is seen as brighter by your eyes. It helps you feel alert and awake; allows you to better see details.
  • Outdoor Spaces – Cool light can also brighten up your outdoor spaces, making them safer and more usable.

Warm Lighting – Warm lighting has an orange-yellow hue. It is softer on the eyes and adds to the mood of the room. Warm light goes best in:

  • Living Rooms – Warm light will help you create an inviting space for entertaining guests, watching TV, or reading your favorite novel.
  • Bathrooms – If your bathroom is a place you like to relax, taking long showers or bath warm lighting is what you want.
  • Bedrooms – Relaxing, resting, rejuvenating happen best when you slow down. Warm lighting in the bedroom encourages just that.