LED lights have grown in popularity over the last several years. This is mainly due to their numerous benefits (link to LED vs Incandescent article) over their incandescent counterparts. One of the great benefits of LED bulbs is that they can be purchased in different color tones to best suit personal taste. If you’ve used any home bulbs other than incandescent lights, you’ve no doubt noticed that lights which provide “white light” aren’t simply white any longer.
The characteristic of light from a bulb is referred to as color temperature and is measured in Kelvins. You’ll typically see these numbers on a scale from roughly 1000K to 10,000K, with most bulbs rated between 2,500K and 7,000K. Bulbs on the lower end of the scale are referred to as “warm white” and typically have a yellow or gold cast to their light, while bulbs on the higher end of the scale are referred to as “cool white” and typically have a true white cast to their light.
Choosing a color temperature for an LED bulb is partially a matter of personal preference, but there are other considerations to keep in mind as well. The purpose of the lighting is certainly a key question. Most experts suggest that areas which will be used for working tasks or reading are better lit by bulbs on the cool end of the spectrum. Conversely, areas intended to social interaction are better lit by bulbs on the warm end of the spectrum. Therefore, a study area would be well suited to cool white LED bulbs, while a space for dining is better suited to warm white LED bulbs.
Color temperature can affect the appearance of colors in a space as well. Rooms with warmer, earthier colors are going to be a more natural fit with warm LED bulbs, whereas cooler colors such as greens or blues are going to work better with cool LED bulbs. Also related to appearance is the mood of a space. For a soothing and calm space such as a restaurant or back patio where relaxation is the intended vibe, warm white bulbs are going to work best to give that cozy fireplace feeling. Areas that are intended to be bright, lively and airy are a better fit with cool white bulbs.
The other big factor to consider in choosing color for LED bulbs is completely subjective: personal preference. If you’re new to LED bulbs, you may find that warm white bulbs are more familiar; warm bulbs are closest to the color temperature range of 2,700K to 3,000K which correspond with conventional incandescent lights. Keep in mind that just as some people like to paint their home in tans, reds or other warm colors and other prefer blues and bright greens, some people will prefer warm white LED bulbs and others will prefer cool white LED bulbs. Either way, we have you covered!