Ever walk past someone’s house at night and see a mix of different colored light in their living room? Warmer, yellow-ish light from a table lamp and harsh white light from the ceiling fixture? Or a multi-bulb ceiling fixture in the kitchen with a mix of warm and cool light? Maddening isn’t it?
At EWEL, we want that nonsense to stop. This article will explain how to choose the color for your LED bulbs.
Color temperatures of LED light bulbs
All LED bulbs have an attribute called color temperature, which is the color of the light emitted by the bulb. Off-the-shelf, residential-grade LED bulbs come in a range of color temperatures, typically between 2700K and 5000K.
What do those numbers mean in real terms? Here’s the not-so-intuitive part: the lower the color temperature number, the warmer the light. Or, put another way: lower color temperatures produce yellower, softer light; higher color temperatures produce whiter, harsher light.
This handy chart will give you some ideas on where to use different color temperature LED bulbs:
|Color temp.||Type of light||Typical uses|
|2700k||Close in color to incandescent bulbs; warm, yellower light; flattering to skin tones.||Living areas, table & floor lamps, bedroom, bathroom, hallways, front porch light.|
|3000k||Close in color to halogen bulbs; slightly cooler, whiter light.||Basement, utility or laundry room, living room (if you prefer cooler, whiter light), soffit lights, exterior area lights (e.g. 2-head motion sensor lights).|
|3500k||Midway color between halogen and metal halide; cool, white light.||Home office, task lighting, utility lighting.|
|4000k or 4100k||Close in color to metal halide; cold, white light.||Garage, outdoor lighting, attic, crawlspace, utility room.|
|5000k||Close in color to daylight; colder still white/blue-ish light.||Outdoor lighting, laundry room, workshop, garage, craft room.|
What to look for when you’re buying bulbs
Here are some tips for buying LED bulbs.
1. Look for numbers on the box. Most or all LED bulbs list the color temperature somewhere on the box.
2. Look for words like “warm white” or “cool white”. Warm light will be yellower (2700k) and cool white will be whiter or bluer (4000k).
3. Look for a color scale on the box. In addition to the stated numerical color temperature, the bulbs in the image above offer a helpful color temperature scale.
4. Look for colors on the box. Reds and oranges indicate warmer light, and blues or whites indicate cooler light.
5. Ensure the color temperature of multiple bulbs is the same! Make sure you’re not mixing, for example, 4000k with 2700k bulbs in the same area! Mish-mashes of different color temperatures can be hard on your eyes!
There is, technically, no wrong color bulb! You can install any color bulb in any area you wish, but certain bulb colors are more pleasing than others for certain applications. Plus, you’ll get an aesthetically-pleasing result if your LED bulbs in a given area are of one color temperature!
Thanks for reading! We hope this article helped you choose your next LED light bulb.