The light look is measured in temperature exploitation on the Kelvin scale. not like the weather outdoors lower color temperatures (2700K) indicate ‘warmer’ colors of orange and yellow, and better color temperatures (6500K) indicate cooler colors like blue and white.
What Is Color Temperature?
Color temperature, a fancy term for how warm (amber) or cool (blue) a light is, is easiest to explain in terms of how sunlight works.
The sun changes color, measured in degrees Kelvin, over the course of the day. Midday readings might be 6000K, or very blue-ish white, while temperatures dip below 3000K near sunset with a very “warm” amber light.
Generally, warm light is anything 3000K or lower, while the cool light is 4000K or above. 3500K, a middle ground often called neutral, can look either cool or warm depending on furnishings and other nearby lights.
Know Your Color Temperatures
Most bulbs will advertise the color temperature on the package. This will tell you how warm or cool the color of the light is.
2700K – 3000K – This is the warm or soft white range, best suited for areas in the home where you want to relax or entertain.
3500K – 4500K – This is more a neutral white light range, giving a balance between warm and soft color light.
Over 5000K – Generally referred to as daylight and best suited for use in offices, workshops, bathrooms or other areas where high detail visibility is important. It can also help energize you in the morning.
Some people will also just have a preference for a certain color temperature or mood. You may even notice a color temperature will look better on your particular skin tone. The good news is there are options for everyone.
Color Temperature Considerations
Color temperature can significantly influence the ambiance of a space. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin; as Kelvin temperature increases, it transitions from a warmer light to a white or bluish light. A Kelvin temperature of 6500K or higher will produce a blue light similar to that of an overcast sky. Color temperatures of 3500K or lower tend to be warmer, similar to that of candlelight. If you are looking for a more natural-white light, choosing a Kelvin temperature between 4100K and 5500K will be closer to the natural daylight you are looking for.
When to choose Warm White (2700-3100K) :
Warm whites are therefore an ideal choice for making people feel at home, which is why they are the most common choice for residential use, or for when trying to capture that 'homey' feeling. If you've ever been to a bed and breakfast hotel, or shopped or eaten at an 'old timey' establishment, you might have noticed warm white lights making those places feel a little more comfortable. Perhaps you did not notice it at all, not consciously - but your wallet probably did, because in a cozy, comforting, and home-like environment, you were more likely to trust, spend, and tip more.
On a more practical level, warm whites accent wood and bricks well, and make reds, yellows, and oranges more vivid while muting greens and blues. Warm white may not be an appropriate choice in business environments where productivity might be affected by employees getting too comfortable, or in settings where accurate color reproduction is necessary (more on that when we talk about Neutral White).
When to choose Cool White (5000-6500K) :
Cool white is sometimes called 'daylight' - and with good reason, as the hint of blue in lights above 5000K or so evokes the brilliant sun and blue skies of a clear, cloudless day. Cooler whites, then, tap into our instinctual affinity for being outside and the freedom and possibilities that come with it. Sunlight on your skin causes D3 vitamins to release into your bloodstream, actually making you happier.
Cool whites can help add a sense of life, excitement, and energy to spaces that warm whites lack. While they do have a small amount of blue in them, it's not as noticeable as the orange/yellow in warm whites, meaning that cool whites also do a pretty good job displaying colors.
When to choose Neutral White (3900-4200K) :
Neutral white light is a relatively modern invention - as it wasn't until lighting technology matured in the mid 1900s that color temperatures could be specified to be anything other than the traditional warm white of incandescent light bulbs. Unlike Warm White and Cool White, there is no 'natural' use for lights in the neutral white range.
Being neutral, however, does have its advantages. Unlike cool and warm whites, neutral white reproduces all colors equally well, so it's the ideal (some might say 'only') choice for displaying merchandise, art, or photography. You'll find neutral whites used almost exclusively in art galleries and museums, and anywhere that accurate color reproduction is important. Performing detailed or high precision work can also be easier under neutral white lighting.
Because warmer and cooler lights accentuate and mute certain colors, neutral whites are also preferred in spaces that feature many colors - where the blue of cool whites and the yellow/orange of warm whites would brighten certain colors while darkening others. A high-quality neutral white is a great choice to make sure branding materials display logos and colors accurately.
A good color temperature choice can be the final, victorious touch on your project, while a poor one can make it fall flat, and in some cases even drive people (maybe even customers!) away. Razorlux has LED light strips available in all three categories of color temperature so that you can choose the right product for your project.
Be sure to think hard about what you're trying to accomplish in your space, get in touch with our customer service team if you're having trouble and we'll help you out!
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