About Color Temperature
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The color of the light source. By convention, yellow-red colors (like the flames of a fire) are considered warm, and blue-green colors (like light from an overcast sky) are considered cool. Correlated color temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) degrees.
Confusingly, higher Kelvin temperatures (4500K or above) are what we consider cool and lower color temperatures (2700~3200K) are considered warm.
- Very warm white (around 2300K) — Homes, restaurants, hotel lobbies, boutiques
- Warm white (around 3000K) — Libraries, retail stores, office areas
- Neutral white (around 4000K) — Showrooms, bookstores, office areas
- Cool white (around 5000k) — Museums, jewelry stores, retail display windows, hospitals
Very warm white
Warm White (incandescent or candle light)
Incandescent white light bulb often has a color temperature of up to 2900K. It imparts a more orange/red light on objects. Because you normally associate warmth with red or orange objects, this accounts for the "warm" descriptive name, even though it is a cooler temperature on the Kelvin scale.
Warm White (halogen white)
Halogen bulbs typically fall within the range of 2900K to 3500K. They impart a clear, white light with very little red or blue tones.
Neutral White bulbs fall within the range of 4000K to 4700K. They impart a clear, white light with very little red or blue tones, but appears more "cooler" than halogen light.
A "cool" white bulb commonly has a color temperature of 5000K or above. This is in the low range of blue color, similar to ice. Hence, the "cool" adjective.
Color Temperature Can Affect the Way Things Look in Your House
If you decorate with reds, browns, and oranges, you want to illuminate these rooms with bulbs that have a color temperature in the 2750~3000K range. Conversely, if you happen to like green or blue colors, light these rooms with bulbs that produce color temperatures of 4000K or above.
And while full spectrum lighting sounds good in theory, many will find this type of lighting too harsh for overall home lighting applications. It’s best to install full spectrum bulbs in those fixtures that are used when you need to differentiate between colors.
How colors appear when illuminated by a light source. Color rendition is generally considered to be a more important lighting quality than color temperature. Most objects are not a single color, but a combination of many colors. Light sources that are deficient in certain colors may change the apparent color of an object.
The Color Rendition Index (CRI) is a 1-100 scale that measures a light source's ability to render colors the same way sunlight does.
The top value of the CRI scale (100) is based on illumination by a 100-watt incandescent light bulb. A light source with a CRI of 80 or higher is considered acceptable for most indoor residential applications.