The Importance of Color Temperature

Tanya Mayer

Posted on Thursday 30th April 2020

Colour temperature can change the ambiance of a room entirely.  It can, for example, turn a nice, romantic, atmospheric dinner to a ‘deer in the headlights’ affair (and you don’t want that!). Ever wonder why restaurants tend to have softer lighting, while hospitals tend to have those very bright lights? 

It’s all about colour temperature. 

Heard of the term ‘mood lighting’? We’re willing to wager what you have. If so, you already have a basic understanding of why colour temperature is so important to a room. In this guide, we’ll give you a technical overview of the terminology, as well as some suggestions on how to best implement colour temperature in your home. 

What is Colour Temperature? 

As the average punter, you probably don't have the foggiest when it comes to colour temperature. And why would you? It doesn’t exactly form part of common parlance. We’ll give you a brief rundown first. 

In its most basic definition, colour temperature refers to how light appears. Colour temperature is technically expressed in Kelvins, with the point on the scale suggesting the level of light, its brightness, and how it affects the room it’s in. You can generally split these into three categories: 


  • Warm Light. Range: 2700K-3000K

  • Cool White. Range: 3000K-5000K

  • Daylight. 5000K-6500K


The basic category ranges already begin to give you a rough idea of what you can expect, depending on which you choose. However, there’s a little more to it than that. 

Choosing Colour Temperature for Your Home

When it comes to choosing the right color temperature for your home, there are several aspects you need to think about. Let’s go over the rundown of the aforementioned ranges and where they ‘fit’ best: 

Warm Light (or Warm White) 

This level produces a slightly orangey light. It gives that cozy, sitting in front of the fireplace during a cold winter’s evening, hot water bottle and cuppa in hand. Warm light is ideal for living rooms and bedrooms, for example. It also tends to be the top choice for restaurants looking to create an inviting ambiance. 

Cool White 

Perhaps known as the industry ‘standard’ light, cool white gives a space a vibrant and bright appearance. It gives a very balanced light to the entirety of the room, and some would describe it as giving a very slight blue-ish tint. 

Most people will pick cool white for rooms that have practical uses, such as garages or basements. If it’s a work environment, cool white will probably work best. However, that doesn’t mean the 3000K-5000K range is limited to this type of use; it also works very well for contemporary and modern environments, where slightly brighter lighting works better than warm light. 


This one is self-explanatory, with daylight essentially giving a natural daytime level of light to a room. It works best for areas where ample lighting is necessary; think garages with a workshop, or a display section of a room. 

Daylight works very well in spaces where natural light never enters. Warehouses are perfect examples where daylight colour temperatures work exceptionally well. It’s also a good option for security lighting in your home. 

Adjustable Bulbs 

The fact that the right colour temperature is often dependent on the function of a room means that multi-functionality is often out of the question. City dwellers, for example, don’t always have the luxury of having a separate front room, dining room, and office. Many people have an all-in-one affair. 

For this reason, adjustable bulbs tend to work very well to counteract this limitation. Dimmer switches work very well for this purpose. More modern devices, such as Google Home, can help you programme your home’s bulb’s depending on the time of day. Set it to daylight during the daytime, when you need to concentrate on work, and dim it down to a cozy warm light when you’re winding down for the day. 

There Is No Right or Wrong 

We’ve probably given you far more information on colour temperature than you ever thought you’d need. Before we sign off, there’s one final bit of advice: there’s no ‘should’, no right or wrong when it comes to choosing your lighting. 

After all, it’s your home. You can do what fits your aesthetic preferences, what feels right for your specific needs and requirements. We’ve given you a few pointers and suggestions, but ultimately it’s 100% your decision! 

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