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Guide To Lighting Colour Temperature

What is Colour Temperature?

Color temperature describes how warm or cool a white light is, as seen by the human eye. When a light has orange and yellow tones it is called warm, when it is neutral it is called natural, and when it gives off slightly blue tones it is called daylight. The image below shows the differences in shades between colour temperatures.

Shades in colour temperature

How is Colour Temperature Measured?

Colour temperature is measured in Kelvin and can be anywhere between 1000K and 10000K - with residential and commercial lighting generally falling between 2000K to 6500K.
  • Warm light: between 2000K and 2900K
  • Natural light: between 3000K and 4500K
  • Daylight: between 4500K and 6500K (light greater than 6500K is called cool light)
The two images below show how the different lights look.

Colour temperature range

Colour temperature bulbs

The image below focuses in on residential and commercial lights.

Colour temperature range

How Can Colour Temperature be Used?

Colour temperature can be used to subtly enhance certain elements of your rooms.
Warm lights are best used in living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms to provide a cozy effect.
Natural lights are best used in areas where clear natural, fresh lighting is required, for example in kitchens and shops.
Daylight lights are best used in areas where you want a bright effect, for example bathrooms and cafes.