Color Temperature of Lamps: Understanding to Make Better Choices

What is the color temperature of a lamp?

  • The color temperature of a lamp is a measure in degrees Kelvin (K) that describes the appearance of the light emitted by the lamp. It determines whether the light appears warmer (tending towards red and orange) or cooler (tending towards blue). Lower temperatures (about 2000K to 3000K) produce warm light, while higher temperatures (5000K to 6500K) create cool light.

What color temperature should be chosen?

  • The choice of color temperature depends on the desired ambiance and the use of the room:
    • Warm Ambiance: For living rooms, bedrooms, or restaurants, a warm color temperature (2000K to 3000K) creates a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere.
    • Work and Reading: For offices, kitchens, or workspaces, a neutral to cool temperature (3500K to 5000K) is preferable as it promotes concentration and visual clarity.
    • Color Accuracy: For spaces where color is crucial, such as art studios or clothing stores, opt for a temperature close to daylight (5000K to 6500K).

Which lamps have the best color rendering?

  • The color rendering of a lamp is measured by its Color Rendering Index (CRI). Lamps with a high CRI (close to 100) reproduce colors more accurately and naturally. LEDs and some fluorescent lamps generally offer better color rendering than incandescent or halogen lamps.

What illuminates more: cool white or warm white?

  • The perception of brightness is not directly related to color temperature. However, cool white (higher temperatures) is often perceived as more “illuminating” because it is closer to natural daylight and promotes alertness and concentration. Warm white, on the other hand, creates a softer and less dazzling light, ideal for relaxation.

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