LEDs – How To Choose The Right Colour Temperature

December 10, 2023


Have you ever walked into a room and instantly felt a certain mood? It might be the lighting. Choosing the right colour temperature for LED lighting isn’t just a technical decision; it’s an art. In this article, we delve into the different LED colour temperatures, exploring their domestic and commercial applications, and understanding lumen levels from a technical perspective. Let’s embark on a journey to illuminate your spaces in the perfect hue no matter whether it’s for your commercial property or home.

Shedding Light on Colour Temperatures

Understanding the Basics

LED lights come in a spectrum of colour temperatures measured in Kelvins (K) unlike traditional halogen and incandescent which is now a thing of the past. In short, the lower the Kelvin, the warmer and more yellow the light appears. Conversely, higher Kelvin values result in cooler, bluish tones. It’s crucial to strike the right balance for the ambience you desire. If you want a warm, cozy feel to a room then you would want a cooler, higher kelvin type of light for example.

Domestic Applications

1. Warm Invitations: The Comfort of 2700K

In residential spaces, opt for warm hues around 2700K in living rooms and bedrooms. This creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere, perfect for winding down after a long day.

2. Energize Your Kitchen: 3000K for Task Lighting

In the heart of your home, the kitchen, go for a slightly cooler 3000K. This enhances visibility and focus, making it ideal for task-oriented activities like cooking. Alternatively, if you prefer a crisper light which also matches your decoration then 4000K is very popular in modern homes.

3. Cool Calmness: 3500-4000K in Bathrooms

Bathrooms benefit from cooler temperatures around 3500-4000K. This provides a crisp and vibrant light, aiding in grooming routines while maintaining a soothing environment that’s easy on the eyes.

Commercial Applications

4. Productivity at 4000K: Office Lighting

In office spaces, aim for a neutral 4000K. This balance of warm and cool tones fosters a productive atmosphere, keeping employees alert and focused. Eye strain is an underlying issue in offices and is usually down the lighting levels. 5000k and over can often seem much brighter but in actual fact the lumen levels are very similar to lesser kelvin ratings.

5. Accentuate with 5000-6000K: Retail Spaces

For retail environments, especially those showcasing products, a cooler 5000-6000K enhances colour vibrancy which also presents products in their true colours. It’s a choice that brings out the details, attracting customers’ attention which is purely down to marketing.

Similarly, with car showrooms for example, if you were to head down to a Ferrari garage, you would often find the lighting levels are the opposite to retail as a warmer white makes Red paintwork look much glossier and shiny than a cooler Kelvin rating. Therefore, increasing sales in theory.

Technical Perspective: Lumens Unveiled

Decoding Lumen Levels

Colour temperature aside, understanding lumens is crucial for optimal lighting. Lumens measure the brightness of a light source. Striking the right balance ensures spaces are well-lit without being overly bright or dim.

Domestic Lumen Levels

6. Cozy Corners: 800-1100 Lumens in Living Rooms

For living areas, aim for 800-1100 lumens per square meter. This provides a warm and comfortable glow without overwhelming the space. Any reputable lighting manufacturer these days will have the lumen specification printed on the lamp or packaging (if you are buying in-store). If you’re buying online then this will be somewhere in the description and specification data.

7. Kitchen Brilliance: 1500 Lumens for Task Areas

In kitchens, especially over task areas, opt for around 1500 lumens. This ensures ample brightness for chopping, cooking, and other detailed tasks. If you prefer a dimmer or brighter environment, you can shave off a few hundred lumens.

Commercial Lumen Levels

8. Office Illumination: 350-500 Lumens per Square Meter

Office spaces require a balance for different tolerances to lighting levels (especially if you have a large number of employees. Aim for 350-500 lumens per square meter, providing adequate brightness for work without causing glare or discomfort.

9. Retail Allure: 750-1500 Lumens for Displays

In retail, highlight products with 750-1500 lumens. This range ensures products stand out without creating harsh shadows. If you are a jeweller, then the 1500 mark will make garments sparkle more as an example.

Conclusion: Light the Way Forward

As we conclude our exploration into the world of LED colour temperatures and lumens, it’s evident that lighting is an art form that goes beyond mere functionality. It impacts mood, productivity, and aesthetics. So, when faced with the question of colour temperatures, remember, it’s not just about the numbers; it’s about the emotions they evoke.

In your pursuit of the perfect hue, consider the context, whether it’s the warm glow of home or the vibrant illumination of a commercial space. Let the interplay of lumens guide your decisions, ensuring your spaces are not just lit but lit right. After all, the right lighting doesn’t just illuminate; it transforms. Illuminate wisely.