What is color temperature?
Color temperature or CCT is essentially a gauge of how yellow or blue the color of light emitted from a light bulb appears. It’s measured in the Kelvin unit and is most commonly found between 2200 Kelvin degrees and 6500 Kelvin degrees.
Warm light sources, such as incandescent bulbs, have a low color temperature (2200-3000K) and feature more light in the red, orange and yellow range. When you think of a warm color temperature, think of the warm, inviting light of a fire in the fireplace or a nice high-end restaurant with classy dim lighting.
Cool light sources, such as some HID or fluorescent lamps, have a high color temperature (>4000K) and feature more light in the blue range. When you think of a cool color temperature, think of the crisp white or blue light of school hallways or hospitals.
Questions to ask when selecting color temperature:
1. What atmosphere are you trying to create?
Do you want to invite people to an intimate setting? Welcome people to a cozy lobby? Keep employees or students alert? Convey an energetic, clean atmosphere? Think about who your audience is and how you want them to feel when they are in your facility.
2. What kind of colors are you highlighting in your space?
If you have blue, silver, or white colors in your space, you may want to consider cooler color temperatures. If you have wood tones, golds, or reds, you may want to consider warmer color temperatures. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, it’s often a good idea to select a color temperature that complements the color of the environment. It’s also worth noting that if you have neutral tones in your space, the color of the lighting can easily swing the feel of your space from warm and inviting to energetic and active.
Guide to selecting color temperature by application
Neutral to cool color temperatures (3000-4000K) are generally appropriate in office spaces. Giving a balance between warm and soft color light.
Other applications: Outdoor lighting, parking garages, security lighting
Cooler color temperatures (3500-5000K) are good for setting a clean crisp atmosphere and creating alertness in a hospital.
Other applications: Displaying jewelry, office spaces.
Warmer color temperatures (2700-3000K) tend to work well in dining areas. Best suited for areas where you want to relax or entertain.
Other applications: Restaurants, hotel lobbies, guest rooms,