Have you noticed there are some places that make you feel warm and cozy as soon as you walk in? Your favorite restaurant or drinking establishment might come to mind. But when you think about a good work environment you immediately think of a bright light that enables you to see things clearly with good contrast?
The difference in atmosphere is partially created by differences in the lumens (or brightness). However, the color temperature of the light bulbs you’re using also affects the atmosphere. The color temperature of light has nothing to do with heat. Color temperature, or ‘Correlated Color Temperature’ (CCT) is a way to describe the color tones of light bulbs. The color temperature is measured in Kelvin Units, and describe the color tones you can expect.
What is a Kelvin Unit?
In the mid-1800’s William Kelvin, was a British physicist who noticed the color changing that occurred when a piece of carbon steel is heated. Initially, the steel became red, then yellowed until it became blue. This is how the phrase ‘red hot’ came to be. He developed a scale, now known as Kelvin units, to describe the change in color when the heat was applied to the steel.
How Do Kelvins Indicate Color?
At the low end of the Kelvin scale (2000 Kelvin units), the warm white light emitted is actually in red tones. As the Kelvin unit range increases it will go through orange and yellow colors until it reaches around 3100 Kelvin units. Then the light starts to become a bright cool white in color. Once light hits the 4600 Kelvin units through 6500 Kelvin units it takes on a blue color that becomes crisp and invigorating.
What is a Warm Light vs. a Cool Light?
When you are choosing a particular light for your home or business knowing the light color you want will help you to make the best bulb selection. Are you looking for a relaxing, comfortable, and natural tone for your home? A bulb emitting ‘warm white’ will have orange to yellow-white color tones in the 2000 Kelvin unit range. It will make your living room and bedroom areas warm and inviting and it is also the most flattering to skin tones. Increasing the bulbs to ‘cool white’ or ‘bright white’ in the 3000 Kelvin unit range will give your bathroom and kitchen lighting a crispness and vibrancy that helps you carry out tasks.
A restaurant wanting a warm, cozy, and inviting atmosphere for diners would do well with the lower range 2000 to 3000 Kelvin units. Vintage and filament lights have been created to go as low as 1900 Kelvin units to replicate traditional carbon filament lights. Fast food establishments that are looking for high turnover and do not want people lingering would do better with lighting in the higher Kelvin range.
In an office the cooler 3100 – 4500 Kelvin’s tone gives a bright and vibrant light making it easy conduct business and read reports. If you need bright lighting for tasks, display areas or security lighting the high range 4600 to 6500 Kelvins will meet your needs.
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The LED One team can help you determine which color range is right for your application, and answer any questions that you might have. Our team can help lighting work for you! Call today.