We’ve all seen it. You walk into a friend’s house and squint. A cocktail party seems oddly uncomfortable and everyone looks sick. The six recessed lights in the living room are a jumble of mismatched colors. Or an outdoor post light looks better suited to a parking lot than a welcoming home.
It’s not you. It’s LEDs.
When affordable LED bulbs hit the market, manufacturers also introduced options for different colors of white—something never possible with old-fashioned incandescent bulbs.
Suddenly, we were faced with confusing descriptions like “bright white, “soft white,” and “daylight white.” It was difficult to figure out what these meant, particularly when we think of daylight as warm and bright.
Then, when we brought these “daylight” bulbs home, we were assaulted with harsh, unflattering, bluish light. Even worse, we accidentally brought different types home and nothing matched. It looked worse than all those burnt-out bulbs.
But there’s good news. Armed with a little bit of information, you can enjoy all the amazing benefits of LEDs: extremely long life, very low energy consumption, little heat, and extraordinary fixture designs. These are benefits you could have never achieved with old-fashioned bulbs.
The key term to remember is “color temperature.” This is the color the bulb emits. Think about it in terms of a flame. A low-color temperature is like a candle—reddish gold, and not the hottest of flames. A high-color temperature is like fire from a fighter jet engine—bluish-white and extremely hot.
Measured in “Kelvin” or “K,” the color temperature is listed on most LED bulb boxes. A bulb listed as 2700K is more golden in hue and matches the color of a traditional 60-watt bulb. A bulb that’s 4000K is bluish and will match the light we see mid-day.
So what’s best for your home?
We generally recommend 2700K or 3000K bulbs for residential environments. Why? Because artificial lighting in homes is used towards the end of the day when natural light is more golden and red. The golden, 2700-3000k light feels more relaxing, it’s more flattering to skin tones, and most importantly, it tells our body’s internal clocks that the sun is setting and it’s time for bed.
That’s correct. The wrong color of light doesn’t just look bad, it can keep you from sleeping.
High-color bluish lights are appropriate for warehouses, convenience stores, and office environments—places where we want to feel alert and awake.
Still not convinced? Just remember that few people want their home to “feel like a convenience store or a warehouse.” And we have yet to hear about a “romantic dinner by fighter jet engine light.”
Want to see the difference for yourself? Drop by our flagship showroom in Arlington to see different color temperatures, side-by-side, or browse the many options and shapes of LED lighting now available.
When used correctly, there’s a lot to love about LEDs.