The subject of color temperature is raised when the time comes to choose a bulb for a light fixture. But what is color temperature exactly?

Color temperature is what contributes to creating atmosphere in a room. It comes in three shades: warm white for a relaxing atmosphere in a bedroom or living room; bright white is an energizing color used in the kitchen or office at home; daylight is used in locations such as the workshop or laundry room.

However, owing to certain factors, the results obtained are not necessarily those you are looking for. Why?

“Warm white,” “cool white” and “daylight” are general terms that encompass a particular range of color temperatures. In other words, the final result may differ significantly from one manufacturer to the next, even though both indicate the same color temperature for the same bulb.

The color temperature of a bulb is expressed more precisely in Kelvin units (K). In a typical home, it varies between 2700K for a “warm white” incandescent bulb and 6500K for a “daylight” fluorescent lamp. For reference purposes, an ordinary candle has a color temperature of 1900K.

The graph below presents the variations existing for the three principal color temperatures found on the market.

It is clear that the warm white color temperature can vary from 2600K to 3200K, cool white from 3200K to 4500K and daylight from 4500K to 6500K.

That is why when you replace a bulb in a room, its color temperature may differ from the other bulbs in the room, even though you have chosen the same color category.

How to avoid this problem? Following are tips to help you make the right decision.

Note the temperature in Kelvin units of the bulbs used in each room of your home.

  • When purchasing new bulbs, ensure that the temperature in Kelvin units indicated on the package applies to the room where you are replacing bulbs (see packaging below).
  • Use quality bulbs, always from the same manufacturer. This will guarantee a better color match between the different bulbs. Some types of lamps, such as fluorescent lamps, require a period of adjustment to reach their optimal color temperature.
  • Do not hesitate to try bulbs from different manufacturers to find the ones best suited to your needs. These simple tips will allow you to create ideal lighting and atmosphere in your home.

Text and graphics from Contrast.com