Downlights are a popular choice for many Aussie homes, thanks to their discreet appearance, ability to blend into any interior style and their application as both task and general lighting sources. Downlights that use both dedicated LEDs and replaceable LED globes are all this and more; they reduce energy consumption and in turn your impact on the environment, produce less heat than halogen downlights, are easy to install and maintain and come in a variety of colours and designs. Before you go and make your purchase, however, it’s important to understand all the features that downlights offer so that you can choose the right ones for your space.

Colour Temperature 

The colour temperature of a light source is how warm or cool a light appears to the human eye and is measured in Kelvin. It ranges from daylight to cool white to warm white and each colour temperature has its ideal purpose and application. A warm white light globe has a yellow tone, whereas a cool white light globe appears a bit bluer. Let’s explore these different colour temperatures in detail.

  • Daylight (5300K to 6500K): This colour temperature is used largely in commercial locations like warehouses, offices and hospitals as it appears brighter and clearer and gives a clean, sterile look. At home, it’s suited to spaces like bathrooms and laundries.
  • Cool white (3300K to 5300K): This is a neutral light and is considered the standard lighting choice for many homes and event spaces. Not too bright white, not too yellow, and perfect for keeping you alert and focused. This colour temperature is ideal for task lighting in kitchens, studies, garages and workshops.
  • Warm white (2200K to 3300K): This colour temperature is similar to the light produced from a traditional incandescent light bulb or halogen and has more of a yellowish orange tinge in appearance. It’s reminiscent of early morning dawn or sunset and is ideal for creating a relaxed, cosy atmosphere in living rooms and bedrooms to help you unwind at the end of the day. Remember, the lower the number of Kelvins, the better the light is for your sleep. Warmer white light has lesser blue light, so it helps promote the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone that typically rises two hours before bedtime

Colour temperature - 4000K (cool white)

Colour temperature - 3000K (warm white)

Because colour temperature is so crucial in lighting your space correctly, take some time to consider how you’re planning to use your space before you purchase your downlights. This is especially important if the downlights you’re buying offer one fixed colour temperature. At Beacon, we also offer downlights that come with three colour temperature options and a convenient switch to toggle between options. Just make sure to select the colour temperature you want before you install them into your ceiling. For ultimate flexibility, we offer smart downlights that can be controlled with an app on your phone or voice commands via your smart speaker. With this option, you can change colour temperatures at any time to suit your mood and the time of day.


Glare is what occurs when either the light from your downlight hits your eyes directly or if a surface receives too much light in contrast to its surroundings which makes the surface too harsh to look at. Glare from downlights can cause eye strain, headaches and distract from the task at hand.

That’s why it’s essential to ensure that you’re selecting a downlight that has been designed to reduce glare. Many downlights may claim to be ‘low glare’ or even ‘glare free’, but the only way to avoid this issue is to purchase downlights with a deep recessed design which means the light source is set back into the fitting. This will prevent the light escaping at an angle that is uncomfortable to the eyes but will still cast a full curtain of light on the designated area. 

Colour Rendering Index (CRI)

The Colour Rendering Index (CRI) is a measure of the ability of a light source to reveal the colours of various objects authentically and accurately in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. Measured on a scale of 0-100, the higher the CRI, the truer to life and richer colours appear.

Downlights with a high CRI are desirable in colour-critical commercial applications such as hair salons and museums and at home in walk-in robes, bathrooms and on walls with artwork where the true representation of colour is essential or desired. Think, choosing the perfect outfit colours and the correct makeup shades when you’re getting ready for a party! Since a high CRI matches the CRI of natural sunlight more accurately, it also helps boost mood and makes a space more engaging. Most of our LED downlights enjoy a minimum CRI of 80 with a growing selection available with a CRI greater than 90 (>90), so you can’t go wrong with your choice!

Colour Rendering Index - 90

Colour Rendering Index - 90

Task Lighting 

Task lighting is simply the strategy to provide sufficient lighting that makes the completion of a task possible. For example, if you’re organising a living area in order to read on the couch, you’d position your downlights to illuminate the couch as well as a side table or coffee table to place drinks and ear-marked novels.

When placing downlights, you need to maximise the amount of light hitting the desired surfaces, whilst simultaneously reducing shadows or glare that could inhibit the task’s completion. Downlights placed too far away from desks or kitchen counters, for example, will inevitably cast shadows on work surfaces or will provide insufficient light. For the ideal placement, consider your line of vision during the task and ensure the beam of light isn’t interrupted. .


Grouping downlights together helps form focused pools of light to greatly influence the atmosphere of a space, allocating some areas with low levels of illumination, and others with strong, concentrated swathes. For example, the kitchen bench would require more light for better focus when preparing meals. Cupboards and drawers, however, are only used briefly to remove plates, cups and utensils, needing less of the light source. In the same way, group your downlights to provide lesser light where the surfaces are white as light will bounce off of these far more easily than their darker counterparts, which absorb up to 50% more light. 

Learn more about our range of downlights from our team of dedicated experts 

For more information about our range of downlights, speak to any of our team members at your nearest Beacon Lighting store or fill out our quick enquiry form. If you need professional help in creating your lighting plan, we encourage you to reach out to our accredited lighting designers at Beacon Design Studio today. For inspiration and lighting tips, follow us on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest!

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