The importance of globe colour temperature
18 June 2019
These days, not all globes are created equally. And choosing the right colour temperature of your globes can have an enormous impact on how your home looks and feels. But with so many different options available, making the right decision can be very confusing.
Thanks to our lighting specialists, you don’t need to have a degree to work out which globe is right for your space, as we’ve broken down the ‘science’ of globes to help you understand how and why you should choose different colours for different applications.
So, exactly what is globe colour temperature?
Colour temperature describes the appearance or tint of a particular light. Just like paint, where there are seemingly endless shades of white to choose from, most globes emit a white light, which can range from warm to cool.
Incandescent globes emit a warmer light, while more energy efficient LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) give you a wider range of colour temperatures. While people prefer the warmer colour of an incandescent globe, this type of light can be easily replicated by simply selecting the right energy-efficient LED globe.
How to Measure Colour Temperature
Colour temperature is measured in degrees of ‘Kelvin’ on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000. Unlike Celsius degrees, the warmer a globe’s light is, the lower its temperature will be. A cooler globe temperature will have a higher Kelvin value.
To put it into perspective, candlelight has a colour temperature of about 2,000K, while sunlight has a temperature of about 6,000K.
Why Colour Temperature Matters
Unlike old incandescents, LEDs offer a wide variety of colour temperatures, so before they came onto the market, we rarely had to think about such things when replacing globes. But now, we’re finding many households who have made the switch to LEDs are unhappy with their chosen globe because it emits a different light than what they’re accustomed to.
That’s why it’s important to understand the effect colour temperature has on the feel and functionality of any space, and how to choose the right globe to suit.
If the colour temperature is too low (or too warm), you may not be able to see everything you need to see; for example, for some people warm light isn’t always ideal for task lighting, but is well suited to ambient lighting. On the other hand, while cool temperatures are ideal for task lighting.
A colour temperature that is too high (or too cool) may prevent you from achieving the calm or relaxed feeling you want out of your space. But may offer the perfect amount of contrast for reading – a cooler light will enhance the contrast of black ink on a white page; while a warmer light will not make the print ‘pop out’ of the page.
The trick is to get the balance just right, there are no set rules. Ask the sales associate to set up a series of samples under different lighting types when in store so as you will be able to make an informed decision.
When to Use Warm or Cool Light
No matter what space you’re lighting, it’s important to balance warm and cool temperatures. As a general rule, warmer temperatures are more calming, inviting and relaxing, while cooler temperatures are great to create energy and enhance concentration.
Warm White: 2,000-3,000K
Because of their warm, relaxing glow and flattering tones, warm white bulbs are useful in:
• Dining rooms
• Living rooms:
• Decorative outdoor lighting
• Restaurant or commercial ambient lighting
Cool White: 3,100-4,500K
Cooler temperatures can help us stay alert. These temperatures are mostly used in 'busy' rooms and spaces such as:
• Work environments:
• Task lighting
• Accent lighting
Daylight globes emit a light similar to sunlight. They are useful for:
• Task lighting
• Display areas
• Security lighting
What is Colour Rendering?
As well as considering the colour temperature of a globe, it’s also important to look at the Colour Rendering Index (CRI).
Measured from 0-100%, the CRI refers to a light globe's ability to render colours accurately, and the higher the CRI, the better its colour rendering ability. This is especially important if you are buying accent lighting for artwork, or for workspaces that rely on accurate lighting, such as factory production, printing, photography, and design.