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08/30/2014
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Color Temperature

Posted on June 27, 2012 Category: Lighting Terms

Color temperature is the degree of warmness or coolness of a light source, measured in kelvins (°K). Warm light is in the lower temperatures (2,700-3,000°K) and can appear yellowish, similar to a standard incandescent bulb. Cool light is in the higher temperatures (4,000-6,500°K) can appear more bluish.

The color temperature is the color of the light that would result if you heated a “black body” (piece of suitable metal) to that temperature. If you heat it to 2,700°K, it glows warm (slightly yellow) like a standard incandescent bulb. If you heat it to 6,500°K it will glow with a bluer hue.

Depending on the type of business you own, you may choose different color temperatures depending on the use. For example, a jewelry display case would look best in neutral white (4,000°K) to make the jewels shine! Whereas a dressing room in a clothing store might choose a soft white (3,000°K) to help improve the skin tone of customers while they try on clothes.

Color Temperature ° Kelvin Typical Use
Warm White 2,700 Homes, restaurants, hotels
Soft White 3,000 Homes, restaurants, hotels, retail
Neutral 3,500 Homes, offices, showrooms
Cool 4,000 Homes, offices, showrooms, jewelry stores
Soft Daylight 5,000 Hospitals, graphic arts, jewelry stores
Daylight 6,500 Museums, jewelry stores, graphics