Warm, cool or neutral light: making the best choice
Whether light is warm, cool or neutral can have a profound effect on our comfort and our sense of well-being. Colour temperature determines the quality of the light and varies based on the activity taking place in the lit area. For example, whereas a kitchen requires cool light, a living room is best served with warm colour temperatures.
In this article we will talk about...
- The differences between warm and cool light
- When to use each type of light
- Secom products
Cool shades support high-concentration tasks and help us stay alert. By contrast, warmer light encourages relaxation.
The differences between warm and cool light
The primary difference between warm and cool light is the colour temperature. Measured in degrees Kelvin, it can range from 1700 K (very warm) to 6500 K (very cold).
Warm light is typically around 2800 K, with a colour similar to the light from an incandescent or conventional halogen bulb. It is very similar to the colour amber.
Cool light tends to be between 5000 and 6500 K. It is brighter than warm light and emits more blue tones. Most kitchens have cool light. Cool white LEDs provide clear, bright light similar to natural sunlight, and many indoor lighting systems try to imitate it to reap the benefits for our mood, alertness and productivity.
Neutral white light sits in the middle of the first two. It has a colour temperature of around 4000 K and is less diluted by other colours. For example, reds and earth shades are prominent in warm light, and crisp icy blue shades dominate cool light.
When to use each type of light
Warm light creates relaxing, welcoming spaces. Cold light, on the other hand, provides more stimulation to increase our alertness and concentration. Hence, cold light is the preferred option in workplaces, since it supports productivity.
Blue shades reduce our body’s production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and can keep us awake.
This is the best choice for creating a relaxed atmosphere and is typical in bedrooms. Warm light is synonymous with relaxation, and lighting a bedroom in this way can support sleep quality.
Living rooms also make use of warm light to provide a sense of peace and intimacy.
Bathrooms are good candidates for warm light, but only for certain activities. For example, it may be suitable for a relaxing bathtime, but not for putting on make-up or searching the medicine cabinet. A combination of warm and cool shades may be the best option.
The slight blue hue in this type of light creates an icy feel. Cool light tends to be used in high-concentration workplaces. In the home, clinical white light can work in bathrooms and kitchens.
Hospitals and industrial kitchens are always lit with cool shades because light has a direct impact on the work that takes place in these spaces.
This choice is great for dressing tables and changing rooms. Neutral white LEDs are also used in signage and work best with filters to produce more accurate colours on screens and in shop windows. Neutral light is also an excellent option for the waiting areas in office buildings.
Secom’s lighting solutions cater to all desired colour temperatures.
Getting lighting right is crucial to creating, rediscovering and adding a sense of originality to unique spaces.
Our products can be adjusted to a range of colour temperatures. Some of our newest products include:
Surface (continuous line) or hanging LED luminaire.
An LED spotlight with a range of applications and a variety of optics.
Every lighting problem has a solution involving the use of warm, cool or neutral light. It all depends on what the lit space is for and on the parameters of the lighting project.More in our blog