Choosing The Right Kelvin Color Temperature

Light bulb color temperature is represented in the unit of absolute temperature, Kelvin, noted by the symbol K. Household fixtures are commonly found in color temperatures of 2700K (warm incandescent), 3000K (warm white halogen) and 3500K (household fluorescent). Color temperatures higher than 3500K are typically used for commercial and hospital applications, as the light is bright with a bluish daylight cast that can be harsh for home interiors; but task lighting may be useful at 4000K and above.

Color Temperature Chart

Kelvin Color Temperature Scale

Selecting the right light bulb and fixture for your application requires careful consideration of its Kelvin temperature. The color temperature can also help guide you in determining which fixture is right for each room. Whether you need an ambient source of light or one for highly-focused task lighting, keep in mind the following Kelvin ranges:

  • Less than 2000K: gives off a dim glow of light, similar to what you might find from candlelight; best for low light areas where ambient illumination is welcomed
  • 2000K-3000K: gives off a soft white glow, often yellow in appearance; best for living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and outdoor spaces
  • 3100K-4500K: gives off a bright amount of white light; best for kitchens, offices, work spaces and vanities where task lighting is needed
  • 4600K-6500K: gives off a bright amount of blue-white light, similar to that of daylight; best for display areas and work environments where very bright illumination is needed
  • 6500K and up: gives off a bright bluish hue of light, often found in commercial locations; best for bright task lighting

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