Q: What color temperature and what type of light should I get?
Lights and basic lighting design become even more crucial during the longer nights of winter. “Lumens” is an expression of as the amount of light provided by different bulbs and fixtures, but this is not the only factor in selecting lighting.
Most light fixtures and bulbs will include information about the color of the light emitted based on the Kelvin scale. Kelvin is a measurement of thermodynamic temperature. Visually, lower Kelvin ratings appear warmer and have a red/yellow tint while higher ratings appear cooler and have more blue. Lights with the same lumen output appear completely differently to our eye based on the Kelvin or color temperature. Most residential indoor lighting commonly ranges from 2500K-6500K.
The temperature of the light helps to define what the space is used for. In general lower/warmer temperatures as used in living spaces and bedrooms. Kitchens & bathrooms are often mid-range or daylight temperatures, while offices and workspaces like countertops benefit from cooler color ranges.
New LED light fixtures often have adjustable color range settings so homeowners can select the temperature that they prefer based on the space or use desired. Individual bulbs are often labeled as warm white, daylight or cool white and should provide a Kelvin rating as well. Combining the color temperature with the type or goal of the lighting fixture is key to making the most of spaces and rooms in your home.
Types of Lighting:
Lighting and interior design typically look at three main types of lighting for any given room or space; general lighting, accent lights and task lighting. The best lit rooms often combine two if not all three of these elements to create a rich and welcoming environment as well as the functionality of defined the purpose of a given room or space.
General or Ambient Lighting is used to simply provide basic illumination to the space. It is often a lower level or baseline of needed light for the room and often the first to be turned on upon entering a room. Commonly these are ceiling fixtures, floor lamps or can lights. As a rule, ambient lighting is often warmer/lower Kelvin range.
Accent Lights do exactly that – they provide additional light and direct attention to a specific area or feature. It could be artwork, a fireplace or to draw attention to the kitchen island. Often these are wall sconces, pendants or up-lights that are closer to a neutral mid range or daylight Kelvin temperature.
Task Lighting is often the brightest and provides extra light for workspaces and areas like offices, kitchens and bathroom vanities. These are often under cabinet lights, desk lamps, spotlights and other directed lights. Task lighting is often a cooler, higher Kelvin rating.
Which is Best?
Lighting decisions are a huge matter of personal preference. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Even swapping out a few light bulbs for a warmer or cooler color or more/less lumens can have a huge impact on your home. Feel like that one corner is always a little dark? Redoing your office and need a better option for your workstation? Consider adding an additional or different type light fixture. A different light, new bulbs or more defined type light fixture can really change a space.
Buying & Installing Fixtures:
A majority of our customer chose to purchase their own fixtures. There are a ton of options and selections to chose from across a wide range of price points. Dynamic Electric can help you install any new fixtures or simply update older ones. Just give us a call for an estimate.
Scott Cummings leads the team at Dynamic Electric, a Hillsborough-based full service electrical provider for both residential and commercial needs. Dynamic Electric is dedicated to providing quality workmanship, outstanding service, reliable installation and safe repairs or troubleshooting for all their customers.
In “Ask The Electrician,” Scott answers common questions about electrical work, from switches and outlets to safety issues and preventative maintenance. If you have a suggested question for us to answer – or need an electrician – please reach out to our office at (919) 370-0056 or visit our website.