With conventional lamps, picking the “colour of light” that a lamp emits was never a choice. LED light bulbs, however, are different. With many LEDs, you have this choice. You can pick the colour that will best suit your space and mood.
In lighting, correlated colour temperature (or CCT in short) denotes how the colour of the light appears.
The higher you go on the colour scale, the closer the light will resemble blue light. Interestingly, colour temperatures don’t denote the actual temperature of a lamp but rather the colour of light it emits. So counterintuitively, the greater the colour temperature, the “cooler” the LED will appear.
Cool or Warm?
Well, it all depends on your use and personal preferences. Do you prefer the conventional yellow colour that a traditional lamp gives? If so, warm white (2700 to 3000K) may be right up your alley. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more modern look, you are likely to find cool white LEDs (4000K+) more suitable to your taste.
You may be interested in knowing that there’s more blue light in cool white light, which also appears brighter. For this reason, cool white LED bulbs tend to have greater lumen output than the equivalent warm white LED bulb. Research shows that people living in sunnier places prefer using white light while those living in cooler places like warm light.
Where to use which?
Here are some general recommendations.
Warm to Warm White – Bedroom, hallway, and living room
White to Cool White – Study, kitchen, bathroom
Daylight – Retail, art studios, commercial
In case you are changing from one type to another, for instance from cool white to warm white, give yourself a little time for getting used to the change.
Also, you can try using a combination of different colour LED bulbs in the same space. For instance, you can use warm white LEDs as maim room lights and install cool white lamps over work areas as task lighting.
How can I know which one I am purchasing?
All retail packs clearly mention the colour temperature on the packaging. They also have a clear icon. Additionally, every lamp has its colour temperature mentioned on the base.