Too often, homeowners walk into a big box store to try and purchase a new LED light bulb or LED recess can retrofit trim and get completely confused by the labeling on the packages and more often than not by the store associates steering them in the wrong direction.
“On the packaging, you will see verbiage such as soft white or warm white, daylight, Natural white or cool white”.
“Warm white” (Yellow spectrum) typically equates to around 2200 - 3000 Kelvin or close to what an incandescent lamp source would produce.
“Cool white” (White spectrum) typically equates to around 3500 - 4500 Kelvin or close to what you would expect in a commercial setting such as an office building.
“Daylight” (Blue spectrum) typically equates to around 5000 - 6500 Kelvin or what you would expect to see when in a hospital or manufacturing facilities.
Well, now that we kind of cleared that up, how and where should you use these light source colors in your home.
Let’s start with the general lighting of your indoor and outdoor spaces.
Color of your walls, floors, and “furniture
If your walls and ceilings are painted in neutral colors, it would be fine to use LED light sources in warm tones especially if you have a traditional or Tuscany style home. Cooler omitting LED’s above 3000 Kelvin will give off a harsh light effect and stand out. They will also wash out your natural colors.
If your home is more contemporary and you have a color pallet that leans more towards grays and cooler colors, you should use LED’s that are above 3000 Kelvin. This will make your space look crisp, clean, and sharp.
LED light sources over 4500 Kelvin typically should not be used in a residential application except for example; in lamps that are used for reading as it makes the text stand out better against the white paper surface.
accent walls and art, the use of cooler LED light sources can create dramatic visual accents in your space that will highlight the wall art
, pictures, or accent walls.
Always try to use layers of light and accent at least 2 or 3 areas to make your home welcoming and interesting.