Shine On LED
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Who’s Kelvin, Anyway? (A simple guide to color temperature.)

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Sunlight and moonlight are not the same, and brightness isn’t the only difference. How do we measure the other characteristic of light? Color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin. Contrary to intuition, the higher the color temperature, the cooler the light and vice versa.

Brightness, by the way, is measured in lumens. Did you know LED bulbs emit up to five times more lumens per watt of electricity than a standard incandescent bulb?

Most people prefer warmer temperatures for home lighting, to enhance warm colors– including skin tones. Cozy decor and people both look better in warm light. Use color temperatures between 2000K and 3500K and you (not to mention your living room) will be ready for your closeup.

For offices and retail, cooler color temperatures give a neutral, crisp effect. Often perceived to be brighter than warm light, color temperatures between 4000K and 4500K can make your work space feel cleaner (and who doesn’t need that). Some people also use this Kelvin range in the home to enhance cool color schemes, particularly in the kitchen.

Full spectrum lighting options have temperatures between 5000K and 6500K, giving the effect of bright, direct sunlight. Seldom used in the home, this range can allow retail merchandise to show its true colors. Use caution before selecting daylight over a lower color temperature, as the light itself can be perceived as harsh or having a distinct blue tone.

When you make the switch to energy efficient LED lighting, remember to consider the best color temperature range for your needs. It’s also a good idea to change your lighting one room at a time, rather than one bulb at a time, to get the full effect of the color temperature in your space.