Is your home lighting causing you unnecessary stress?

  • November 13, 2015

Lamp Colors for the Home


With the changes in lighting technology the color of the lamp within a lighting fixture has become much more important.  The color of the lamp can actually affect your body, mood and the perception of a room.

It is often difficult for the average person to know what is happening in the world of lighting technology and the advancements that have been made to improve their environment.  With so many other questions and concerns occupying their daily thoughts and time, not much effort is put into considering different lighting strategies that can better their environment. What many consumers fail to understand is that inadequate lamp quality can cause unnecessary stress.  There are several spectrums that can be identified on the lamp packaging to aid in your search for which lamp best suit your needs.


What is Color Temperature?


Color temperature is conventionally stated in the unit of absolute temperature, in Kelvin, having the unit symbol K. The color temperature of a light source is the temperature of an ideal black-body radiator that radiates light of a comparable hue to that of a light source.  Black-body radiator test creates the base color for color temperature light that will be omitted from a lamp source.  The color temperature depicted on a line ranges from reddish/orange to yellow, and to more or less, white to blueish white.


Color Temperature


Within the home, the lamps you will find most often are generally incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescents, MR16’s, halogen and LED lamps.  As well as within the home, you may also have lamps on the exterior of the house in the form of metal halide, high pressure sodium or mercury vapor.


Most commonly found are lamps with color temperatures of 2700K, 3000K, 3500K, 4100K and 5000K. It isn’t as common, but you may find other color temperatures depending on the lamp manufacturer.


The lowest color temperature is 2700K and its lamp appears reddish and is a warm color.  Incandescent lamps are 2700K and are the best light temperature to be around while relaxing and prior to going to bed because of the warm soft hue.


The color temperature of 3000K to 3500K are a comfortable light range for indoor activities.  The light appears to be a whiter light and colors are more vivid.  These characteristics, in my opinion, are what makes them the most common color temperature for commercial businesses.


A 4100K lamp temperature appears much bluer compared to the 3500K lamp temperature.  This light is most often used in hospitals and office buildings.  This light temperature is better for performing fine motor tasks, reading and general desk work.


Much like the previous, a color temperature of 5000K appears bluer than the 4100K.  Although quite high on the color temperature scale, this is not the highest color temperature.  There are higher temperature lamps for uses such as industrial work, aquarium lighting and agricultural grow lights.


What is the Color Rendering Index?


The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is the measure of the ability of a specific light source to reveal the colors of objects in comparison with the ideal or natural light source.  This index has a scale ranging from 0 to 100, with 100 being the closest to a natural light source.  A light source that is generally 80 CRI or above is most commonly recommended for the best lighting results.


What is Lumen Output? 


In simple terms, the lumen output is the amount of light omitted from a light source prior to being installed in a light fixture.  Most lamp packaging will come equipped with information comparing incandescent lamps against other types of lamp sources.  Most are familiar with incandescent lamps and the amount of light perceived to be omitted, which aids in identifying how the bulbs will differ from one another depending on the lumen output.


Hopefully the above aids you in finding the correct lamp, or other light source for your lighting application at home.  It may help to take a similar or burnt out lamp along with you on your search to be able to compare lamps for your application.  Often times this aids in knowing what wattage, lamp style or socket is appropriate.


Now go get creative with your at home lighting.




Author: Dennis Hall

Mr. Hall has been an electrical designer for over 25 years, specializing in energy efficiency lighting design for commercial buildings.  

  • November 13, 2015