We were in the middle of home renovations and needed to start choosing light fittings. Soon after attending a home exhibition show we learnt that there’s so much more to lighting than just the wattage! This post shares what we learnt about lighting and a few other things to consider.
What is colour temperature?
The first thing to understand about lighting is the colour temperature. Most lamps emit a “white” light that varies from a cosy “warm white” to a cold or rather “cool white”. This range is measured in degrees kelvin and is denoted by a numerical figure followed by the letter “k”. The scale is as follows:
2700k – Extra Warm White/Warm White
This is similar light to “normal” incandescent bulbs, giving a warm, cosy feel.
3000k – Warm White
This the colour of most halogen lamps. It appears slightly “whiter” than ordinary incandescent lamps.
3500k – White
This is the standard colour for many fluorescent and compact fluorescent tubes.
4000k – Cool White
This gives a more clinical or high-tech feel.
6000k – Daylight
Fluorescent or compact fluorescent lamps simulating natural daylight.
6500k – Cool Daylight
Extremely ‘white’ light used in specialist daylight lamps.
Understanding the difference in colour temperature can guide you in the atmosphere you’re trying to create in your home. Once you’ve decided on the colour temperature there are other things to take into consideration when choosing light bulbs and lighting:
- Purpose of the lighting – is it functional, decorative or mood enhancing? Is it the main light source of a room or is it secondary?
- Type of lighting – downlighters, pendants, spotlights, lamps
- Type of light bulbs used in lighting – halogen, fluorescent, LED
- Wattage – are the light bulbs energy saving and how long will it last?
- The width of the angle that the light bulb reaches – the narrower the angle, the less coverage there’ll be
- Downlighters – are the units sealed or not? For example, bathroom downlights are sealed so if a fault occurs then the entire unit will need to be replaced.
We chose predominantly daylight lighting for the kitchen and warm lighting for the rest of our house. We weren’t 100% sure of our decision until one day we saw a recently renovated house that had predominantly cool lighting installed and in our opinion this emitted a more clinical feel. This obviously convinced us that we had made the right decision in the type of atmosphere we were trying to create.
I’d love to hear your experience with choosing lighting for your home. Did you find all the lighting info overwhelming too? Please feel free to share in the comments.