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Why is Color Temperature Important in Design?

When purchasing lighting fixtures, we often make our decisions based on the brightness of the lighting and power consumption. However, in the detailed equipment parameters, we often see the concept of color temperature. Color temperature is actually a very important parameter, because it not only affects the lighting effect, but also has a lot of effects on human health and biological clock.

Color Temperature
Color Temperature

What is color temperature?

Color temperature, in general, is a concept that describes the hue of a light source.

Max Planck, a German scientist, established Planck's law in the early 1900s. This equation defines the electromagnetic radiation that a theoretical black body would release at a specific temperature.

Planck's law
Planck's law

Here is a simple version. It describes the kind of radiation or color of light that a black body or other light source emits when heated to a specific temperature.

These temperatures are expressed in kelvin, the fundamental unit of thermodynamic temperature, rather than in degrees Fahrenheit or degrees Celsius. It is given in Kelvin, the common unit of temperature, and is used to properly characterize the white-tone of a light source. Blue and orange are typically thought to be cold and warm, respectively. The reverse is true with regard to color temperature. The light seems more blue as the temperature rises. The light seems warmer as the temperature gets lower. An incandescent bulb or other white light source with a high proportion of red and a low color temperature will appear in warmer tones. Moreover, a white light source with a greater blue presence will have a higher color temperature.

Here are a few key color temperatures you'll often run into.

Depending on the type of lighting you're using, the color temperature will often range from 2000 to 8000. You may undoubtedly go higher and lower than that, but if you go any lower than that, you'll start into your infrared spectrum. And if you get much higher than that, your UV lights will start to come on.

If you're lighting anything with extremely low tungsten or in candlelight, this is going to be the candlelight setup generating yellow light at 2000 degrees kelvin.

Candle generates yellow light at 2000 degrees kelvin
Candle generates yellow light at 2000 degrees kelvin

The next color temperature will be at 2800 degrees kelvin, which is close to 3400 degrees kelvin. These two will be standard lights, either tungsten or incandescent. It is described as warm white or yellowish-white. These will serve as your bedside lamp; they are the most useful, just like floor lamps, and even some of the larger lighting settings.

tungsten light
tungsten light generates about 2800 to 3400 degress in color temperature

Your fluorescent bulbs will probably be 4500 degree in color temperature. These lights are what you'd find in a hospital or office setting.

fluorescent bulbs
fluorescent bulbs will probably be 4500 degree in color temperature

The 5600 degree and 6500 degree kelvin temperatures will represent our sun or daytime. Depending on the weather, it can go a little bit higher or a little bit lower than that. It will definitely be higher if it is cloudy. It could be a little lower than this if the sky is very clear and blue. At midday, the sun is white and has a temperature of about 5000 Kelvin. The color of natural daylight is about 5500K. It's closer to 6500K when it's cloudy.

Color temperature can range from 5600 degree to 6500 degree of day light
Color temperature can range from 5600 degree to 6500 degree of day light

This will give you the color of moonlight at 8000 degrees Kelvin in temperature. Therefore, it will seem very blue on your subjects and will nearly exactly mimic the effect of moonlight.

Why is Color Temperature Important in Design?

Why are there so many different color temperatures available for lamps? Why can't we all use the same color temperature for everything?

No, is the answer. This is due to the fact that the selection of color temperature depends on a variety of variables activities occurring in the room.

People may always ask that how to achieve that lovely warm glow for the evening in the living room? How to achieve a whiter light to be able to read by? You should understand color temperature to get the answers.

A calm atmosphere will be produced by warm white light. People will become more active in cool white. Warm white will match the wooden furniture in the space better than grey or white. On the other side, for those who often live in hotter climes, it will seem better under cold white lighting. In areas where the temperature is cooler, warm white is recommended. Higher lighting levels are necessary to keep the space from seeming gloomy while using cooler white light.

The significance of color temperature cannot be overstated since it not only has the ability to alter the atmosphere of a room but also has an impact on our health and body clock.

For instance, excessive exposure to white light that is blue-rich, such as that between 4000 and 6000 Kelvin, has been shown to have a deleterious effect on immunological response and metabolic function because it suppresses the production of melatonin.

It is recommended to utilize color temperature variations during particular times of the day. For instance, cool whites are ideal for a workplace during the day because they boost productivity, but warmer color temperatures are preferable at night because they help you unwind and get ready for bed.

So when you're choosing the color temperature, you should ask these questions.

  1. What room is it?

  2. What time of day?

  3. What ambience am I trying to create?

You can notice that it is a nice warm glow if you alter the room's color temperature to 2700 Kelvin. The brightness won't change if the color temperature changes. Because it creates a tranquil atmosphere, 2700 Kelvin color temperature is ideal for private settings. Because they help you relax and wind down at the end of the day, they are ideal in living rooms and bedrooms.

Given that it stimulates the brain and has a color temperature of 4000 Kelvin, this white, often referred to as natural white, is excellent for workplaces and other settings where you want to be awake and productive. It is labeled as "cool white" on packaging.

The color temperature of 6000 Kelvin is a blue rich white light. I would only use this for certain particular tasks where you need to see genuine color as if it were in daylight, such as artwork and embroidery.

Whatever you decide, keep the color temperature consistent throughout the design since different variants, for instance, a lightbulb that is 3000 K and another that is 4000 K—are particularly startling and unpleasant. While we are aware of poor lighting, we are not aware of good lighting. Rather of focusing on the light sources, you should look at the space itself. Your focus won't be diverted if the color temperatures are all the same.

In conclusion, choose warmer whites to relax and cooler whites to be productive. A consistent color temperature should be used throughout the living area.

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