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Guide to Choosing the LED Light Colour Temperature You Need

Guide to Choosing the LED Light Colour Temperature You Need

  2022-08-09         sparksdirect         Advice » Lighting Design Advice

We used to rely on trusty halogen lamps or classical incandescent lamps, but their time is over; we now need to choose the light colour temperature that we need for our LED lamps.

The GU10 halogen lamps and the E27 or E14 incandescent bulbs used to be quite simple to use and replace, and their price has gone down after a while.

But we are now in a new age, the age of energy saving, the age in which we use LED lamps to save not just on the electricity bill but also save the planet.

However, the LED lamps do not all offer the same light colour: they now can be programmed or set to offer a particular kind of colour in a chart of light colour temperature. 

What are the Light Colour Temperatures for LED Lamps?

What are the Light Color Temperatures for LED Lamps?

If you want to change your old halogen or incandescent lamp and wanted to get a like-for-like replacement, you may be surprised to find out that such lamps are no longer for sale.

What you will discover, however, is that there are energy-saving alternatives to these high-energy-consumption bulbs.

There is a LED lamp that can replace the GU10 halogen lamp, and there's an E14 (small Edison Screw) and E27 (large Edison Screw) LED lamp to replace the incandescent lamps.

But this time you need to choose both the light colour temperature and the wattage. Here are the most popular light colour temperatures for LED lamps:

  • Warm white light: from 2000K to 3000K
  • Neutral white light: from 4000K to 4500K
  • Daylight white: 6000K - 6500K

The Correlated Colour Temperature (CCT) is measured in degrees Kelvin - from 1000 to 10.000. The lower the Kelvin temperature is, the warmer the light is, and the higher number of Kelvins, the brighter/whiter it is

The Correlated Colour Temperature (CCT) is measured in degrees Kelvin - from 1000K to 10.000K.

The lower the Kelvin temperature is, the warmer the light is, and the higher number of Kelvins, the brighter/whiter it is.

For example, the candle lamp from 10 years ago offered a colour temperature of approx. 2000K, a halogen lamp would offer either 3000K (when it was yellowish) or 4000K (when it was blueish), and the sunlight offers approx. 6000K light.

The higher the colour temperature of a LED lamp, the whiter the light appears. 

Note: Philips calls warm white around 2700K, neutral white around 4000K, and cool white at 5000K or more. Also, via Wikipedia, we see an enriched version of the categorization of the different lighting colour temperatures. 

The question is, what is the light colour temperature you need for your lamp?

LED Lamps Colour Temperatures and Where to Use Them

It can be confusing where to use a cool white lamp and where to use daylight or a warm white lamp.

This didn't use to be a problem, but now the home user and office worker alike are put in front of the dilemma of choosing the light colour temperature for the setting he's in.

There's a variety of colour temperatures, and as the households and offices are switched to LED, the colour temperature has to be just right. We need to identify the correlated colour temperature (also called, CCT) of the existing light bulbs and find the LED alternative, the perfect replacement.

Based on the room where you need to change the lamp, there are recommended correlated light colour temperatures for the LED lamps.

Remember, the colour temperature of the lamps you use has an important impact on the way we feel and the functionality of the space we use and the activities we perform there. 

Where should we use Warm White LED Lamps?

Where should we use Warm White LED Lamps? See the Montparnasse bronze pendant with clear glass using a warm white LED lamp.

Warm white light refers to CCT of 2000K - 3000K, and it is more relaxing, calming, and inviting. It is recommended to use warm white LED lamps in locations such as

  • the bedroom, the bathroom
  • the dining room
  • the living room
  • decorative lighting
  • hospitality ambient lighting

Wherever we need to create a warm, inviting glow, we should use a warm white LED lamp. In the bedroom, for example, we should always use warm white light, because the cool white light can disrupt our circadian rhythm and can negatively affect the quality of our sleep.

In the bathroom, similarly, when we use a warm white light, warmer tones are more flattering and relaxing.

When it comes to the dining room lighting, it is recommended not only to use warm white lights but also dimmable lamps, so that you can adjust the lighting as appropriate.

Similarly, in hospitality lighting and decorative lighting, warmer light colours are recommended.

Light fittings that use warm white light are table lamps, floor lamps, pendants, chandeliers, and downlights

Cool White LED Lamps: where to use them and why?

Cool White LED Lamps: where to use them and why: see the IP66 Tough Shell LED bulkheads offering 4000K Cool White light

The cool white LED lamps, or the cool white colour temperature is recommended in settings where we need to stay alert and focused.

At the office, for example, it is recommended to use cooler temperatures, since we need to focus on work and concentrate on the tasks at hand.

Similarly, in the kitchen, we can use cool white light to help us stay awake while making breakfast or dinner.

Sometimes even in the bathroom, you can use a cool white light to keep you alert in the morning.

Some of the locations where cool white LED lamps are recommended are

  • office/work environments,
  • accent lighting
  • bathroom lighting
  • basement lighting
  • task lighting
  • garage lighting

Please bear in mind, however, that the correlated colour temperature you need depends on the task or activity to be performed, so if you need to stay more alert in the bathroom, then cool white light can be used, but if you just want a relaxing atmosphere in the bathroom, the warm white light is recommended. 

Here is an example of a cool white LED lamp and a cool white LED fitting.

Daylight LED Light Bulbs and where to Use them

Daylight LED Light Bulbs and where to Use them: see the IP65 7W Firestay LED CCT downlight offering 6000K Daylight

The daylight colour in LED lamps is >5000K, basically 6000K and 6500K. Such lamps emit colour similar to the sunlight, a colour that is not just yellowish (warm white) or blueish (cool white) but whiteish (daylight).

Locations, where daylight colour temperature can be used, are

  • security lighting
  • garages lighting
  • display areas - display lighting
  • task lighting.

The LED flood lights used as security lighting outdoor can offer daylight CCT, shining a bright sun-like light to light the path or expose the intruders.

Similarly, if you want to highlight a display or shed light in the garage, you can use daylight LED lamps.

Such light is crisp and invigorating, and many task light fittings and security lights use it.

They are the preferred light colour temperature in industrial and commercial settings and applications. 


One of the most common questions we have been asked at Sparks for the past few years, as we make the transition from halogen and incandescent lamps to LED lamps, is what colour temperature the LED lamps should be.

As LED technology is developing, there are more and more options for the increasing number of settings, scenes, activities, and tasks. To find out more about what kind of colour temperature you need for your LED lamps, you can give us a call or contact us via email.

Note: we now have CCT lamps where you can choose the LED colour temperature before installing it, and if you change your mind later, you can change it again. See these CCT lights here