Difference between warm and cool lighting?

You may have noticed that lighting seems to be referred to with a temperature, most commonly warm or cool.

Warm and cool light does not relate to the brightness (lumens) or energy usage (watts) but a reference to the colour temperature of the light.

The easy way to know and remember the difference is:

Warm is a yellow light like the sun

Cool is a blue light like the ocean

The colour temperature is measured using the measurement of Kelvins (K).  As you can see in the image above a warm light is typically considered 3000 Kelvins and a cool light is considered to be around 6000 Kelvins.

You will be able to find the Kelvin measurement on any lighting unit when you purchase it.


Now that we understand the difference between cool and warm, we need to know which is better?

Warm light is recommend for areas where you would like to be comfortable and relaxed. This would typically be in residential purposes such as lounge rooms, bedrooms, kitchens. People generally find warm light better when it is closer to bedtime.

Cool light is typically used in more industrial instances such as shops and workplaces. Typically any area that you are working in rather then relaxing, cool light will be more suitable.


We make three other recommendations when choosing your lighting:

1 – If you are going to be doing a lot of lights, say downlights throughout a house buy a few of each and try them and see which you prefer before you buy them all.

2- Consider what is going to be in the room, the wall surface and the floor and consider which lighting colour is going to be most suitable.

3- Keep it consistent. Try not to have too many different shades of light through a single room.