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Warm White or Cool White: Which LED Bulbs Should You Use in Your Home?

Warm White or Cool White: Which LED Bulbs Should You Use in Your Home?

You are out shopping for new bulbs for the house, but as you walk down the aisle of the local hardware store and look at LED bulbs with different colour labels, you can’t help but wonder: Which ones should you buy? The thing about bulb colours is that their names sound similar. Warm white, soft white, cool white, and daylight bulbs—aren’t all they simply white? Why then some of these bulbs emit yellowish light?  

In this post, we will tell you everything you need to know about LED colour designations, so you can pick the right ones for your home.

Warm White, Soft White, Daylight LED bulbs—What’s the Difference?

Every white bulb signals a specific reference point on the Kelvin scale. The colour temperature is measured in Kelvin. Every Kelvin value signals a “coolness” or “warmth” level. As the Kelvin value increases, so does the coolness of the LED bulb. Higher the Kelvin value, the less yellow a bulb is going to look.

Warm white and soft white bulbs are placed at the lower end of colour spectrum. Soft white LED bulbs have a Kelvin reading of 2700, while warm white LED bulbs have a reading in the range of 3,000 to 4,000 Kelvin. Cool white LED bulbs are in the vicinity of 4,000 Kelvin. The least warm of LED bulbs are daylight bulbs, which have a reading in the range of 5,000 to 6,500 Kelvin. Daylight bulbs emit a somewhat blue light which is similar to that of the midday sun.

Warm light promotes a feeling of relaxation. In contrast, cooler light increases focus and makes you more energized.

Here are some general guidelines as to which type of colour temperature is right for different parts of a home.

Kitchens/Living Room: Soft, warm light (in the range of 2,700 to 3,500 Kelvin) is ideal for both these spaces since you would like your living area and kitchen to promote a relaxing feeling. You may also want to consider using Dimmer switches, especially if you want to use the space for different purposes.

Bedrooms: You should use soft white LED light bulbs in your bedrooms (3,000 Kelvin). Cool white bulbs are generally not useful in bedrooms.  

Bathrooms: Warm – Cool white LED bulbs are perfect for bathrooms (3,500 to 5,000 Kelvin).

Garages/Home Office: Consider installing cooler white bulbs in your garage and/or home office (4,000 Kelvin to 6,500 Kelvin).