Our Basic Guide for Understanding Light Color Temperatures


October 25, 2023

Daylight Savings Time concludes on November 5 and the Morrow Design Studios team is preparing for the colder, darker months ahead in the DC area. Setting up our lighting indoors is an essential change we make during this time of year. Whether you’re seeking ways to soothe your seasonal depression when it makes its debut or you just want a brighter home, here is a basic guide for understanding light color temperatures. 

First things first, light temperature is measured in degrees of Kelvin which typically ranges from 2000K (warmer) to 6500K (cooler) for residential and commercial lighting. A light bulb’s color temperature determines how warm or cool the light will appear. While there are a variety of light temperatures, we’ll focus on four that are commonly found in homes: Soft White, Warm White, Bright White and Daylight.

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Soft White 
Color Temperature: 2700K to 3000K
Feeling: Warm
Shade: Yellow
Best In: Bedroom, Living Room

Warm White 
Color Temperature: 3000K to 4000K
Feeling: Warm
Shade: Yellow White
Best In: Dining Room, Family Room

Bright White
Color Temperature: 3100K to 4500K
Feeling: Cool
Shade: Neutral White
Best In: Kitchen, Bathroom

Color Temperature: 4500K to 6500K
Feeling: Cool
Shade: Blue-White
Best In: Kitchen pendant lights, Home office tasks lights, Commercial spaces

As the season changes, consider swapping your softer lights in common areas like the kitchen and dining room to cooler color temperatures. Our team likes using bright white in common areas during the darker and cooler months to help maintain brightness in the home when the sun sets at 5pm. Then turn on the warm color temperatures in the living room and family room in the evening. This will create a warm and cozy vibe. And for an added bonus, light the fireplace or your favorite seasonal candle.

If our basic guide for understanding light color temperature was helpful, we invite you to share it with your loved ones.