Seeing the light – What color temperature light bulb should I choose?

Choosing a light bulb used to be easy; you just picked the wattage based on how bright of a bulb you wanted.  Nowadays, you can also choose light bulbs based on color temperature.

There are three different types of color temperature for light bulbs for your home:

Soft White(2700K – 3000K)
Bright White/Cool White (3500K – 4100K)
Daylight (5000K – 6500K)

Most people come to the store asking for “warm” light bulbs, as that is what they are used to calling them.  Warm light is the same thing as Soft White.

The color temperature gets whiter as you increase the Kelvin reading.   Kelvin, in this case, is a color measurement, not a temperature measurement.  Lights with high Kelvin values will seem brighter; however, the amount of Lumens does not change and brightness is not affected.  As the Kelvin reading decreases, the lighting will appear warmer.  Have you ever walked around your neighborhood at night and noticed how your neighbors lighting in their homes looks yellow?  This is from the Soft White, lower Kelvin light bulbs.

72968693 - 3000 4200 6400 kelvin temperature colours 3d rendering image

So which light bulb should you buy? It really depends on where you will be using it.  The Soft White bulbs may help make your bedroom warm and cozy, but it’s very impractical for in your bathroom when you are trying to apply makeup.  The following is a guide showing which bulb works best in different rooms.

Soft White/2700 Kelvin: Best for bedrooms, living rooms or any place where you want a warm, cozy feel.

Bright White/Cool White/4100 Kelvin: The best choice for kitchens, bathrooms or garages. They will give the room a white feel.

Daylight/5000 – 6500 Kelvin: Great for bathrooms, kitchens and basements.  This is the best lighting for reading, applying makeup or doing intricate projects.  This lighting provides the greatest contrast among colors.


Studies show that light bulbs emitting blue light waves cause people to produce serotonin, which make us stay focused and awake.  For this reason, this is the best choice for home offices and why they should not be used in bedrooms.  Bulbs that are warmer will allow for our brain to produce melatonin, which makes us relaxed, drowsy, and ready for a good night’s sleep.

GE makes a bulb, REVEAL®, which filters out yellow light to give you incredible color contrast, plus whiter whites for exceptional clarity.  It is perfect for detailed tasks and spaces such kitchens, bathrooms, and craft & hobby spaces where clarity matters most.CK3_3052

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