Chances are you know about color temperatures, or how to set the mood on a romantic date by dimming the lights. Time and time again restaurants lower lighting to encourage you to eat more, because some psychological study was published showing increased appetite and spending during evening hours. The question is, what color lighting should you be using for your business?
We compiled a list of different businesses and typical suggestions for replacement lighting, and if the replacement lights are LED you can increase efficiencies to save money. Check out these tips and if you are curious about a lighting replacement project contact us, and we will help guide you in the right direction while also providing tips on how to get free bulbs or project audit.
The Scale of Color Temperatures
A good point of reference is that the sun at mid-day measure 5780 Kelvin. If you look at that on the scale of color temperatures, that is already getting into the bluish range. So, what you perceive to be white light actually has a bit of a blue tint. Typical household lamps use bulbs in the 2000-3000 Kelvin range, and you probably consider them to be white as well. A candle registers at 1900K, so you can see how the glow of fire emits a warm white light. Keep in mind, these are all shades of white light.
The natural color temperatures that we see throughout the day produced by the sun vary from warm to cool. The early and late sunlight is low on the color temperatures scale emitting a warm orange glow. The sunlight that we see in the middle of the day is actually a cool blue color temperature.
Recent studies show that there are positive health effects when artificial lighting mimics the natural color temperatures of the sun throughout the day. This explains the choices for many of the color temperature recommendations we make in this post. Warmer light is used in the living room because we often spend our time there in the mornings and evenings. We use cooler light in the workplace because we are there most often during the middle of the day. Essentially, we want to match the natural rhythm of the sun. However, there are some special cases that call for special color temperatures.
Ranges of Color Temperatures & Their Applications
Now let's take a look at some typical color temperature ratings that you might see while shopping for lighting products. For each range, we will suggest some applications where they are most appropriate. One again, these are just suggestions. We suggest that warm lighting is appropriate for restaurants. However, what if your restaurant had an ice theme because it is known for chilled drinks? Cooler color temperature lighting might be appropriate to give an arctic ambiance. Your space is your canvas! Do as you please.
2700K - Warm White - Intimate, Cozy, Personal
This is the light that you are probably most familiar with seeing around the home. The warm glow is reminiscent of the sunset or a flame. Common applications would be:
Living rooms are made for relaxation, and you are probably going to be needing the lights on mostly in the evenings after the daylight is no longer illuminating the room. This calls for warm and cozy light, so look for light sources around 2700K.
For the most part, restaurants want to create an inviting and intimate environment. That is why they most often choose warmer light sources with dimmers, so they can adjust the lighting throughout the evening. Some will even opt for a warmer color temperature to mimic candlelight.
The primary mission of a hotel is to make you feel at home, so it is no surprise to see they use a similar color temperature to what you might use in your living room. Warmer temperatures provide cozier atmospheres, which is why 2700K is a great choice for the hospitality industry.
3000K - Soft White - Warm, calming
If you still want a relaxing ambiance but may need a bit more clarity in your environment, bump it up to 3000K. These light levels are still for residential areas but typically where you are completing tasks.
A bathroom is still a place in your home where you might want warm light levels, but slightly higher so that you can see what you are doing and see a brighter reflection in the mirror. You would not want to miss that poppy seed stuck in your teeth! For that reason, we recommend 3000K in bathrooms.
While a kitchen is a gathering place in your home justifying warm color temperatures, it is also a workshop for your culinary talents. A color temperature that is not quite as warm as the living room helps you to see the true color of the food in front of you. This helps you make sure that chicken is cooked all the way through when you pull it from the oven.
4000K - Cool White - Precise, clean, focused
Sometimes, a warm and cozy environment is not desired. When you need precision and the ability to see your subject clearly, cool white lighting is ideal. These color temperatures are going to be 4000K.
Keep your employees alert yet relaxed using one of these neutral color temperatures. The light will be white enough to keep them from falling asleep without torturing them under a blue light all day long.
If you are using your garage as a work space, you will want to use clean crisp lighting. This will bring clarity to any project you are working on and create the safest working environment.
Compared to a clothing retail store, grocery stores typically opt for a slightly higher color temperature. This creates a better environment for examining foods and also makes the colors pop to make packaging more appealing.
5000K - Bright White - Vibrant, Crisp
When you really need to see precise details and keep areas clean, bright white is required. These colors are vibrant and crisp, often around 5000K color temperature.
Proper lighting in a warehouse contributes to efficiency and productivity for employees. Adequate light levels are also usually required by OSHA regulations, and crisp white light is ideal. This is not the area to set an ambiance. Warehouses need the brightest light they can afford.
Sports stadiums across the country are replacing their lighting with LED technology. High-definition broadcasting has almost become a standard now, and that clarity relies on high quality lighting. HD cameras will be able to pick up subtle details better when the light is crisp white.
Another industry where perfectly crisp lighting is a necessity is the healthcare industry. When you are up on the operating table, your doctor is going to want the purest white lighting possible so that they can make the most objective decisions about your body... and where to cut next.
Choosing the lights for your business can be difficult, and that's where a consultant comes in. We're here to refine your purchasing strategy and source LED Lighting upgrades so you don't have to!