White light is not always white – and the various shades of blue to yellow to red it casts plays a big role in the design of a space. Here are a few tips and rules to help you make white light a design element inside and out:
Know The Numbers
LED lighting is available in color variants that are classified in Color Temperature (CCT) or Color Rendering Index (CRI). Color Temperature defines the color of light; CRI defines how that light makes colors in the room look.
CRI is measured on a scale of 0 to 100 – the closer to 100, the better colors will look. Higher CRI numbers bring out the vibrancy of each color and tone. You always want to choose a fixture with a CRI above the mid-80s. A CRI of 70 can be used in non-color sensitive areas, such as coves, tray ceilings and toe-kick lighting.
The most commonly used color temperatures are 2700K, 3000K and 4000K. A color temperature that matches the environment will bring out the richness of each tone. Conversely, using warmer light on cool surroundings or cool light on warm elements will result in unappealing grey overtones.
•Use 2700K if the area being lit contains wood, earth tones, beige neutrals, yellow, orange or brown.
•Use 3000K if the space contains stainless steel, black, white, grey neutrals, blue, purple or deep reds.
•4000K is not recommended for task or general illumination inside North American homes. It will feel cold and somewhat unwelcoming.