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How to: select the right colour temperature for your scheme?

August 2018, by Gemma Snelling, Marketing Manager

Correlated Colour Temperature (CCT) describes how the colour (tone) of (white) light appears from a light source, measured in kelvins (K).


LED has opened up new options and possibilities for lighting specifiers. Colour temperatures can vary greatly and now we have tuneable white, where the colour temperature can be varied over time during the lit period. So, how do you go about selecting the appropriate colour temperature for your scheme?

This is a controversial topic, with calls for warmer LEDs to be used in residential areas, as colder colour temperatures COULD have an adverse effect on sleep cycles... The market appears to have standardised at 4000K, which is the most widely specified CCT, but when it comes to choosing your colour temperature, there really are no hard and fast rules. It all comes down to personal preference and the environment and space you want to create. 

Check out our quick guide:


6500K - a very cool white light, likened to daylight. Not typically used on outdoor applications, unless for decorative façade, feature or effect lighting. Good for high crime areas or on darkly coloured walls.

4000K – a standard neutral white, used for major road applications. The cooler white light provides clear vision for motorists and pedestrians on busy traffic routes. Good all-round light source for most colours and architectural finishes.

3000K – a warm white, popular in heritage lanterns and applications to mimic halogen lamps. Furthermore, 3000K emits less blue light, producing a more natural, warmer tone making facial recognition easier and vision clearer at night, which also makes it a great option for residential roads. Use on red brick front buildings or red coloured areas to ensure maximum feature lighting effects.

2700K – not commonly used – yet - but a warm relaxing light similar to incandescent lamps of old, which can be used to enhance warm tones in natural sandstone, for example, feature lighting of building façades.

If you need any further advice for your specific project, then please get in touch.


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