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Colour Temperature Explained

Colour Temperature Explained: Which Lighting Colours Work Best in Different Areas of Your Home or Business?

colour temperature downlight

Colour temperature is one of the most important aspects to consider when designing a room because it has a huge impact on the mood you want to create.

It might seem like a small detail but its important for the colour temperature of your light to match what people are required to do in a specific space.

For example, you wouldn’t want cozy lighting in an office where people are required to stay alert. On the other hand, cozy light is perfect for a spa, where people may want to relax.

The appearance of light from a light source can be classified as “warm” or “cold”.  Some examples of warm light are red, yellow, orange, and warm white. This type of lighting has a very low temperature.

On the other hand, some examples of cold light are white or blue. This lighting type has a higher temperature range.

If you are choosing the lighting sources for your property, it is a good idea to understand the differences between warm light and cold light in order to make a more informed choice. 

We have created this quick guide to help you understand more about choosing the right colour temperature. 

What is the best way to determine the colour temperature of a lighting fixture?

Colour temperature is expressed through something called Kelvin rating. The lower the Kelvin rating, the warmer the light. On the other hand, the higher the Kelvin rating, the cooler the light.

Warm white light bulbs measure between 2,000 to 3,500 Kelvins, and are perfect for creating cozy and inviting spaces. 

Cool light bulbs sit somewhere between 3,500 to 4,800 Kelvins, and work best in work spaces and kitchens

Daylight temperature can measure up to 6,500 Kelvins. Strong and crisp, daylight lighting is ideal for offices, warehouses, and security lighting around your home. 

Why is it important to choose the right colour temperature?

It is important to choose the right colour temperature because it can have a big impact on the look and feel of your space. 

Offices, warehouses & commerical spaces require bright light temperatures, sitting at around 4,000-5,000 Kelvins. This will help improve productivity and alertness of staff working in the area.

On the other hand, a lounge or cafe would require warm light to help people relax, chat and settle in. A colour temperature of around 2000 to 2700 Kelvins would be perfect for creating the right atmosphere. 

What should be the ideal colour temperature in different areas of your home?

More than just having an impact on aesthetics and the illumination of your home, the colour temperature of your downlights and gloves can also affect things like your sleep patterns, mood, alertness, and productivity. 

Here are some recommended colour temperatures that can help promote the right effects in some rooms around the home: 


It is best to choose a warmer, softer light in the bedroom because it is a place of rest and sleep. A light fixture, such as a ceiling mounted Oyster light, with a rating of 2700 to 3700 Kelvins works best in creating an atmosphere that is conducive to rest and relaxation. Some people use a cooler lighting temperature in their bedside lamp, as a task light, for reading at nighttime. 

Living Room

In most homes, the living room is typically the central place of gathering. It is a busy area that accommodates a wide variety of activities. For this reason, a lighting fixture of around 3800 to 4500 Kelvins is recommended. This is a soft and neutral range that’s great for creating a beautiful and livable space. Pendant lights are popular in living areas, where are range of globes are available to suit the decor and lighting requirements of the space. 


The kitchen is a very busy area. You need adequate lighting to make it efficient and functional, often using downlights or spotlights. Lighting fixtures in the kitchen should sit somewhere between 4,000-5,000 Kelvins. This will give off a brighter light with a cleaner effect. Don’t forget to take into account the natural lighting in your kitchen when choosing your lighting fixture. 


The lighting in your bathroom is very important because this is where you would spend time getting ready for the day. It’s a good idea to choose lighting fixtures sitting at around 3,600-4,200 Kelvins to make it bright enough but still somewhat soothing. You can also add bright white task lighting, for example around the vanity or mirror, to provide sufficient light when shaving or applying makeup.

Can’t pick the right colour temperature? Try colour changing technology (CCT)

Colour Changing Technology LED lights (CCT) provide the option to interchange between shades directly through the LED panel. This option allows you to have more control over the lighting without having to change the globe. You can just choose from a range of pre-set temperatures so that the lighting can match your exact needs. You can start your day with a cooler temperature to help wake you up and end your evening with a warmer temperature to help you wind down. 

Looking for the right lighting for your home, office or business?

Browse our wide selection of various lighting fixtures and take your pick from some of Australia’s top brands. Here at Discount Lighting, we have over 4,000 lighting fixtures to choose from. If you need help choosing the right lighting for your home or business, send us a message! Our friendly lighting experts would love to help you out!
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