Color Temperature


Definition of Color Temperature

Color temperature is the warmth or coolness of visible light. It is measured in degrees of Kelvin (K), and typically ranges between 2000–6500 K.

A lower color temperature indicates a warmer, more yellowish light, while a higher color temperature indicates a cooler, bluish light.

To get a better understanding of color temperature, let’s consider the factors that impact it:

  • Light spectrum: Determines the wavelengths of light that the source emits. A light source with a more balanced and continuous spectrum will have a more accurate color temperature.
  • Light temperature: A hotter light source emits more blue light, while a cooler light source emits more red light.
  • Color of the light source: The color of the light source affects the color temperature because it determines the hue of the light. Light sources with different colors will have different color temperatures even if they have the same temperature and spectrum.

Color temperature affects how colors appear under light, as well as the overall ambiance and mood of a space.

In the table below we compare the effects and application of three main color temperature brackets.

Color Temperature in Kelvin Light Appearance Ideal Application
2700–4000 Cozy, warm white light with a yellowish tint that enhances red and orange tones in a space
  • Living rooms and lounges
  • Boat cabins
4000–5000 Neutral bright, white light that enhances all colors equally
  • Task lighting in workrooms, offices, boat decks, and bait boards
  • Accent lighting, where the color accuracy is crucial
5000–6000 Sterile, invigorating daylight with a bluish tint that enhances blue tones and flattens red tones
  • Industrial spaces
  • Boat engine rooms
  • White navigation lights, such as masthead and anchor lights

Example of Color Temperature in a Sentence

"The color temperature of the LED boat lights was carefully selected to create a warm and inviting atmosphere on board."

Related Terms for Color Temperature