Choosing the best color temperature for landscape lighting is important as different color temperatures may provide an unpleasant effect.
The measurement of color temperature refers to the amount of yellowish or bluish tint to white light. High temperature colors are bluish, while low temperatures are yellowish. Human vision can compensate for these tints and sees both low and high color temperatures lights as white. They look the same when they are side-by-side.
A Short History of Color Temperature
William Kelvin, a late 1800s chemist, experimented with heat as well as a block carbon to measure color temperature. William Kelvin observed that the carbon produced a variety of colors when heated. As the carbon block heated up, the colors began to change. The warmer the light, the lower the temperature.
The light at the beginning of the experiment was dimly red. As the temperature increased, it changed from yellow to white to finally becoming bright blue-white. The carbon’s energy use was the reason for the color change. Lower temperatures resulted in most of the energy being converted to heat. Higher temperatures, however, converted the energy into light.
What Is the Significance of Color Temperature?
Differences in color temperature can have a significant impact on how colors are rendered and the overall mood and emotional impact of a space or environment. On the Kelvin color temperature scale, lighting that is described as cool or warm is actually the exact opposite.
Warm lights are thought to have a lower color temperature than cool lights. A lower Kelvin number indicates that the light source is more yellow, while higher Kelvin numbers indicate that the light source is whiter or brighter. The industry term “warm and cool lighting” doesn’t refer only to the lighting color but also the psychological characteristics.
The color temperature of a bulb is often an aesthetic decision that depends on the application and location. There are many color options for LED bulbs, from cool bright whites to warm reds. Below is a list of popular LED lighting colors and their most common applications.
- Very Warm White (2200K). This is the lowest color temperature possible for white light (anything lower is yellow light!). This is also known as candlelight and it’s used in romantic settings, such as around outdoor fireplaces or hot tubs. It’s also similar to High Pressure Sodium (HPS), which is commonly used for street lighting, and less frequently for 120v moonlighting.
- Warm White (2700K). It is similar to halogen-type landscape lighting. It is more soothing and welcoming than higher temperatures.
- Warm or natural white (3000K). Landscape lighting professionals prefer this temperature, which is noticeably cooler than 2700K. It can enhance the greens and blues of vegetation.
- Cool White (4000K). This is a very bluish color compared to 2700K. It can sometimes be used to illuminate blue vegetation (like blue spruce). It can also be used to simulate the moonlight (4200K).
How Can I Choose the Right Color Temperature for Outdoor Lighting?
Let’s now look at how to choose the best color temperature for landscape lighting. It all depends on what your goals are for your space. Understanding how color temperatures can be matched to your needs will help you make the right color choices for outdoor lighting.
The Best Color Temperature Tips for Landscape Lighting
You can make your home or business look amazing during the day and still have that beautiful landscape after dark. If you choose the right color temperature, you won’t lose the beauty. To accent plants in the landscape, you can use slightly cooler colors (generally 3000k-4000k). Use downlighting to create the moonlighting effect. This is where the sun shines down on trees from a higher place. The 4000k color temperature is the best for moonlighting. It closely resembles natural moonlight.
The Best Lighting Options for Your Home’s Facade
Lighting your exterior after dark can add ambiance and security. The best way to prevent potential thieves from entering your home or business is by using exterior lighting. However, there is a delicate balance. Too bright lighting can draw more attention to your home’s valuable contents and attracts less attention. Warmer colors are best for architectural elements (between 2500k-2700k), but cool whites between 5500k-6000k can be used to provide greater security.
When Is It Appropriate to Use Warm Lighting Outdoors?
The primary kelvin range for residential outdoor lighting is 2500k-4000k. It is a good rule of thumb to use warm colors between 2500k-2700k for architectural elements and keep trees and plants at cooler temperatures between 3000k-4000k.
This is a flexible option. While you can get a little warmer in lighting areas where you entertain regularly, it is best to avoid cool lighting in these areas. Cool lighting can turn off guests, make architectural elements look unnatural, and reduce the home’s “curb appeal”. Yikes.
When Is It Appropriate to Use Cool Lighting Outdoors?
Neutral white light is best if you want to highlight the natural beauty and colors of your plants. We recommend a higher kelvin range, between 3000k and 4000k.
Plants that are illuminated with a higher kelvin level light source will appear more natural. White outdoor lighting is especially helpful for plants looking more natural at night.
When lighting up your garden from the top, why not use structures such as trees and trellises? This will replicate the natural moonlight color and is often called “moonlighting”.
Color temperature is a scale used to define the warmness or coolness of white light. You should consider the importance of color temperature when purchasing landscape lighting. That’s where LD Lighting can help. We’ve compiled the best color temperatures for landscape lighting for every homeowner’s needs.
Services We Offer
As the best landscape lighting company, we promise to give you the best quality of work and bring your ideas to life. We offer services in:
- Screen Enclosure Lighting
- Landscape Lighting
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We offer other quality products as well.
- String Lighting
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- And our new Hex Grid Lighting
Color temperature is probably the most important factor you need to consider when choosing the best color temperature for landscape lighting. Contact LD Lighting to learn more.