Monday, December 4

You would have stood in the middle of the light bulb aisle at a hardware store, wondering which smart bulb color would suit your house best. However, the problem is that many bulbs’ colors sound very similar. Soft white, warm white, daylight, cool white, you might think isn’t white just white? You can also ask why do some “white” bulbs look yellow.

Soft White vs. Warm White: Which Should You Use in Your Smart Home?
Soft White vs. Warm White: Which Should You Use in Your Smart Home?

Don’t worry; this article will help you learn the color designations and also help examine which light bulb temperature is best for your home.

Light bulbs and their ratings

Not all light bulbs are the same, as they come in different base styles and wattages, that isn’t the only difference, they are also available in different brightness levels as well as color temperatures. However, choosing the right bulb does not need to be difficult.


The brightness of a light bulb is denoted by its lumen rating, i.e., the higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb will be. Yes, despite contrary beliefs there is such thing as too much light.

The actual problem with the question of how bright a room should be is that the answer is subjective. The effectiveness of a bulb is dictated by the size of the room, wall colors, light placement as well as other factors. So, understanding where to start with brightness can be perplexing.

Thankfully, Charlston Lights provides a lumen as well as a watts calculator for all the rooms in your home. To find out how many lumens a room requires-

  • Select the room
  • Enter the room dimensions and your preferred illumination intensity and placement, then choose between light and dark walls. 
  • Click Calculate, then the tool will tell you the total lumens you will require for that room.

Color temperature

Apart from brightness, the color of the bulbs should also be considered while purchasing. The temperature is typically denoted by a Kelvin rating (generally 2,700 to 6,500) and accompanied by a descriptive name, for example, soft white or daylight.

Below is a breakdown of light bulb color temperature:

Soft white (2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin) is warm and yellow, this is the typical color range you get when you use incandescent bulbs. This light gives a warm as well as cozy feeling, it is often best for living rooms, dens as well as bedrooms.

Warm white (3,000 to 4,000 Kelvin) is on the yellowish-white side. The warm white bulbs are best suited for kitchens and bathrooms.

Bright white (4,000 to 5,000 Kelvin) falls between white and blue tones. This is more of an energetic feel bulb than cozy, bulbs with this color range are best for workspaces (for example, a home office or garage) as well as kitchens with chrome fixtures.

Daylight (5,000 to 6,500 Kelvin) has a bluish tone, this light color maximizes contrast for colors, making it ideal for working, reading, or suitable for applying makeup.

Now that you know the details, think of what you normally do in that space and buy bulbs for that purpose, when choosing light bulbs for a room know what temperature you’d want.

To be put simply, you would probably want daylight bulbs by your vanity or soft white bulbs in your bedroom. You probably would not want daylight over the dining room table or soft white in the kitchen, it would not be comfortable or workable.

Analogy – Soft White vs. Warm White vs. Daylight Bulbs

The first thing you should know before you purchase a bulb is that each type of white bulb indicates a reference point on the Kelvin scale, as mentioned above. The scale signifies a bulb’s color temperature, the color temperature designation came from incandescent bulbs it is also referred to as the color of the metal element inside the bulb. As the temperate of the metal element increased inside the bulb, the light shifted from a yellowish glow to a bright bluish-white.

Thankfully, you do not need to know all of the science to understand how to read the color temperature of specific bulbs. What you have to know is that each Kelvin value indicates a level of “warmth” or it indicates “coolness,” the higher the value, the cooler or less yellow the bulb is.

At the low end of the spectrum are soft white as well as warm white bulbs. Soft white bulbs are generally measured at around 2,700 Kelvin. Whereas the warm white bulbs are a little less warm at about 3,000-4,000 Kelvin.

At the opposite end of the spectrum stay the cool white bulbs at around 4,000 Kelvin. The daylight bulbs, which are even less warm at 5,000-6,500 Kelvin, with these you can expect a bright, almost blue light that mimics the midday sun.

What is the Proper Light Temperature for your rooms?

Office Spaces/Garages: Office spaces or garages are the best places for cooler white bulbs. Using bulbs of this temperature will allow you to feel energetic when work has to be done.

Living Areas/Kitchens: These areas can be equipped with both soft and warm light. You would typically want your kitchen and living areas to feel comfortable as well as relaxing. Dimmer switches can be excellent in this context. Say, you are watching television in your living space, you might want to purchase a blue light-blocking screen protector for the TV. The protectors ensure that after binge-watching your favorite series, you will still be able to get a good sleep.

Bedrooms: Soft white bulbs are best for bedroom areas. Most incandescent bulbs are around the 3000K temperature range. Similar to living areas, bedrooms do not usually benefit from cooler temperature lights. However, say you have something like a vanity, then a few cool white bulbs can help you see contrast much better.

Bathrooms: Warm to cool white are best for your bathrooms. This temperature range is usually a personal preference, however, keep in mind that super cool bulbs are not always the best for this application. Cooler bulbs are great for makeup application, and blue light helps chrome fixtures pop. If you have a number of these fixtures in your bathroom or if you simply want the extra contrast that cooler bulbs provide, then go for them.

If you liked this article (or if it helped), leave a comment below or share it with friends so they can also know Soft White vs. Warm White: Which Should You Use in Your Smart Home?

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