Cool or warm colour temperature?

Color temperature in landscape lighting

Cool or warm colour temperature? Your landscape lighting plan needs to have the right colour temperature. Learn about it will save you from making a mistake when choosing fixtures and bulbs for your outdoor lighting design. In simple terms, light is the result of heat. As we measure weight in kilograms, the measurement unit of colour temperature is Kelvin.

A large number of kilograms means the measured object is heavy. A low number means it’s easy to carry. Likewise, a high Kelvin number means “cool,” and a low number means “warm.” How does this information help us to get the best results in your landscape lighting? Imagine the sun at noon on a summer day. It’s giving off the most heat, therefore, the lightest. In this case, the colour is bright. It’s cool. It’s white.

Compare that to the sun at sunset. The sun is orange, the heat is relatively weaker, and the colour temperature is warm.

Colour temperature shown in nature
Colour temperature in nature

Let’s understand the difference between the colour temperature and colour rendering index. The colour temperature (CCT) is the result of heat quality. It indicates the level of bluish or yellow tint found in white light.

Grasp this and, you’ll understand the power of colour temperature in your low voltage landscape lighting system.

The colour rendering index (CRI) reveals accurate colours compared to incandescent light.

Colour rendering comparison (CRI)Colour rendering comparison

Which is the Best for your landscape lighting? Cool or warm colour temperature?

In most of our LED outdoor lighting installations in Vancouver, we use a “warm” colour temperature. It’s the most popular, and it has become the industry standard. Furthermore, the outdoor lighting fixtures available start from 2000K to 6500K.

It’s essential to keep a consistent colour temperature throughout your design plan. We recommend using the same colour temperature for your new and existing outdoor lighting, such as garden lights, pathway lights, post lights, ground lights, wall lights, and soffits lights. Otherwise, the end result will look uncomfortable and not cohesive.

Here is how we use the chart for outdoor lighting installations:

2200K: Very warm and similar to candlelight. One way to use it is for special romantic effects in patio or deck settings. This light is also close to the color of sodium lamps used in some streetlights.
2700K: Most commonly used in landscape lighting.
3000K: At this range, we consider the light as “warm” and bright enough for various illumination purposes.
4000K: Sometimes used for downlights from trees because it is similar in color to moonlight. Others prefer warmer colors for those lights.

Outdoor lighting in Vancouver
Outdoor lighting in Vancouver

Knowing the Kelvins is vital to determine the color temperature you want and, avoid getting the wrong lighting effect for your outdoor space.

Consequently, you’ll find that 2700K to 3500K is mainly used when you want to create a romantic atmosphere. Indoors, you’ll find that 3000K is perfect for a bedroom lamp. Finally, 4000K is ideal for kitchens, study rooms, and libraries.

Hospitals and large storage houses might use ranges between 4000K-5000K for added security and wide area coverage.

In general, think about the vibe you want to express.

Colour theory is complex with physics, psychology, and biology ideas.

We hope this blog post helped shed some light on the subject.

You’ll probably enjoy getting to know more about the different materials we use in our landscape lighting installations click here.