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Inspiration & Tips/Tips/Choosing the right light bulb – colour temperature & lumen
Choosing the right light bulb is important for the feeling in your home - here we see the effect of two different colour temperatures in two different lamps.

Choosing the right light bulb – colour temperature & lumen

Once you have found the right lamp, the not-so-simple task of choosing the right light bulb for it still remains. Choosing the right colour temperature and lumen is crucial for the feeling of well-being in your home, so we have taken a closer look at the concepts of kelvin and lumen and written a handy guide for you so you can find the best light bulb for your favourite lamp.
Thursday 16th September 2021
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Choose the right light bulb - E27 lamp from Muuto with light bulb with 2500K on a side table.

The colour temperature of a bulb is measured in Kelvin. For a warmer, more atmospheric glow, you should have a lower Kelvin degree between 2200K - 2500K. Here you see the E27 lamp in blue from Muuto.

WHAT IS THE KELVIN SCALE?

Colour temperature is measured in kelvin and indicates the colour of the light emitted from a light bulb, whether it is warm or cold light. Which colour temperature you choose has a direct effect on the feeling in a room, it is therefore worth learning more about the Kelvin Scale. Did you know, for example, that you should invest in a light bulb with 2700K - 3000K if you want a warm white and versatile light in your home? The colour temperature determines how the eye perceives white light. A high Kelvin number means a colder light, while a lower number gives a warmer and more atmospheric glow.

Choosing the right bulb - Illustration of the Kelvin scale with temperature from 2200K - 5000K.

The Kelvin scale – the colour temperature of a bulb is important for the atmosphere in your home, and it is therefore worth to taking an extra look at before you choose a light bulb.

WHICH COLOUR TEMPERATURE SHOULD I CHOOSE?

When choosing a colour temperature, the function of the lamp is a great place to start. A functional light, for example, requires a higher colour temperature, while the optimal mood lighting has a lower temperature grade. The most common colour temperatures you may encounter when choosing a light bulb are listed below:

2200K-2500K:

A very warm light with an almost pink tone. This type of light works very well for mood lighting but might be perceived as too warm for general lighting. Candles, for example, have a Kelvin temperature of around 2200K, which is also the temperature that gives off the cosiest light in a room.

2700K–3000K:

A warm, pleasant light that has a yellowish tone. Light sources within this temperature range are well suited for functional and general lighting in most rooms such as kitchens, halls and living rooms.

4000K:

A neutral, crisp light that mimics daylight. This light works very well for functional lighting such as a table lamp in the home office or for a makeup lamp in the bathroom. This colour temperature can be experienced as cold and blue in a home environment and is not the right temperature if you want a cosier atmosphere.

5600K:

A neutral light with the same temperature as daylight. In a home environment, however, this light is very cold and is therefore rarely used in light sources in the home. However, it is a common colour temperature in public environments such as workplaces and shops.

One tip is to make sure you have a variety of light sources with different colour temperatures, you will then be able to easily adapt the light to your needs. However, always remember to choose the same colour temperature for lamps that you plan to light at the same time, it will give the room a more uniform feeling.

Choosing the right light bulb - Flowerpot lamp and Reflector lamp from Verpan illustrate lamps of 2700K and 3000K.

On the left, Flowerpot VP3 table lamp from &Tradition with 2700K and on the right the Reflect lamp from Verpan with 4000K.

Choosing the right light bulb - Pump table lamp from Woud with white light shows a light source of 4000K.

Do you want a white, cold light? Then you should go up to the Kelvin scale to 4000K, but our top tip is to combine this type of bulb with a lamp and a lampshade for a more diffused light. Here you see Pump table lamp from Woud.

When choosing the right light bulb it is important to make sure you choose the same colour temperature for all the lamps you will have lit at the same time to give a uniform feeling, such as here in the living room.

Tip: choose the same colour temperature for lamps you know will be lit at the same time - it gives the room a more uniform look and feel. Here you will find lamps from Gubi, Menu, &Tradition and Fritz Hansen.

WHAT IS LUMIN?

Lumen describes the brightness of the bulb and is the new standard for light bulbs, mainly LED bulbs. Watt, which was previously used for older light bulbs, is often mistaken as a measure of brightness but is actually a measure of energy use. When LED lights entered the market, Lumen began to be used as a standard for brightness instead.

To put it simply, more lumen means more light. When choosing a light bulb for functional or general lighting, you should start with a bulb with a higher lumen, preferably between 400 - 806 lumens, but it is possible to go higher. Mood lighting, on the other hand, should have between 220 - 360 lumens for the ideal soft glow. Another tip for creating the perfect cosy atmosphere is to have more lamps with weaker lumens and have them lit at the same time.

  • Functional lighting should have a lumen between 806 - 1520.
  • General lighting should have between 400 - 470 lumens.
  • Mood lighting should have between 220 - 360 lumens.

If the difference between watts and lumens feels confusing, here is a conversion table for the two concepts:

Watt to lumen conversion table by Nordic Nest.

Do you find watts & lumens confusing? The lumen measures the brightness, so to put it simply a higher lumen number means more light.

A light bulb in the hand of a woman.

Choosing the right light source is not always easy but start with your home, your needs, and the atmosphere you want to create.

Regardless of which light source you choose, it is important that you find one that suits you and your home. We hope you are now ready to find the right bulb for your new lamp.

Text: Angeliqa Daldorph  Styling: Lukas Kunwaryanto, Anna Magnusson Photography & illustrations: Angeliqa Daldorph

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