Before delving into the distinctions between 3000K and 3500K, it is beneficial to understand what lies behind this unit of measurement.
A degree of Kelvin is used to measure the color temperature of light, determining what the light color will look like. The overall Kelvin scale ranges from 1,000K to 10,000K.
On the extreme end of the Kelvin scale between 6500K and 11,000K, white light has a bluish hue. At the lowest end of 1000K to 2000K, light has an amber-orange shade.
In addition to the Kelvin number, we can match each scale rating with its corresponding description, such as warm white, neutral, cool white or daylight. These are not qualatative terms, but help describe the feeling the light will give.
The hue of light can dramatically affect how a space or an item appears when lit. That is why it’s essential to first identify the ideal color temperature and Kelvin number for any residential or commercial lighting project.
Despite 3000K and 3500K being closely related, there are subtle differences that should be considered.
3000K is regarded as warm white, giving off a yellowish hue. This type of light is soothing and inviting, making it ideal for bedrooms, living rooms, and other spaces that need to feel cozy.
3500K is closer to neutral white with a hint of blue. It mimics natural sunlight and is perfect for offices, bathrooms, and other spaces that need to appear brighter. This color temperature is also better for tasks that require precision and clarity such as reading.
The distinct differences between 3000K vs 4000K, 3000K vs 5000K and 3000K vs 2700K, are also helpful to consider when selecting the right lighting for your project.
3000K is regarded as warm white, giving off a yellowish hue bu not as orange as 2700K. This type of light is soothing and inviting yet functional, making it ideal for bathrooms, kitchens, and other spaces that need to feel inviting but not too relaxed..
3500K is a blend between a 3000K warm white and a 4000K cool white, including a little more blue in the white light mix than the 3000K, becoming a neutral white as it’s exactly half way between the two.
In context to the whole Kelvin scale, both 3000K and 3500K are regarded as warm whites, before the intermediate cool white 4000K and above become cold whites and daylight color temperatures.
If you are looking to create an inviting atmosphere, 3000K is the perfect color temperature for your space. Offering up a hint of yellow, this warm hue will bring out the natural beauty of wood tones without introducing the richer warm tones of 2700K.
A 3000K warm white is best used for:
3000K is certainly on the warm-white end of the spectrum and its light closely resembles that of a now obsolete but once widely used tungsten halogen bulb.
Despite not being as yellow-hued in comparison to a 2700K light fixture, 3000K still gives off warm tones of white more natural and comforting than that created by cooler commercial lights.
3500K is when the color temperatures start to enter a more neutral white without becoming a cool white. This is ideal for kitchens with white colored cabinetry, bathrooms and utlitiy rooms.
A 3500K warm white is best used for:
3500K is an ideal temperature that offers a balanced blend of color, not too yellow and not too blue.
Brightness is a description of how much light is created, so 3500K could become too bright when a high percentage of it is reflected back into the room off of shiny white surfaces.
It’s neutral tone gives an impression of being brighter compared to 3000K as it contains more blue in the white light mix and looks cooler. Cooler light feels brighter.
All lighting is subjective to the users, but for most, 3500K is a suitable choice that gives the lighting an effective and natural quality.
3500K is however a less commonly found color of white chosen for within lighting fixtures, but it can always be created within tuneable white products, such as from smart light bulbs.
As consultants, we consider 3500K too bright when it is used for ambient lighting, as it gives off a more clinical and artificial feel.
For general use in the home, we suggest 3000K instead.
Overall, both 3000K and 3500K offer different advantages depending on what kind of atmosphere you are trying to create in your space. However, they are still considered warm whites on the Kelvin scale, with cooler temperatures found at the
It depends on the overall color of the kitchen cabinetry.
For a white kitchen, a whiter cooler light will illuminate the surfaces with a colder temperature, emphasising the white contemporary aesthetic.
Warmer toned cupboards and walls in a kitchen will benefit from a warmer 3000K to maintain the same atmosphere throughout.
The choice of 3500K or 3000K will be based on personal preference, but typically warmer tones are used for kitchen lighting as it is a place for comfort and relaxation.
For task orientated areas such as utility rooms, craft rooms and offices, a cooler 3500K is better for creating an impression of clarity from the light.
Ultimately, the decision between 3000K or 3500K comes down to personal preference and how much warmth or coolness you want in your space. Consider your own tastes as well as the environment around you before making a decision.
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