Lighting is one of the most influential aspects of a home environment. There are various options of white light to choose from, so here we discuss the differences between the white light colors of 4000K vs 5000K to help you determine the best choice for your space.
To understand their differences, you first need to understand that color temperature is a way to describe the light given off by a bulb in terms of how warm or cool it appears.
A color temperature is a specific measurement designed to let you know the relative warmth or coolness of colors of white light.
So a white light color is given a number on a scale of degrees of kelvin, which pinpoints the degree of warmth of the white color and allows you to choose the light or product for its intended purpose.
When it comes to choosing between 4000K and 5000K, the key difference is in the color of the white light.
As they emit light at two different temperatures that have a direct impact on the appearance of everything around them and the subsequent mood of the room, so it’s VERY important to choose the right color of white for your space.
A 4000K color temperature looks clean and modern but can feel harsh and sterile in the wrong environment.
A cool white is preferable if you are either working or playing in an environment that requires clear sightlines and good detail recognition for accurate quality perception, such as when painting, reading a book or cooking.
This is the most popular choice for offices, shops and other commercial spaces where a bright light is required but you do not want to enhance warm tones such as wood or earthy wall coverings.
The blue tone will give more of an impactful look that makes objects stand out which can be good for highlighting features of your room but not so good if you want to create a warm atmosphere.
In general, 4000K lights are more suitable for:
Let’s take a look at some common situations where you might need to choose which one works best, as sometimes a combination of both works too.
A 5000K color temperature is mid-way up the kelvin scale which ranges from 1000K to 10,000K.
It is a cold white light that can appear bluish in tone and is sometimes described as almost daylight. This makes it a good choice for task lighting where you need to see clearly such as in a home office, workshop or when carrying out detailed work.
In general, 5000K lights are used in:
The amount of light that is delivered to create brightness is measured in lumens. The more lumens created, the brighter the light will be. Therefore, true brightness quantified by light output is not dependent on the color of white light.
However, the visible impression of brightness is dependent on the color temperature, so although 4000K and 5000K both emit a bright light, the 5000k will feel slightly brighter than 4000K. This is because it emits more blue light which is at the higher end of the visible spectrum.
Wattage used to be the measurement of light output but with the development of energy-saving light bulbs such as LED, it is no longer an accurate way to compare brightness.
For general ambient lighting, a 4000K light will create a fresh, modern feel whereas a 5000K will appear brighter but more clinical.
The use of 5000K in residential kitchens is not as common as 4000K but it can work well, especially in large kitchens with plenty of natural light coming in.
If you have a small kitchen or want to create a warm and inviting atmosphere then 2700K or 3000K would be more suitable. These lower color temperatures will make the space feel cozier and highlight any earthy tones in the room.
If you are looking for task lighting over a kitchen island or worktop then 4000K is a good choice for under cabinet lighting as it will give you plenty of light to work with without washing out the color of food.
LED strip lights can come in 4000K to provide good task lighting without being too harsh. It is not common to get them in 5000K but this might be a bit too cold for some people.
If you are lighting up the outside of your home then a 4000K light will give a good, bright light that will make it easier to see in the dark.
A 5000K light will also work well but may appear too harsh in some environments. This is why most security lights have a color temperature of neutral white light of 4000K.
For accent lighting outdoors choose light fixtures that have warmer whites.
To sum up, each color temperature has its advantages and it depends on your personal preference and the type of space you are working with as to which one you choose.
If you are still unsure, why not try out a few different bulbs in your space and see which one works best for you?
Looking at a common photometric comparison of lumens with footcandles, light output vs illuminance, see the difference and relationship between the two.
A comparison between 4000K vs 5000K, which color of white light is best for you? Full explanation and pro tips to choose the correct LED color temperature.
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