Consistent Color Temperature in Open Floor Plans
Should an adjoining kitchen, dining and living space maintain the same light quality throughout?
 
We are replacing our 6-inch can light bulbs in our condo with Cree CR6 LED bulbs. We currently have 2700K light bulbs throughout and are struggling with how to handle our kitchen lighting. The kitchen has a white backsplash and countertop. The 2700K makes it look yellow. Is it okay to have 3500K or 4000K in the kitchen and 2700K in the living room and dining room? All three rooms are connected. My wife wants to know if we should use 3500K in the kitchen and then use 3000K in the rest of the house.
I think that your wife is on to something. What about using 3000K throughout the house? 3000K will make your countertops look whiter than under the 2700K and the light isn't so cool that it is unflattering to skin tones. I think it is good idea to take some of these color temperatures home to see what they look like in your countertops as well as on your skin tones. You may find that you are comfortable with 3500K in the kitchen and 3000K in the rest the house. It is also possible that the countertops in your home, compared to the rest the lighting, might look like someone who's over-whitened their teeth.
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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I like 3000K all round the

I like 3000K all around the house. Crisper and more true than 2700K without getting blue or industrial looking. Trouble is, the market per Home Depot and Walmart sell only 2700K (Soft White) and 5000K (Daylight) LED lights. You have to go to Lowes and other retailers to find 3000K. Is this another Beta vs VHS competition?

Color is Everything

Everyone has their own idea of what the optimal color of white lighting that works best for them. If 3000° Kelvin works for you then you are ahead of the game. Most people just don't know what color of light suits them. The big-box stores have buyers who are relying on the lighting business, so they are often swayed by what the salespeople tell them are the best bulbs to stock. It sounds like you found where your particular color temperature is stocked, so once again, you're ahead of the game. In a perfect world, all the retailers would offer at least three different color temperatures, all with a CRI of 90 or higher. I wouldn't touch a light bulb that has a low CRI. They are just not worth the investment.

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