Using a Single Color Temperature Throughout the Home
Does it make sense to use a consistent color temperature for every application? Our expert weighs in on what that should be.
 
warm lighting bathroom
A warmer color temperature LED, combined with a high CRI, can provide a very incandescent quality of light.
I'm sure this question has been asked before, but I need advice selecting the optimum color temperature for my 6-inch recessed LED lights for my newly built home. I need to buy approximately 80 fixtures, so I can't afford to make a mistake. I'd prefer to use a single color temperature for all, rather than going with different temperatures based on application. Can you provide any guidance about which color temperature to choose? And is my single-temperature preference even a sound decision in your opinion?

Yes, it is a frequently asked question, but I think it's an important one. LED products will last for a long time, longer than most marriages. You want to make sure you pick the right one. I recommend that you select a 2700K version. This is closest to the color of incandescent light at full brightness.

One thing that people are finding out as they are buying LED bulbs and fixtures with integrated LEDs is that they don't get warmer in color when they dim, which can be a little disconcerting since we are used to incandescent light getting more golden as you dial down the brightness. This is why I would recommend the warmer color temperature. There are some manufacturers such as the Juno WarmDim and the Nora ComfortDim, which are recessed fixtures that give the appearance of changing color when dimmed. You might consider a type like this as an option. If you haven't bought the housings yet, I would recommend that you go with the 4-inch-diameter cans instead of the 6-inch-diameter cans. The larger diameter is more suited to commercial installations.

Randall Whitehead lighting designer
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 and follow his blog www.lightmakesright.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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