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Everything You Need to Know About Bulb Colors

Posted on December 22 2020

Not only can bulb style affect your fixture but also color temperature. The color temperature of a bulb can contribute to the look and functionality a fixture. Take the time to thoughtfully select light bulbs for your fixture that will result in a cohesive look and enhance the overall appeal.

How do you do that? By following this guideline

What Is Color Temperature?

Color temperature describes the warmth or coolness of a light source. Essentially color temperature scales allow us to describe the light color like Amber, Yellow, White, Blue, and every hue in-between.

Color Temperature Scale


What Color Bulbs Do I Use?

Warm Bulbs
These bulbs range in color temps of 3,000 Kelvins to 1,000 Kelvins. Warm bulbs have a more reddish hue. These warm bulbs are typically used in households.

Areas of the Home to Use Warm Bulbs

Warm bulbs are typically used in living rooms, bedrooms, and entertainment spaces as these are more flattering for clothes and various skin tones.

What Are Amber Bulbs?

Warm bulbs that are classified as Amber Bulbs have color temperatures of 2,700K or below. Amber Bulbs are typically associated with Edison style bulbs and the color Edison-style bulbs emit.

Cool Bulbs

Climbing the scale of color temperature, the higher we go the cooler the light color appears. 4,000 Kelvin to 6,000 provide a cool white-blue light, while higher temperature lights 7,000 kelvins and above offer lighting with blue hues. Once more common in industrial and commercial settings, “cool” bulbs are being used more and more in residential settings like kitchens, baths, and home-offices due to its high contrast.

As a general rule of thumb color temperatures of 2,700–3,600 Kelvin is general range that is recommended for most indoor applications.

How Bulb Color Temperature Affects Light Fixtures

Color Bulbs On White Shade

Let's compare the affect of bulb color temp and color on this Opal Glass Flush Mount.

 Warm Bulb (2700K) Cool Bulb (4000K)
Gives a yellow-orange tinge to the opal glass shade when lit. Emits a cooler, white-blue light and doesn't distort the color of the opal glass shade.


The difference in bulb color temperature can thus greatly affect the color of the fixture, style of the space, and the mood.

Lights on off

Let's compare the affect of a warm bulb on this Modern White Shade Flush Mount.

 Unlit Lit
Fixture has a clean crisp white look. Using a warm bulb, the shade has a creamy off-white appearance.


Using If you have a fixture with a white shade, the color temperature of the bulb is definitely something to consider.

At the end of the day, you want to be satisfied with the appearance of your fixture at all times, day or night.

While you would like your fixture to have the flexibility to achieve different moods, sometimes it is too much to ask of one fixture. If you're set on achieving more dynamic lighting in your space, we suggest layering your lighting.