Image credit: Sunco Lighting
Office lighting plays a huge role in building the tone and personality of your workspace. Different lighting types can be used to illuminate different areas of the building depending on their intended purposes. This is determined by the office lighting color temperature, which basically means how warm or cool the light is. Interior lights that are too dim or too bright create an unfavorable ambiance that makes it difficult to work because of the added strain on the eyes. At the right color temperature, you can have ideal interior lighting that both celebrates your theme and is conducive to workplace productivity. In this article, we will discuss how to choose the right lighting for your office by checking one key product specification – the color temperature.
Office Lighting Color Temperature
In lighting products, correlated color temperature (CCT) – or simply color temperature – refers to the color of light emitted by an LED bulb. It is defined as warm lighting for amber or yellow colors and cool lighting for blue tones.
Measured in kelvins (K), the color temperature of a light source can be represented on a kelvin scale that stretches from 1000K (warm) to 10,000K (cool). So, lower kelvins represent warm/yellow lighting, whereas higher kelvins represent cool/blue lighting. For reference, you can think of a candlelight flame and a blue sky as the two extremes on this spectrum. Therefore, when talking about the office lighting color temperature, we are actually referring to how yellow or blue the ambient lighting is – and this is all about the primary overhead or ceiling lights that illuminate the general workspace for everyone to use.
The ideal office lighting color temperature is between 3500K to 5500K depending on what area of the office building you are lighting up. Color temperatures less than 3500K are too relaxing and cozy for an office setting, whereas those above 5500K can be too blue and uncomfortable for workplace ambiance – both are counterproductive in terms of office efficiency as too-dim or too-bright lights only hinder your focus and make it difficult to work. So, between 3500K and 5500K, you can find the perfect lighting options that look great and help your employees perform greater. For home offices, you can choose a primary color temperature of around 3500K and even opt for some secondary lighting using desktop lamps and LED strips.
The above range is the general recommended color temperature range for all offices. There is no single value that you can use to illuminate your whole office building because different rooms and areas inside the building require different lighting tones for both functional and aesthetic reasons. Warmer hues around 3500K are ideal for reception areas, cafés, and break rooms as they emit a soft glow and create a more relaxing environment. You can also use slightly cooler tones in these areas, so the choice here is flexible depending on corporate preferences.
However, for the main office space, workstations, conference rooms, and private offices, it is best to use cooler neutral tones between 4000K to 5000K to set a more serious, professional, and work-ready atmosphere. This is the optimum range for illuminating areas where you actually work and need to focus, so anything below will make you feel sleepy at work and anything above will add more strain on your eyes. Offices that do not consider color temperature compatibility with the main workspace fail to create a productive environment for their employees. It is a small aspect to consider when planning and designing an office but has all the power to make or break your corporate goals.
LED lighting is perfect for offices in terms of both style and energy efficiency. At the recommended office lighting color temperature range, you will find various LED options like flat panel lighting, linear pendant lights, and LED tubes that you can install based on the layout and design of your office. For example, linear pendant lights pair well with open-concept offices that have high ceilings. Likewise, flat-panel LEDs are made for drop-ceiling installations and are also ideal for open office layouts that require generous illumination.
These lighting fixtures have very seamless and neat designs that lend themselves to the professionalism of an office space – with the added benefit of saving energy. Some LEDs feature multi-color temperature settings for you to switch between 3000K, 4000K, and 5000K hues on the same fixture, which is great for customizing the ambient light as needed around an office. Most LED lights for offices are dimmable, so you can drop the illumination from 100% to 10% whenever you want – and this comes in handy while balancing the natural and artificial lighting in your office throughout the day. It also works well for flexible workplaces where employees clock in at different times, allowing you to adjust the lighting based on room occupancy.
The difference is in the K
If your office lighting is energy-saving, room-specific, dimmable, and most importantly, relevant, then you have found the perfect lighting solution for your office! Good interior lighting is all about reflecting the mood of a given space, so you want to consider the warmth or coolness of its atmosphere before buying your lights. Areas like lobbies and break rooms can be more casual and upbeat using warmer tones, whereas the main office space itself should be more professional and well-lit with cooler lights.
The actual color temperature you use also depends on the amount of natural light in your office, which is why dimmable and multi-color LEDs are so helpful, especially if you have wall-length windows in open layouts. They let you adjust your artificial lights as needed in response to the natural light already present, and this is as energy-efficient as you can get. So, keep an eye out for these features, and make sure to zoom in on the K’s in product descriptions before buying your next office lights!