What Is Color Temperature & How Much Is Its Appropriate Amount In Outdoor Lighting?

What Is Color Temperature & How Much Is Its Appropriate Amount In Outdoor Lighting?

Publish Date: 2022/05/21 - Category: Article
What Is Color Temperature & How Much Is Its Appropriate Amount In Outdoor Lighting?

If you want to define color temperature in a simple language, you can say: the amount of warmth and coldness or white and yellow color of light that is shown in the Kelvin range (from 1000 to 10000 K) is called Color Temperature (CT). In contrast to weather temperature degrees, lower color temperatures (2700) represent warm colors of yellow and orange, and higher color temperatures (6500) represent cooler colors such as blue and white. Color temperature is one of the characteristics of light that is widely used in interior and exterior lighting, interior design and architecture. As mentioned, the unit for measuring color temperature is Kelvin and its value is indicated numerically with the letter K, for example 1400K.

Most lamp manufacturers show the color temperature of a lamp on the packaging of the product, indicating how cold or warm the color of the light is. Now when they say the color temperature of an LED lamp is equal to 3000 Kelvin, what does it mean? In fact, the lower the color temperature, the warmer the light. For example, the color temperature of a candle is 1700 Kelvin. Now, on the contrary, the higher the color temperature, the cooler it will feel. Any number greater than 3,500 K is usually considered a cool white color, but the problem is that most manufacturers of outdoor lights and lamps usually have different definitions for color temperature, and therefore label their products differently. If you are looking for a lamp, you will see on the packaging that the light is soft white, sunny or moonlight, and often these definitions are confusing. For this reason, if you are familiar with the concept of Kelvin temperature or color temperature, you can easily find the lamp you want among the products on market and choose the best light color temperature for lighting your outdoor area, which in addition to being pleasant makes the place more comfortable and does not irritate the eyes.

Here are some common definitions of labels on bulbs and their exact value in Kelvin range:

  • 2200 Kelvin means very warm white. In fact, 2200 is the lowest number in the white light range. Any number less than that is considered yellow light.
  • 2700 Kelvin shows the warm color of the coil lamp. That is, remember the same color as an ordinary yellow incandescent lamp.
  • 3000 Kelvin is a little more than 2700 Kelvin, but a little less than that conveys the feeling of warmth.
  • 3500 Kelvin and above is a cool color and is where we enter the range of cool and white colors.
  • 4,000 to 4,500 K is colder than natural light.
  • 5000 to 6500 is the range of natural light and beginning of the color spectrum is very cold so the temperature above 6500 enters the blue light spectrum.

What is the most suitable color temperature for outdoor lighting?

After a general acquaintance with the concept of color temperature and its range, the question arose as to what color temperature is suitable for landscape and park lights, wall lights & pendant lights. In fact, it is not possible to say exactly what color temperature is the best for landscape lighting, but there are two important principles that must be considered in area lighting and color temperature. The first principle is that most people in outdoors need much less light than indoors, and the second point is that in situations where less initial light is needed, humans need warmer light and prefer lower color temperatures. Warmer colors with less light feel more comfortable because these warm colors are more comfortable for eyes. So whether your goal is to provide the right light for your family gathering by fire, or to make your outdoor living space comfortable and relaxing, your goal as a designer is to create low and warm light.

When you look closely at lighting techniques of yard, you will notice that the lighting of each part has a different number of Kelvin or color temperature. Now where do you find these numbers? Join us in this section to discuss the most important Kelvin numbers for lighting four different and important parts of the landscape and open space.

  1. Architectural Elements

Use warm white light for architectural elements such as decorative stones, sculptures, waterfalls, fountains, etc. This light should be in the range of 2500 to 2700 Kelvin. Warm white light gives a sense of warmth and closeness to garden and building decorations and is very suitable for creating a relaxing area. You can also use warmer light, but avoid using cold light to illuminate architectural elements. Research has shown that cold light is unnatural for people and even somewhat unpleasant.

  1. Plants and Trees

It is best to illuminate plants with neutral white LED light, which is in the range of 3,000 to 4,000 Kelvin. Neutral white lighting at night makes the plants look more natural. In outdoor lighting, there is a practical technique called moonlight that is used to illuminate trees. In this technique, a lamp is installed above the tree and its light shines from up to down like a moon from the leaves of the tree. Of course, the lamp does not need to be found from the top of tree. Lighting with moonlight technique requires 4000 Kelvin. Colder light than neutral white has a blue theme and should therefore only be used on plants that have naturally blue leaves or flowers.

  1. Security Lights

The higher the Kelvin number, the brighter the light. For this reason, cold white light in the range of 4600 to 6500 K is often used for security purposes. Of course, you can also use lights close to 4600 to illuminate the path and wall lights, and lights close to 6500 Kelvin are also suitable for spotlights.

  1. Party & Family Gathering

And the last point is to use very warm lights with a degree of Kelvin around 2000 for outdoor space that is your place of recreation or rest at nights. This light has a calming red light that resembles fire light and is not boring to the eye. You can use this light on terrace, open kitchen and wherever you gather at night.


Color Temperature is one of the functional properties of light that is used in indoor and outdoor lighting, building, landscaping, layout design and architecture. The measurement unit of color temperature is Kelvin and its value is indicated numerically with the letter K. We examined the suitability for four important parts of the outdoor space in this article.

Edited by Behnaz Mahdavi