Should You Choose Warm White Vs. Cool White For LED Lights?

The LED warm white vs. cool white debate rages on in the design space, so I thought it would be helpful to share some recent updates that I made in our own home.

Changing our warm lighting over to cool lighting in several areas of our house was an intentional decision because the health and wellness benefits involved in making these simple updates were too good to pass up.

If you want to know more about warm vs. cool LED lights, you’re in the right place.

Are my LED lights warm or cool?

Are my LED lights warm or cool?

LED lights can either cast a warm or cool glow, and you may not have realized which types of bulbs you bought in the first place.

To help you sort it out, walk around your house one room at a time and ask yourself the following question: are the LED lights warm or cool in this room? In other words, do they give more of a sunny, yellow vibe or do they look more blue and bright?

Warm vs cool LED light comparison

Here is a great example of the lights in my home after I started updating them. On the left, you'll see the daylighting and, on the right, you'll see the warm overhead lighting in the kids’ study station.

Warm vs cool LED lights from overhead

Here's another example in the background. There, you'll see one warm overhead light right next to the daylighting that I had already installed.

Wellspring by Dr. Jason Littleton

Cool white vs. warm white LED lights

Dr. Jason Littleton recently shared a blog on how you can be happier, more productive, and even more focused simply by changing the lighting in your home.

Choosing between cool white vs. warm white LEDs does make a difference, and you should be aware of how your decision affects each space.

Warm lighting in the kitchen

I honestly have always been a fan of warm lighting until recently when I started updating some of our furniture in the bigger rooms, and I started to notice a very orangey type glow in the kitchen and on the catwalk.

Then, I started looking back through pictures and videos, and I realized how dated everything looked with the orange overtone in all of the clips.

Updating from warm to cool lighting

After reading Dr. Littleton's blog, I got to work right away updating our lighting from warm to cool in the kitchen and other common areas.

6,000 Kelvin LED bulbs

I started by replacing our G8 120-volt underlighting bulbs with LED bulbs that were rated at 6,000 Kelvin.

Warm vs. cool LED bulbs

Warm vs. cool LED bulbs

Here's what they look like side by side. The old lights are on the left and the new LED lights are on the right.

6,000 Kelvin vs 3,000 Kelvin

The Kelvin scale

Color temperature is measured by the Kelvin scale which is the physical science's quantitative means to scale thermal motion. The natural color of daylight is approximately 5,600 Kelvin.

Above, you'll see a very nice side-by-side comparison. On the left, you'll see the daylighting, which is rated at about 6,000 Kelvin and, on the right side of the screen, you'll see the warm lighting which is rated at about 3,000 Kelvin.

LED daylight lighting in a living room

Benefits of an LED daylight bulb

According to Dr. Littleton, changing the light bulbs in your environment to an LED daylight bulb can provide a brighter environment, stimulating creativity, improved energy, and higher focus.

It's another simple way that a small change can make a ton of difference in your life regarding productivity and happiness.

Overhead lighting

Overhead vs. ambient lighting

I opted to update all of our overhead lighting to daylighting and to keep our ambient lighting, like all the lamps, warm lighting because I think it sets a nice relaxing tone for the evenings.

When to choose warm white vs cool white LED lights

So if you have any areas of your home that feel too bright when you’re trying to settle down for the night, change cool white LEDs to warm white LEDs in those areas.

LED lights: warm white vs cool white

I hope you found some value in learning the difference between warm white vs cool white bulbs and in seeing how the recent lighting changes have affected my own home.

Let me know in the comments below, do you have mostly warm lighting or daylighting. Which do you prefer and why?

Join the conversation
4 of 9 comments
  • Skampy Skampy on Nov 12, 2023
    I don't have a cool light in my house, nor outside. Maybe color of your walls? My paint color is Moth Gray that is a greige that is warm side of gray (to me gray is too cold as I am a warm color person). Don't know what kind you are using as none of my rooms look as dark and orange as your rooms do. There is nothing flattering about cool lights for persons or furnishings. And as far as daylight (cool lights) outside, very harsh and uninviting. I sit on my deck with my candle lit lanterns, and then the neighbor's daylight spotlight comes on. Why do people think nighttime should be daytime? BTW, maybe this person doesn't know there are different wattages in LEDs. So when purchasing, take a look at that.
    • Nene Nene on Nov 12, 2023
      I agree I can’t stand cool or daylight lighting. Warm is the way to go.
  • Tom69754122 Tom69754122 on Dec 02, 2023
    Also agree. I want a warm, cozy home not an operating room! Cool lighting has its place but not in my home.
    • Luis Esteve Sirvent Luis Esteve Sirvent on Mar 31, 2024
      Y además hay que tener en cuenta que la luz blanca (> 6.000 K) inhibe la producción de melatonina, la hormona que nos prepara para ir a dormir.