If you don’t like the color temperature of the lights you’re using, don’t start thinking about buying new lights right away. There are a few certain ways using which you may just be able to learn how to change color temperature of LED lights.
Color temperature of light refers to the hue that a light displays. Even though most commonly used lights are generally white LED lights, these lights will have a slightly yellow or blueish undertone.
The more yellow a white light gets, the warmer it is. Similarly, the bluer it gets, the colder it is.
Understanding Color Temperature
1. How To Change Color Temperature of LED Lights
Even though most manufacturers intend their lights to have a particular color temperature, you can change these temperatures to some extent by manipulating the voltage of these lights. Higher voltages cause the lights to shine brighter, which increases the coolness of the lights. Lights shining at a lower voltage will generally have a warmer temperature.
2. Explanation Of The Color Temperature Scale And Its Range From Warm To Cool
The Kelvin Color Temperature scale is used to describe the way various light temperatures appear visually. The scale ranges from 1,000 Kelvin to 10,000 Kelvin, or 1000k to 10000k. The lower end of the scale comprises of the warmest colors such as orange and yellow. As the scale goes up, the color temperature gets cooler and bluer, thus the higher end of the scale comprises of the bluish white colors.
3. Overview Of The Most Common Color Temperature Ranges For LED Lights (2700K, 3000K, 4000K, 5000K)
To learn how to change the color temperature of your LED lights, you should know the commonly used color temperatures.
Lights between 2700K and 3000k color temperatures are some of the warmest lights you can buy out there. As the scale increases to a range of 3000k and 4000k, these lights lose their yellow undertones.
Lights ranging between 4000k and 5000k are mostly neutral in their temperature.
4. Comparison Of Soft White And Daylight Color Temperature
The difference between soft white vs daylight color temperatures is that soft light temperatures are much warmer and appear with a yellow-orange hue. On the other hand, daylight colors have a higher color temperature and have an almost neutral temperature.
Different Methods to Change Color Temperature of LED Lights
To answer the question of how to change color temperature of LED lights, you can follow a few methods:
1. Using a Dimmer Switch
As we said earlier, adjusting the brightness of LED lights can cause their temperatures to change as well. Brighter lights will tend to have higher color temperatures whereas dimmer lights will have warm undertones.
By using a dimmer switch, you should be able to change the brightness of your LED lights thus changing their color temperature. The good thing about this is that this change is not permanent, and you can always just use the dimmer to constantly change the temperature.
Simply replace your existing light switch with a dimmer switch and you’re good to go.
2. Using Multiple LED Lights
If you don’t like the current temperature of your LED lights, consider adding another light with a different color temperature. The combined wavelengths of the bulbs can generate the temperature of your desire.
3. Painting the Surface of The Lights
If you don’t feel comfortable tinkering with electronics and just want a straightforward solution, consider applying paint to the surface of the lightbulbs. The colored tint from the paint should change the color temperature of the bulbs.
Use heat-resistant paint and gradually apply thin coats of paint. Turn on the light after each coat dries to see if you like the color or want to add another coat.
4. Using Filters
Another solution to how to change color temperature of LED lights is to add a colored filter to your lights. This solution works best if you have a lighting fixture installed.
You can buy these colored photographic filters online. Simply place these filters on the exterior of the light or light fixtures and you’re good to go.
5. Changing the Surrounding Colors
Another way of changing the color temperature of your lights is simply to change the colors of what the light is illuminating. For example, if you want a warmer color temperature in your living room, consider having warmer-toned furniture, decorations, and wall paint in that area.
Although this isn’t the most practical solution, consider this for aesthetic purposes.
6. Using an Led Driver/Controller
LED drivers or controllers are electrical modules that can be hooked up to LED lights. You can then use these devices to control the brightness and colors of these lights. However, these drivers will only work with LED lights that are compatible.
Installing these does require some knowledge of wiring and circuitry, so make sure to properly read and follow the instructions.
How To Choose The Right Color Temperature For the Right Place
Before recommending the right color temperature for the right setting, let’s look at some of the science behind color temperature.
Research shows that seeing warmer colors such as yellow and orange generates chemicals in our brains that induce a sense of calmness and relaxation. On the other hand, cooler colors such as blue help us stay alert and focused.
Using this information, we can think about what and how we need to feel in different areas of our households.
We use our living rooms to spend time with others, have conversations, enjoy entertainment, etc. As it’s important to stay relaxed during these leisurely activities, lights with warmer color temperatures are recommended.
Aesthetic incandescent bulbs, small soft spotlights, and indirect lights with warm temperatures are perfect for this environment.
Similar to the living rooms, bedrooms are also a place that is commonly used for relaxing activities such as resting and sleeping. As a result, we will also recommend warmer lights for this area.
If you’re someone who likes to sleep with some level of lighting, you may want to look at smart night lights. You can use your phone to dim these lights or even set timers.
For people wondering how to change color temperature of LED lights in their bedrooms, smart lights will also do the trick.
Although cooking can be considered a leisurely activity, it is important to stay focused while cooking to avoid accidents. Because of this, we recommend lights with neutral color temperatures.
These temperatures will help you stay productive while not straining your eyesight too much. The most commonly used kitchen lights are surface lights, recessed lights, and cabinet lights.
Office and industrial areas often use bright lights with daylight temperatures. This is because these cooler temperatures help our brains be focused and productive.
If you have an office space in your house, we strongly recommend using smart lights. In this way, you can change the color temperature to cooler white temperatures when you need to work and warmer white temperatures when you want to relax.
How To Create a Comfortable and Inviting Ambiance with the Right Color Temperature
Although this article is to help you understand how to change color temperature of LED lights, you can influence the color temperature of an area without even touching the lights.
The colors you see are a combination of the color of the light as well as the color of the objects the light is shining on. So it’s important that the surrounding area and components of the light complement the temperature of the light.
If you want to generate a warm ambiance in your living room area, use warm-colored furniture, decorations, and paint combined with yellow led light. Similarly, if you want your work area to look professional and productive, use cool white temperatures furniture like bright white desks and shelves.
Understand that the light needs to work together with the surrounding components to properly generate the ambiance you want.
How To Soften LED Lights
Long exposure to bright lights can be very dangerous for your eyesight and they can also cause other issues light headaches and migraine. The good news is there are various ways to soften LED lights.
You can soften your LED lights by increasing their ambiance, reducing the direct nature of the lights, and finally lowering the brightness of the lights.
Bulbs that are dimmable can be connected to a dimmer switch which will allow you to lower their brightness. If you’re looking for options that are non-electrical, consider using lighting fixtures that obscure the bulbs from your eyesight. Grooved fixtures or even lampshades can work for this purpose.
Just like changing color temperature, painting the bulbs or installing filters can help with softening LED lights as well.
That’s all for our guideline on how the change the color temperature of LED lights. Both warm and cool color temperatures have their own advantages and disadvantages, so consider these carefully before choosing your desired color temperature.
Although some of the solutions are complex and expensive, we still recommend considering them, especially if you want different color temperatures at different times.
Last but not least if you are working on electrical components, make sure to take all the necessary safety precautions. Wear insulating gloves, make sure all the power is disconnected, and properly read instructions.
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I am a fellow LED light enthusiast who has completed his Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and now has been doing my Master’s on the same subject. Born in 1994, I am a big fan of shiny things since I was just four years old!