Regional electrical distributor Border States Electric, Fargo, N.D., has a handy guide on its Supply Chain Solutions blog by Keeley Mahoney, lighting and energy solutions specialist. In it Mahoney breaks down some of the misconceptions about brightness and color temperature and why sometimes a customer will consider light too bright in once application when further questions reveal it’s really the quality of the light, not the quantity, that is causing the trouble.

"When meeting with customers to look at their lighting, I occasionally hear the phrase, 'It is too bright over there.' When I hear this, I often follow up with the question, 'Can you explain what you mean by 'too bright'? Do you feel you have too much light or is the light ‘too’ white?'"

"The answers always vary. Sometimes a customer is referring to the quantity of light that is needed or not needed, other times a light source is causing too much glare, and many times, the customer just doesn't like the color temperature of the light."

Courtesy Border States Electric

Mahoney then walks the reader through a very clear description of the way understanding color temperature and correlated color temperature (CCT) can help buyers make better decisions. Such understanding can also help contractors and designers better convey to their customers the quality of light delivered by a source. She also offers a nifty graphic illustrating the ranges of color temperatures (a teaser is shown at right).

"Candlelight ranges from 1,500–2,000K, and to most people it is romantic-feeling. Thus restaurants, hotels, and homeowners who want a cozy feel may want to look toward color temperatures that are 2,400–2,700K. Transitional spaces moving from cozy to a more productive space (like hallways) may opt for color temperatures in the 3,000–3,500K range."

It’s a good read and resource: Color Temperature and LED: Understanding How to Choose LED Lamps for Warm and Cool Applications