Light bulbs. How complicated can they be?

To be fair, sometimes they are. Along with other important life skills such as balancing a checkbook and jumpstarting a car, they don’t teach you how to change a light bulb in school. And when you check the stores for a replacement for your kitchen lights, you’ve got to choose between different types, different CRIs, lumen outputs, Energy-Star qualifications, and other specifications that leave you standing aimlessly in the aisles, Googling the difference between CFLs and LEDs in five minutes to make a decision.

Sometimes the descriptors or specifications written on light bulb packaging aren’t very intuitive. So let’s take it one at a time, starting with Kelvins.

Soft White – 2700 Kelvins

Cool White – 4100 Kelvins

Day Light – 6500 Kelvins

Soft White—also known as ‘warm white’ (2700K)—is a more traditional soft light. It most closely reproduces the color of an incandescent light bulb. As you go higher in color temperature (higher Kelvins, 6500K) the color is a bright bluish light.

Finding the correct color temperature for lighting different rooms in your house will depend on each room and your needs. For example, in the living room or bedroom where you may not need bright lighting, you may choose a softer more traditional soft white light (2700K). In your kitchen or office, a place of much work and concentration, you may want to choose a cool white color temperature (4100K) for bright lighting. In the bathroom you may want the lighting to be as close to daylight as possible so you don’t miss any spots while shaving or putting on your makeup; you would then choose a higher color temperature (6500K) to see yourself as you would be when you walk out the door.