Color Temperature and Its Role in Bathroom Lighting

bathroom light fixtures
Ingo Schaer
Written by Ingo Schaer

Often times we take for granted the light in any given space. If you were to take notice of the lighting in a restaurant and then the lighting in a bathroom, you would realize there is a significant difference. The lighting in each space serves a different function. Lighting in a restaurant creates a mood, while lighting in a bath illuminates the space for tasks such as washing hands, applying make-up or shaving.

contemporary dining room lighting

Contemporary Dining Room Lighting by Lake Oswego Architects & Designers on Houzz

The dimmed ambient lighting in the restaurant softens your appearance and that of your dining companion by providing a warm light, while the bathroom light is brighter and whiter. This difference is caused by color temperature, which indicates how yellow or blue a white light is. Color temperature is measured by Kelvins, the higher the Kelvin, the more blue the light will be. Natural daylight is measured at 6500K, a neutral white light is 4000K and a warm white light is 2700K. Taking this in to account,  the lighting in the restaurant would be a color temperature of 2700K while the bathroom light may come in at 6500K.

modern bathroom lighting fixtures

Traditional Bathroom Lighting by Gast Architects on Houzz

We tend to look our best in warm light, where our imperfections are not immediately noticeable. A cooler color will show off every flaw we have on our faces and give us a more realistic idea of what we look like in the light of day. As you pick out lighting for your own bathroom, you may be inclined to select a warmer color temperature but that would be doing yourself a disservice. The cooler temperatures will mimic what the world sees in daylight, and its best to go out in the world with a clear understanding of your appearance in such light. Have you ever applied make-up in a dimly lit bath and then caught a glimpse of your face in the rear view mirror of your car? What you see looking back at you is not the same reflection as you saw before you left, is it? Consider that make-up artists use cool light temperatures to ensure they are not creating an unnatural look for their clients. This, too, should be your aim.

bathroom light fixtures

Contemporary Bathroom Lighting by AMI Designs on Houzz

When choosing lighting fixtures for your bathroom, you will want to take into account the need for both ambient and task lighting. Ambient lighting will provide overall illumination that ensures safety, and will extend bathing time if desired. Its color temperature should be bright enough to compensate for dark tiling whether on the walls or the floors. Task lighting generally frames a mirror and offers the proper lighting for applying make-up or shaving. Pick fixtures that will provide the most natural light available. There are many LED fixtures that will offer a color temperature of 6500K and are perfect for both task and ambient lighting

Choosing the Right Bathroom Light Fixtures

Regardless if you choose LED or halogen fixtures, be sure the color temperature replicates natural daylight. It gives you the best chance of appearing to others as your reflection does to you. Check our website for a complete line of modern lighting fixtures to set the right mood.

About the author

Ingo Schaer

Ingo Schaer

Ingo has been in the lighting business for over 20 years. He regularly blogs about trends and tips in the industry while running one of the most complete contemporary lighting ecommerce sites on the net. Please take a moment to browse his website and feel free to contact Ingo for all your lighting needs.