Outdoor Lighting Color Tones

Outdoor Lighting Color Tones

At Northwest Outdoor Lighting, we often find that clients take for granted the type of bulbs and wattages they buy at either a local hardware store or their favorite home store.  Who can blame them?  We’re all busy, and often overwhelmed by the selection or distracted by the rush to get things done, so people often just grab whatever bulbs are there.  As a result, we miss out on an important part of the way we experience our homes – especially when it comes to outdoor lighting.  But the way you choose to illuminate your landscaping and architectural features can really change when you start to think through the ways color and intensity can affect, highlight, or even magnify your home’s magnificent potential.

We’ve heard it time and again from our clients: “I never thought color tone and wattage intensity would make such a difference.”  Maybe not, but when lighting your home you will find that color tones make a huge difference; they certainly do for us!

Color Tones explained practically

There are many color tones associated with bulbs, and they each have their function.  It can be confusing for the average individual to understand how to coordinate them.  Simply put, when it comes to color schemes and quality outdoor lighting, all the colors should match – not just in terms of lights, but even in interior design.  There is a dramatic difference in color tones between the kitchen and the living room, the workshop and the ambiance of the outdoor living space; you want to make sure that these spaces are all well-coordinated with your color choices and design philosophy to create truly breathtaking environments.

As just one simple example, white bulbs have many levels of intensity, and you need to understand the differences and the different needs for each.  If I were to light my workshop area, I would use a fluorescent bulb with a bright white color tone.  These lights are used to perform precise or even potentially dangerous tasks.  I might choose to use the same combination of light and color in my kitchen.  However, the same light and color tone in my living room would not inspire me to relax and sit down to read a book; it’s too harsh!

At the same time, you would not want these lights to have differing color tones in the same room for the same function.  Could you imagine an evening in the living room with each lamp having a different color tone?  The effect would start to bother you subconsciously, even if you didn’t understand the problem.  It’s subtle, the same way your eye picks up on a piece of thread dangling on a jacket or your pants.

Most of our residential clients are looking for outdoor lighting to add a touch of ambiance to their outdoor living spaces, and most usually choose white as their color.  As a result, Northwest Outdoor Lighting recommends a warm color tone (specifically 2,700K to 3,200K).  This applies to ALL lights on the outside of your residence, such as carriage lamps, entry lamps and obtrusive flood lamps.  When your property is lit correctly, the outdoor lights have the same consistent color tone, which creates a pleasing overall ambience that your eye will pick up on, even subtly.

In a few cases, some clients might prefer a bright white light rather than a subtle one (for example, clients whose primary desire is security conscious lighting).  A mid-century modern or contemporary home, for example, could be dramatically lit with warm white, bright white/blue tone or possibly multi-colored lights.

We’ve included some images below of some color charts that you can use to learn more about this crucial design element.  Take a look at the different ways that light, color and design interact with each other; what effect do you want your home to have?

Want to talk about color and the role it can play in your home? Contact us today!

Choosing the Right Color
(Courtesy of Houzz.com)

Color Temp
(Courtesy of Bulborama)

Light appearance ambiance
(Courtesy of Detroit News)

Ultra warm to cool

  • "Our home is far more secure and stunningly attractive at night. We receive compliments frequently and love to share about our experience with Northwest Outdoor Lighting."
    Karen T.- Seattle, WA
  • "I am so impressed with your customer service!”
    Mike L. - Kent, WA
  • "They have a very good artistic sense about what materials to use, which plants to feature, and where these lights should be placed. They are very hard working, efficient, and reliable. They are also a pleasure to work with."
    Garry P. - Snohomish, WA
  • "I have received so many compliments from neighbors who have noticed the wonderful appearance of my home!"
    Barbara C. - Laurelhurst, Seattle, WA
  • "Their attention to detail made the whole designing process easy for us.  Our yard is so beautiful now, we love coming home late at night and seeing how inviting and safe our yard looks."
    Keith & Julie - Magnolia, Seattle, WA
  • "All my friends say I have the coolest place in the Northwest!"
    Cherise – Woodinville, WA
  • "All the wires are nicely hidden and a couple of the lights are in locations that we are actually a bit baffled how they managed to do the install without leaving a trace."
    Jennifer C. - Renton, WA
  • "The landscape lighting really makes a tremendous difference. Your work was perfection!"
    Stan - Kirkland, WA
  • "If you want lighting and you want it done with excellence and lasting results, you would be well served to work with Northwest Outdoor Lighting."
    Karen T. - Bothell, WA
  • "I really appreciate your annual maintenance service!"
    Henri - Medina, Bellevue, WA
  • "I can't recommend NWOL highly enough! Their work was absolutely excellent quality, they were fast and the project was reasonably priced."
    Jane D. - Mercer Island, WA
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