Color Temperature

Color temperature is the term used to describe the color characteristics of different light sources. Some light sources produce a very warm or yellow light while others produce a cool or blue light. Color temperature in lighting is measured in "kelvins". The higher the kelvin number, the cooler the appearance. The lower the number, the warmer looking it is.

What it Means

Because different light sources change the appearance of finishes, it is important to consider this when you are specifying textiles, or any other finish for a space. A warmer light source will make everything warmer in color, and of course, a cool light source will give everything a blue color cast. If you aren't choosing the finishes in a lighting environment similar to the finished space, you could be in for a surprise after the installation. Because textiles are a tactile, textured surface, they can reflect light various ways in different settings.

It's also important to think about how intense the lighting is, and whether the surface materials are reflective or not. A shiny fabric such as Candid will look very different depending on how intense the light is because of the reflective yarns in it. Light, glossy surfaces will reflect more of the light around in a room, whereas darker matte finishes will absorb the light.

Depending on the environment and the mood you are trying to evoke, the color of lighting can have a large impact on how people experience an environment. This can range from keeping people alert and focused on a manufacturing floor, or calm and relaxed in a hotel lobby. Below is a brief chart of typical feelings and applications based on color temperature.