The term CCT stands for Correlated Colour Temperature and refers to the light emitted from a light fitting and how warm or cool the light appears. The CCT of a light fitting is measured in Kelvin on a scale from 1000 to 10000; this will usually be specified on the product label with the number followed by ‘K’, for example, 3000K.

When purchasing lighting, it is important to understand the CCT of the light fitting you are looking at to ensure it is suitable for your application. This article looks further into the Kelvin scale and provides suggestions on the best choice to make for your lighting installation.

Correlated Colour Temperature Explained

Correlated colour temperature (CCT) in external lighting is most commonly between 2700K to 6500K. This basic breakdown helps understand the visual warmth or coolness of the light emitted in relation to the Kelvin (K) scale.

  • 1000K to 2700K: Warm light, similar to candlelight or early morning light. This range creates a cozy, calming atmosphere, perfect for outdoor spaces where relaxation is key.
  • 3000K to 4000K: Soft white or neutral light. A balanced light, ideal for areas where you need both ambiance and functionality.
  • 4000K to 5000K: Cool white light. Bright and clean, this lighting is suitable for areas requiring clear visibility, like driveways and walkways.
  • 5000K to 6500K: Daylight. Mimicking natural daylight, this range is excellent for task-oriented areas with regular nighttime operation.
  • 6500K and above: Bluish light. Very cool and bright, this type of lighting may be used in industrial or security applications but is generally too harsh for typical outdoor home use.

Why is it important to choose the correct CCT

Creating the Right Atmosphere

The colour temperature of your outdoor lighting affects the ambiance of your space. Warm lighting provides a cozy and inviting feel, ideal for patios, gardens, and outdoor seating areas. While cool lighting is more energizing and brighter, making it perfect for security and areas where visibility is essential.

Enhancing Safety and Security

Proper outdoor lighting enhances safety and security around your property. Cool white light or daylight lighting (6,500K) provide bright, clear illumination helping to deter intruders and ensuring areas are well-lit and safe.

Showcasing Landscaping and Architecture

Accurate colour representation is important for highlighting your outdoor landscaping and architectural features. Daylight lighting offers the closest match to natural light and can make plants and building details appear vibrant and true to life.

Choosing the right CCT for your outdoor lighting

When selecting outdoor lighting, consider the purpose of the space and the atmosphere you want to create. To help you choose the right colour temperature, we have listed some typical outdoor lighting examples:

  • Patios and Decks: 2700K to 3000K
    • A warm light to create a relaxing and inviting outdoor living space.
  • Garden Pathways and Walkways: 3000K to 4000K
    • Soft white or neutral light balances ambiance with functionality, ensuring safe navigation without harsh brightness.
  • Driveways and property frontage: 4000K to 5000K
    • Cool white light provides bright, focused illumination, enhancing visibility and security around your property.
  • Security Lighting and Task Areas: 5000K to 6500K
    • Daylight fittings ensure clear visibility and accurate colour rendering.

While this list provides a guide to the best choices of colour temperature (CCT) to suit certain applications, the final choice is often down to personal preference. In most domestic applications, there are no specific regulations although some areas may require bat friendly lighting which is usually 2700K or less.

Many light fittings are now listed as ‘CCT Settable’ meaning that the fitting will have a switch allowing you to select the colour temperature when installing. For example, our 10W GX53 LED lamp can be switched between 3000K, 4000K or 6500K.

Understanding and choosing the right colour temperature can transform the effect of your lighting, so when you are purchasing lighting remember to check that you have chosen a CCT (Kelvin) that will create the desired aesthetic and enhance your outdoor space.