Living Room Lighting

Daylight vs. Soft White for a Living Room: Which Is Better?

In Design Ideas by Giovanni ValleLeave a Comment

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When designing your living room, getting the lighting just right can make a world of difference. Daylight and soft white bulbs are both popular, but which one is better for living rooms?

Soft white light bulbs are better for living rooms if you want to create a more relaxing, inviting, and warm environment. The bulbs will produce warmer light with yellow tones. If you want a brighter environment that is great for hands-on activities, then daylight bulbs will work well.

Choosing the right bulbs for your living room can be tricky. This article will describe the difference between daylight and soft white bulbs and help you decide which one is better for your living room. Let’s dive into it!

What Are Daylight Bulbs?

Before we dive into what a daylight bulb is, let’s examine how color temperature affects different light bulbs. Every lightbulb has a certain color temperature, which experts measure on a Kelvin temperature scale. Lower numbers on the kelvin scale mean that the light is warm and has more yellow (and is usually darker). Higher numbers on the kelvin scale indicate a brighter, whiter light with more blue tones.

Daylight bulbs can range from 4600K to higher than 6500K. The high kelvin number means that daylight bulbs are bright and have blue light compared to a warm, yellow color. Daylight bulbs mimic natural sunlight. (Natural sunlight can range anywhere from 5600K to over 6500K.)

The LE 100W Equivalent LED Light Bulbs are a great choice for daylight bulbs.

Do Daylight Bulbs Work in a Living Room?

Daylight bulbs are often used in the kitchen since they give off bright, energetic light. But are they good for the living room?

Daylight bulbs will make whatever room you put them in feel a little bit colder since they have blue light in them. Since they have a more cold tone, people often avoid using blue light in their living room. Many people want their living room to feel warm and cozy, which daylight bulbs will not encourage.

On the other hand, there are a few instances when daylight bulbs may work well in a living room. If you have a lot of dark-colored furniture (or dark floors and walls), then daylight bulbs may be the bulb for you. The bright white/blue light may counteract the room’s dark colors and prevent the space from feeling like a dungeon.

Furthermore, if you have lots of warm colors in your living room, such as yellow, beige, red, or orange, daylight bulbs would probably create the perfect balance of color. Most of the time, though, daylight bulbs make living rooms feel too cold and uninviting.

The picture below shows what daylight bulbs will look like in a living room. (Keep in mind that this living room only has cool colors, which will exaggerate the cool temperature of the lightbulb.)

Source: Philips

Benefits of Daylight Lighting

Even though daylight bulbs are not a popular first choice for many people, they still have benefits. The kind of furniture, decor, and colors in your home can greatly change the final look of lighting, which is why it is good to consider both kinds. 

  • Creates a more energized mood
  • Provides lots of light for daily tasks
  • Mimics true sunlight
  • Improves productivity and mental awareness

There are many different benefits to daylight lighting. Let’s take a deeper look into the specific aspects daylight bulbs bring to the table (or living room!)

  • Daylight bulbs can create a more energized mood. Since the bulbs are over 4600K, they will be brighter than other forms of light. The Lighting Research Center found that daylight bulbs will help people feel more energized since they are brighter and give off whiter light. It is easier to feel more tired and relaxed in darker, more yellow light.
  • The bulbs provide lots of light for daily tasks. Another great feature of daylight bulbs is that they can brighten the space much easier than soft white light. The brighter the room is, the easier it is to do different activities such as homework or crafts. A complaint of soft white light is that the bulbs do not produce as much light as daylight bulbs, which can make it more difficult to see.
  • Daylight bulbs mimic true sunlight. If you are someone who loves the outdoors and for your spaces to be as bright as they can be, then these bulbs will work for you. Daylight bulbs mimic true sunlight, which can be around 4500K or higher. 
  • The bulbs can improve productivity and mental awareness. Another interesting thing that the Lighting Research Center found in their survey was that participants using daylight bulbs experienced increased productivity and mental awareness. If you do a lot of work in their living room, this may be something to consider.

What Are Soft White Bulbs?

Soft white light bulbs will be anywhere between 2700K and 3000K. These kinds of lights will produce a more warm, yellow tone in the room. Many people use these lights for a bedroom or living room since they give off a comforting, cozy feel. Soft white bulbs will be darker than daylight bulbs since they have a lower kelvin temperature score. However, they will not be so dark that you can’t see what you are doing.

Check out the LEDVANCE 74765 A19 Efficient 8.5W Soft White if you want to invest in these for your living room.

Do Soft White Bulbs Work in a Living Room?

Soft white light is the go-to for the majority of homeowners when shopping for the living room. People love soft white light for the living room since the room is usually the center of the home. You want that space to feel welcoming, inviting, and comfortable. Soft white light often is the perfect balance of warm ambient lighting with enough brightness to keep you from falling asleep.

The living room is most commonly used in the evening for most families since everyone is home by then. When anyone comes home from work, the last thing they will want is a stark, white light shining in their face. Soft white bulbs are favorable for unwinding after a stressful day.

Source: Philips

Benefits of Soft White Bulbs

Let’s look at a few benefits of soft white lighting.

  • Creates a warm and cozy space
  • The soft white light will help you relax
  • Soft white bulbs are better for your eyes

Now let’s take a deeper look at these benefits.

  • Soft white light creates a more warm and cozy space. The biggest reason that people love soft white lights for their living room is that it encourages a warmer and comforting environment. Soft white lights are warmer since they have yellow in it. It is much easier for people to relax in yellow light than bright, white light. 
  • Soft white light is better for your eyes. Another big factor that you should consider is that yellow light is better for your eyes. If you spend most of your time in the living room in the evening, then having warmer lighting will help your eyes, body, and mind relax before bed.

Daylight vs. Soft White: Which Is Better?

Daylight and soft white light are both great for different reasons. Daylight bulbs are usually 4600K to 6500K, meaning they are brighter and appear more white. On the other hand, soft white bulbs are around 2700K to 3000K, giving out more warm, yellow tones.

Both kinds of lights will work in living rooms. However, the majority of homeowners prefer soft white light for their living rooms. Soft white lights create a more welcoming and cozy space. They are also better for your eyes and encourage your body to relax and unwind compared to bright white lights. If you use your living room mostly in the evening, then soft white lighting might be the best option for you.

If you have dark furniture, walls, or floors, then daylight lights may be favorable. Or if you use your living room mostly during the day or do a lot of hands-on activities there, then daylight bulbs will produce better lighting.


Both types of lighting will work for living rooms, depending on your personal preference. Go with soft white bulbs if you want your living room to be a place to relax and unwind from a stressful day. If you want better lighting in your living room for hobbies and work, then you can go with daylight lights.


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