• Understanding Lumens, Lux and Colour Temperature in Lighting
    03rd October 2022

    Understanding Lumens, Lux and Colour Temperature in Lighting

Did you ever realize that the advertisements of beauty soap ‘Lux’ was meant to promote luminance of the face? In simple terms lux is the amount of light reflected on objects in a room.

Different rooms in a building require different intensities of light that could vary as per time of the day and depend on the activities you’re doing. For example, the lights in your living room need to be brighter than those in the corridor. The lights need to be more focused and intense when cutting in the kitchen than when watching a movie.

Planning the lighting for a space involves a two-step approach:

  • Determining the quantity of light needed in terms of lumens and lux levels.
  • Once the brightness level is estimated, the next step is determining the quality of light needed in terms of colour temperature.

When it comes to setting the most pleasing or comfortable lighting atmosphere one must consider both the brightness and colour temperature. Read on to know how you can set the right level of lighting for various interior spaces.

Lux in illuminance

Lux, also known as the intensity of light, determines the optimal lighting levels for various tasks such as reading or cooking. Taking this into account, lumens are a photometric measure of the brightness of light and lux is the number of lumens per square meter (I LX= 1 Lumens/ Sq. Mt.) . The more lumens, the brighter the light and lesser the lumens the dimmer the light. This is a subjective element that depends on the comfort level of the human eye for various activities during different times of the day.

To understand this concept, let’s look at the different lux levels emitted by the sun.

  • Direct sunlight: 32,000 -100,000 lux
  • Indirect sunlight/daylight: 10,000 – 25,000 lux
  • Cloudy day: 1000 lux
  • Sunset: 400 lux

The European Standard NEN EN 12464-1:2011 has specified the lighting requirement for various indoor spaces to meet the visual comfort of individuals having normal ophthalmic capacity. The lux required for a typical living room may start at 200 but for a kitchen you need a higher luminance of 300+.


  • Storage rooms/corridors: 100 lux
  • Living room: 200 lux
  • Bathrooms: 200 –300 lux
  • Kitchen: 300-500 lux


  • Staircases, escalators and elevators: 100 lux
  • Reception: 300 lux
  • Meeting room: 300-500 lux
  • Shop floor: 300-700 lux

Educational institutions

  • Reception/ entrance: 200 lux
  • Classroom / lecture halls : 300 – 500 lux
  • Library: 500 lux

Colour temperature

The choice of colour in lighting is a matter of aesthetics and comfort. Measured in Kelvin, coour temperature is an indicator of the colour of light source. The lower the Kelvin the warmer the light appears. This again is a subjective element as some individuals prefer yellow light for reading while others white. Warm light gives a cozy feeling and is best for relaxing or resting areas. White light being more intense and direct is suited for tasks that require you to be alert. Cool blue light is emitted by mobile phones, TV and computer screens and prolonged exposure can lead to eye damage. During the night, it’s best to limit exposure to blue light as it can disrupt your sleep patterns.

Colour appearance – Correlated colour temperature

  • Warm Yellow Light – below 3300 K
  • Natural White Light – 3300 to 5300 K
  • Cool Blue Light – above 5300 K

Based on studies and research, we have laid down guidelines to suggest common colour temperature points and their corresponding illuminance levels. Keep in mind these are rough estimations only and personal preferences can come into play.

Minimum lux levels recommend for each color temperature

  • 2400K: 40 – 80 lux
  • 2700K: 80 – 250 lux
  • 3000K: 100 – 400 lux
  • 4000K: 200 – 10,000 lux
  • 5000K: 300 lux or higher
  • 6500K: 450 lux or higher

Now that you understand the dynamics between lux levels and colour temperature you can better relate to the lighting design in various spaces.

Versatile lighting solutions from the best lighting company in town

Electric Way, a top lighting supplier in Dubai, offers the best LED lights, dimming systems, lighting control systems and smart switches for your homes /offices. Our product portfolio includes the world’s leading brands for both your indoor lighting and outdoor lighting needs. Whether you’re contemplating an upgrade of your lighting design or a retrofit to LED lighting, we offer the right lighting solutions for your residential/commercial spaces. We leverage our purchasing power to meet your requirements in bulk, that too at competitive prices.

Our lighting professionals can help you design the lighting for your next project. Get in touch with us for a full range of eco-friendly lighting products and accessories on +971 4 817 0777.

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