One aspect of lamp colour is its colour appearance; whether the light from the lamps looks ‘warm’ or ‘cool’, measured by the correlated colour temperature (CCT). Lamps with a warm appearance having a CCT of 2700 – 3000K are generally considered appropriate in a domestic setting. Lamps of 4000K and above are considered ‘cool’ and are more appropriate for office and some retail applications.
Popularly referred to as energy-saving lamps, compact fluorescent lamps have a poor image because of perceived deficiencies in colour, power and speed to full output. But massive improvements have been made in all these areas thanks to substantial investment by the big lamp manufacturers.
Colour rendering is also important. This is the ability of a light source to show surface colours as they should be, usually in comparison to a tungsten or daylight source. Lamps with poor colour rendering will distort some colours.