Soft White Vs Daylight – What’s The Difference?

Soft white and daylight white are common color temperatures for home and commercial lighting. Understanding the difference between soft white vs. daylight can help you choose the perfect color temperature lighting for your place.

Both soft white and daylight are a way of calling color temperature which is expressed by Kelvin (K). Soft vs daylight can be regarded as warm vs cool, or 3000K vs 6000K. They have different Kelvin scale ranges. The higher the Kelvin value, the bluer the light.

Quickly to understand what is soft white or daylight:

  • Soft White (Warm White): 2700K~3000K Kelvin scale range, warm color temperature, low color intensity;
  • Daylight (Bright White): 5000K~6500K Kelvin scale range, high color temperature, natural sunlight.
LED Bulb & LED Strip Lights Color Temperature Scale

Soft White vs Daylight

The naked eye can see the difference in color temperature between soft white and daylight, so understanding them is necessary to avoid you choosing a color temperature that simply doesn’t work.

Soft white light, also commonly referred to as warm white light, represents light between 2700K and 3000K in kelvin color temperature. Soft white light as seen by the naked eye is a yellowish light that is often used in residential and commercial resting environments because it is softer and more relaxing to the eyes than daylight.

Daylight, on the other hand, has a much higher color temperature value of 5000K-6500K. It appears to be a bright cool white color, much like the natural outdoor light we see during the day. So it is often used where people need to be alert and focused such as in offices, schools, basements, etc.

Soft white LED bulbs offer a glow similar to traditional incandescent lights, but without the harshness of normal lighting. Daylight LED bulbs are more like fluorescent lights in that they provide overall illumination in your entire home.

In general, soft white LED lights are better for creating a cozy, relaxing atmosphere, while daylight LED lights are better for tasks that require concentration and focus. 

Light TypeSoft White LightsDaylight Lights
Light AppearanceYellowish-white/light orange light hueBright blueish-white light hue
Human FeelingCozy, relaxation, comfortCalming effect, crisp, invigorating, and conducive
Light Color Temperature2700K~3000K5000K~6500K
ApplicationBedroom, cabinet&closet, kitchen, dining room, hallway, etc.Living room, bathroom, office, garage, etc.
Available FixturesLight bulbs, incandescent lights, LED strip lights, Christmas lights, puck lights, ceiling lights, floor lamps, etc.Incandescent/LED bulbs, LED strip lights, LED puck lights, ceiling lights, flashlights, floodlights, LED tube lights, LED grow lights, etc.
Soft White VS Daylight Lights

Both soft white and daylight are great. For example, soft white LED strip lights are chosen in bedrooms or living rooms to create a comfortable atmosphere. While daylight LED strip lights are chosen in kitchens or offices to increase visibility and readability, making it easier to focus on cooking or work.

3000K Soft White LED Strip Lights

5m/16.4ft 3000K Soft White LED Strip Lights

312Chips/m Dotless 3000K COB LED Strip. 10m/32.8ft no voltage drop. Consistent LED brightness and color. 5m/10m strip length. 12VDC/24VDC power. Ideal for long-distance lighting.
6000K Daylight LED Strip Lights

5m/16.4ft 6000K Daylight LED Strip Lights

384Chips/m Dotless 6000K COB LED Strip. 20m/65.6ft no voltage drop. Good color consistency. 5m/10m/15m/20m strip length options. 24VDC power. Perfect for commercial lighting.
Soft White is optimal for:Daylight is optimal for:
Residential homes
Cabinets and closets
Living rooms
Commercial settings
Where to use Soft White and Daylight

How does a soft-light LED strip feel? And what about a bright light LED strip? View the below videos.

Soft Warm White Light Strip
Bright Daylight Light Strip

Daylight vs Soft White: Which One is Ideal for Your Room?

Soft white and daylight are both popular choices for lighting a room, but they have different characteristics and are best suited for different types of spaces.

The choice between soft white and daylight light bulbs will depend on your personal preferences and the specific needs of the space. If you’re looking for a warm and inviting atmosphere, soft white color is the best choice. And if you’re seeking a lamp with bright and well-lit, choose daylight color.

Soft White Bulbs VS Daylight Bulbs

Soft White or Daylight for Bathrooms

In most bathroom or lavatory applications, you need a bright light more than anything else. 5500K-6500K daylight fixtures are ideal for applying makeup and shaving, making it easier to see your face clearly when looking in the mirror.

You could use 3000K soft white light color as well, especially if you want to create a warm and cozy atmosphere for your bathroom to make it a more relaxing place. But as general guidance, daylight color temperature is ideal for bathrooms as it provides brighter, cleaner, and more useful light.

For people who are sensitive to high brightness, a soft white around 3000K is more pleasant than 6000K daylight. 4000K natural white between daylight and soft white may be ideal, too.  

Soft White Light, Neutral White Light, and Daylight Light for Bathrooms

Soft White or Daylight for Kitchens

You can use two completely opposite LED color temperatures in the same room. Tasks occur in the kitchen. Consider using daylight lighting for task lighting and soft white lighting for ambient lighting.

Install a 6000K light under the kitchen cabinets to provide bright, clear visibility for tasks such as cooking and food preparation. This can make a kitchen feel more spacious and open, and keep countertops neat and tidy. Install a 2700K light above the cabinets or at the baseboards to make the entire kitchen island more inviting.

Soft warm light is especially appropriate for earth-tone wood furniture in traditional home kitchens. However, if you have a more modern kitchen, look for a 4000K neutral light or a 6500K bright light. 

Soft White Light and Daylight Light For Wooden Cabinets

Soft White or Daylight for Bedrooms

It’s worth noting that the color temperature of LED light can affect our circadian rhythm and the ability to fall asleep.

Studies have shown that the combination of a tryptophan-rich breakfast, post-breakfast sun exposure, and nighttime exposure to low color temperature lighting from lamps is a powerful way to induce high melatonin secretion in human adults. This shows the importance of soft white light in the bedroom.

The warm light of 2000K-3500K soft white is less stimulating to our eyes and might be preferable for the hours when you want to relax and sleep.

While daylight can provide clear visibility, however, it might be too bright for a relaxing and sleeping environment.

Some people like to use a daylight bulb for reading and working, but switch to a soft light bulb for the hours of the night when they want to fall asleep.

Additionally, there are some people who might use smart bulbs or dimmable led strip lights to adjust the light intensity as per their preference and activity.

Dimmable CCT Light, allow you to adjust color temperature from soft white to daylight

Soft White or Daylight for Living Rooms

LED soft white light is a great choice for living rooms. It is similar to warm candlelight light, which can create a cozy and comfortable mood in the room.

Additionally, the soft lighting keeps the eyes in a comfortable state and can reduce eye strain and fatigue, ideal for activities such as reading, watching TV, and spending time with family and friends.

It’s also a great option for highlighting decorative elements.

Soft White or Daylight for Hallways

For hallways and corridors, a soft light between 2700K and 3000K is recommended. This range of warm white light makes it easy for people to navigate and find their way around in relaxation.

You can also consider using a white light between 3500K and 4500K. It creates a bright and neutral light that is more suitable for areas with low light or low visibility.

Both these two options provide ample light to the space and make it easy for people to see and walk around.

Tips For Choosing The Right Color Temperature Light

  1. Room Functions: For example, living rooms are for relaxing and kitchens for tasks, so choose soft white light for living room and daylight for kitchen.
  1. Room Color & Style: Soft white is more suitable for warm tone decoration like traditional decor and rustic decor styles, it feels cozy. Daylight white is more on the cooler side, ideal for modern decor and industrial decor styles. You can choose according to the style of your room decoration.
  1. Personal Preference: Ultimately, it’s personal preference that counts. So please feel free to select as long as you feel comfortable with this color temperature.

You can use this as a reference as well:

2700K and 3000K soft white light are mostly used for living spaces and bedrooms;

4000K and 4500K natural white light for kitchens, bathrooms, and office spaces;

6000K and 6500K daylight white light for task-oriented spaces such as workshops and garages.