DIM TO WARM – everything you need to know about this new lighting technology

Dim to Warm: what is this new lighting technology?
What are its applications?
Why do architects and interior designers need to know about it?

Here are all the answers.

Do you remember the dimmer controller of old halogen light bulbs? When you wanted to lower the light intensity using the dimmer switch, the light of the lamp turned to red and orange hues, creating a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere of intimacy.

With the introduction on the market of the first LED lamps, this effect seemed to be lost forever. LED-based lighting fixtures could indeed be dimmed, but it wasn’t possible to vary the colour temperature. For several years this turned out to be one of the very few limitations of LED lighting, which hindered its extensive use in the hospitality field or in luxury restaurants.

Today we can state for sure that this boundary has been crossed.

LED Technology is Constantly Developing

Over the past decade or so, LED lighting has evolved and grown exponentially and is taking the lighting industry by storm. Predictions show that LEDs will consume about 85% of the lighting market by 2030 or sooner. This is a rightful dominance as they are the most energy efficient light source and boast long life, wide variety, and brilliant user integration. LED technology is constantly developing to match users’ needs and to fit real-world applications. One new way that many manufacturers are achieving this goal is by making LED bulbs that are capable of “Warm Dimming.”

What Exactly is Warm Dim Technology?

The effect known as Warm Dimming does not have anything to do with the actual heat or physical warmth of the bulb. Rather it is when an LED bulb’s color temperature lowers when it is dimmed. In other words, the lower the brightness the “warmer” or more orange-ish the color. This is a more “natural” replication since at sunset the sky appears more “warm” in color, which puts our minds in a different gear and helps transition us to the night-time. Many incandescent and halogen bulbs naturally had this effect, yet were highly inefficient. When these new style LEDs dim, they retain their high efficacy, yet still produce the relaxing and comforting feel of an appealing “warmer” glow.

Because thanks to the new Dim to Warm technology, even the dimmer switches of the most modern designer lamps allow controlling both colour temperature and intensity at the same time.

Precisely with the same mechanism of the old-time halogen light bulbs.

By lowering the intensity, the result is a warm light that mimics the old halogen lamps but at the same time benefits from all the advantages of LED technology, which makes it ideal for homes, hotels, and restaurants.

Dim to Warm – advantages and applications

The greatest advantage of the Dim to Warm technology is having the right light in every moment, turning from a working light to a soft and cosy atmosphere.

Its applications open up to a variety of important opportunities for decorators and designers, ranging from the hospitality field to luxury restaurants.

But also in private homes, the clients will be eager to have the opportunity of always creating the right atmosphere, moving from the proper light for a dinner with the family to the ideal lighting for watching a movie.

Dim to Warm Lighting – Explained

In 2020, Tala entered the market for Dim to Warm lighting with two new product ranges – Light Engine and Sphere.

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If you are new to technical lighting vocabulary, then the term ‘Dim to Warm’ may not mean much to you. Put simply, it is the process of dimming between warm and cool light.

To explain further, our Engineering Director, Bertie Pleases, and Design Director, Joe Armitage, give us the low-down on what Dim to Warm means, how it works and why you should make the switch today.

Let’s start with the basics: what does Dim to Warm mean?

Dim to Warm is term to describe the function of the bulb that reduces the colour temperature (CCT) of the light when it is dimmed, from 2800K at 100% to 2000K as you approach 0%.

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Why has Tala ventured into Dim to Warm lighting, and how does the technology differ from the existing range of light bulbs?

Tala started out with low colour temperature (warm), low power LED light bulbs that provide a relaxing ambiance, which would suit a typical evening dining experience, reading in bed, moody hotel lobby or bar setting. As we have broadened our range to include higher power options, more suited to spaces of concentration like offices and kitchens, we increased the colour temperature to provide a more alert atmosphere.

With Dim to Warm we provide a light source that be alert and bright while cooking or working, and then dimmed to provide a warm atmosphere for hosting and relaxing in the evening.

Can you explain a little bit about the chosen color temperatures? Why are the bulbs specified at 2800K and 2000K?

We offer a continuous range of CCT between 2000-2800K. This range has been selected so that when dimmed you can create the very warm effect of a dimmed incandescent, almost approaching the inviting aesthetic of candlelight. At the brighter end, 2800K is a crisp white allowing a bright light for activities that need concentration and alertness.

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Vector EPS 10,info graphics, Light color temperature scale

Dim to Warm lighting is linked with improving physical and mental wellbeing. Why is this?

Our eyes and brains have evolved to view the world by the light from the sun and respond to the change in warmth of light as the day progresses from sunrise to noon to sunset. By illuminating our homes in a way that complements this natural process, we can support our bodies natural cycles of morning alertness and evening calmness, promoting better sleep and concentration. We’re really excited to see how our customers adapt to this way of lighting a home or workspace.

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The comparison above are some pictures I took to illustrate Warm Dimming in action being dimmed from brightest (on left) to almost fully dimmed (on right). As you can see, the lower in brightness the warmer the color. The bulb used was a Curtis Mathes LED flood light.

Each product and brand have their own spectrum of how much the LED dims, but they generally range between 3,000k down to 1,900k approximately. This picture below shows the range of color temperature and what constitutes as “warm” or “cool.”

Where Can I Get Warm Dimming LEDs?

As more and more brands are adding Warm Dim LEDs to their selections, they will become more common and readily available. However, there are already some fantastic options out there right now. Manufacturers may use different terms to describe Warm Dimming. For example, Philips calls it “Warm Glow,” TCP calls it “Allusion,” and Sylvania calls it the “Sunset Effect.” Here are a few of my favorite Warm Dim options:

1. The Nicor 08921 is an innovative recessed light reflector flood. This ceiling fixture is easy to install and is perfect for residential and hospitality applications. It is even approved to go in wet environments such as the bathroom and shower.

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2. The Philips 455824 is a great standard A19 bulb for the bedroom, living room, or table lamp. The subtle effect of the “warm glow” can enhance our daily living in the home.

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3. The Curtis Mathes 02074 is a BR30 flood light at its finest. This bulb has beautifully smooth dimming transitions and a rich color range of Warm Dimming.

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