By now, consumers are used to seeing pig-tailed compact fluorescents (CFLs), finned LEDs, and other unique shapes in the light bulb aisle. The legislated phase-out of incandescent lighting begins in 2012, and numerous options are available to fill the void. Still, some homeowners are concerned that CFLs and LEDs will create a cold and sterile world, lacking the warm glow we’re used to.

Not so, lighting manufacturers say. According to Kichler Lighting, LEDs produce light output with 75% less watt consumption than incandescents without compromising brightness, light reach, or warmth. Jeff Dross, the company’s corporate director of education and industry trends, puts concerns to rest with a lesson in Color Temperature 101. On the Kelvin temperature scale, the 2,800 K–3,100 K range is ideal for residential applications. Additionally, Dross says, look for a high Color Rendering Index (CRI) of 80 to 100 to help ensure that colors under the light are precise and correct.