Turn off the big light – these are the best lightbulbs for a warm glow

Set the mood and settle your circadian rhythm with some of the best warm light bulbs

Light bulbs strung above a dining table.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I am a lifelong big-light hater. In every room I enter, I spurn the cool, bright beam of an overhead light in favor of a warmer glow. Warm lighting in the living room creates a cozy, welcoming atmosphere that’s ideal for evening gatherings. Since warm lights soothe our minds and settle our circadian rhythms, they are also well-suited to bedrooms.

When you’re shopping for bulbs, it’s important to understand the lighting temperature basics. When we talk about the temperature of a particular light, we are essentially describing its color. Cool lights cast a clear, white beam that’s useful for illuminating important tasks, such as preparing food, while warm lights create a soft, amber glow to encourage rest and relaxation. 

Whether you’re looking to set the mood or wind down well, you need one of the best warm light bulbs. But with so many styles and such a wide range of retailers, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s where I come in. As a shopping writer, I know all the best places to buy lighting. I’ve spent hours searching the sites of specialist stores and top home furniture retailers to bring you the best bulbs for a warm glow. Full disclosure: I haven’t tested them yet. Instead, I’ve scoured the specifications and read thousands of customer reviews.

These vintage-inspired bulbs combine classic style with modern convenience. You won’t want to turn them off.

Best lightbulbs 2024

Technical terms explained

Light appearance = color temperature, measured in Kelvin degrees. A high Kelvin rating indicates a white light. 

Light color = a shade, such as white, yellow, or amber.

Lumens = brightness, or how much light a bulb emits. More lumens means a brighter bulb.

Wattage = the amount of energy a bulb uses, measured in Watts. 

Incandescent equivalent (LED bulbs only) = the amount of energy an LED bulb would use if it were an incandescent bulb, measured in Watts. The greater the difference between the wattage and the incandescent equivalent, the more efficient the LED bulb. 

Best warm bulb FAQs

Are warm lights better?

Whether warm lights are better than cool lights depends on the sort of atmosphere you want to create. Warm lights work best in living rooms and bedrooms, as they encourage rest and relaxation. However, if you’re carrying out tasks that require a high level of concentration, you’ll appreciate the brighter beam of a cool light.  

Is warm light good for your eyes?

Yes. Warm light is easier for your eyes to absorb than cool light. Using one of the best warm light bulbs can help to reduce eye strain and improve sleep quality.  

Final thoughts

Lighting rules are made to be broken. Don’t be afraid to mix and match bulbs of different temperatures to create truly custom lighting.  

Emilia Hitching
Sleep Editor

Emilia is our resident sleep writer. She spends her days tracking down the lowest prices on the best bedding and spends her nights testing it out from the comfort of her own home – it's a dream job. Her quest to learn how to sleep better has taken her all around the world, from mattress factories in Arizona to sleep retreats in Scandinavia. Before she joined Homes & Gardens, Emilia studied English at the University of Oxford. She also worked on the other side of the aisle, writing press releases for regional newspapers and crafting copy for Sky.