Daylight Vs. Soft White Light Bulbs

Both old-fashioned incandescent bulbs and their newer light-emitting diode replacements come in a variety of hues designed for different lighting effects. Soft-white and daylight bulbs sit at opposite ends of the light-color spectrum: soft white emits a warm, slightly yellowish hue, while daylight bulbs are designed to emulate actual daylight on a sunny day at noon.

Woman on a sofa drinking tea
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Soft white bulbs give the room a warm, yellowish glow.

Side-by-Side Comparison

Two bulbs made by the same manufacturer -- lighting identical spaces -- illuminate the areas differently when one bulb is a soft-white bulb and one is a daylight bulb. The soft white bulb emits warm, yellowy tones and brings out the yellows, oranges and reds in the room. A daylight bulb does not emit or highlight yellows as the soft bulb does; its light appears more clear or cool by comparison. Soft white bulbs provide ambient lighting warmth for spaces that include the dining room or bedroom, while daylight bulbs provide a truer and clearer representation. These bulbs work better in reading areas or in the bathroom near the mirror.