Q: My boyfriend and I recently moved into our first apartment. I notice the ceiling lights have different colors. Some are whiter and some look more yellow, which I like better. Also, the chandelier over our dining table has all super-bright-white lightbulbs, but I think that's way too harsh for dining.
A: I'm impressed you notice that the quality of light bothers you, and I also prefer a warmer glow. Anything can be changed: With today's technology in lightbulbs, there are hundreds of choices.
The quality of light in our homes matters just as much as efficiency, if not more. In some cases, that bright white light, especially from some LEDs, can affect your sleep because it's like daylight. When the light from your lamps or in your kitchen isn't making you feel comfortable or affects your health, it's not worth the energy saving.
Fortunately, you can get amazing light quality and save energy. Because there are so many choices in lightbulbs, your best bet to get matching color is to replace all the ceiling lightbulbs in a room at the same time. You might have to experiment, however. In one location, test two or three first before you replace them all.
For household lighting, LEDs are generally more efficient, easier to dim, and don't need to "warm up" like some CFLs. LEDs may also last longer, though they may cost more. In the store, read the packaging. For a warm glow, start with the descriptions, including "soft white" and "warm white." "Daylight" and "bright white" are going to offer much cooler light, with "daylight" being even cooler and brighter. It's confusing, as you'd think "daylight" is the sun and would be warm, but consider the blue sky.
Some packages also mention the Kelvin (K) scale in degrees, which describes how yellow or white the light is. Smaller numbers are warmer and start around 2,700K. Daylight is around 6,000K or more.
Good luck, and let me know this goes!