How lighting affects mood

Lighting offers an essential function in our home, and the way a room is lit can completely transform the look and feel of a home. But did you know the lighting you choose can directly impact people’s moods and feelings too?

Here at The Electrical Guys, our experts have been investigating exactly how lighting affects mood. We hope it will give you some insight into how much impact lighting has, and guide you in how you can best utilise lighting in your home or in the workplace. Read on to find out more.

How lighting affects mood

There are a number of ways that lighting can influence our moods, and can have a
physical and psychological impact on the body.

There are some who believe, as reported in Huffington Post, that it’s light intensity that influences emotions; for better and for worse. But how does that translate into actual moods and feelings?

Medically-recognised Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD) is a form of depression that’s closely linked to sunlight. The disorder is common in the winter months, when sufferers experience a reduced exposure to sunlight, which inhibits the production of essential hormones. As a result, they are left with low moods, and feeling tired and lethargic; symptoms associated with depression. So as too-little daylight can cause lower moods, an increase in daylight must therefore improve moods.

In office spaces, the choice of lighting has been known to affect the productivity of the workforce. A study, reported by Open Workspace Design, found that artificial light can make employees tired, and natural light can help employees work for longer – and therefore be more productive. Longer exposure to natural light during the working day can also lead to more sleep in the evening, too. Poor lighting has also been linked to the development of eye complaints, which can in-turn be linked to absences, and an additional cost on the business.

In fact, something as little as the colour temperature of a lightbulb can influence how people feel. Light bulb colour temperature can range from cool shades in bluer hues, which encourage task work, and to warmer yellows and orange, which are more associated with a relaxed, inviting atmosphere. You can read more about colour temperature in our guide to the best light bulb types.

Lighting ideas for the home and workplace

So now we know how lighting can have such an impact on people’s moods, there are a number of ways it can be utilised to improve the mood, emotions, productivity and health of people in the home and workplace. Some of our recommendations are:

Let natural light in
Whether you are choosing the lighting for a home, or an office, consider how much natural light you can introduce into the room. By introducing skylights, or increasing the size of the windows in the building, you are giving people more access to natural light, which will help them to feel healthier, happier and more energetic. In workplaces, encourage employees to take breaks and go outside to make the most of the natural light during the daytime.

Try SAD lamps
If increasing natural lighting in the building is not possible, giving people access to SAD lamps is an excellent substitute – especially in winter months. These lamps are designed to mimic daylight, helping the body to produce the essential hormones it needs to feel refreshed, awake and productive. SAD lamps aren’t just for people suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder; they can help anyone to feel a little more refreshed.

Increase your light bulb knowledge
The choice of the type of light bulb can greatly impact the mood of a room. LED light bulbs, for example, burn a bright light that creates a productive and efficient environment, whereas softer bulbs with a warmer colour temperature keep things more welcoming and relaxed. Thinking twice about this small change can have a big impact on the mood in your home or workplace.

Light by occasion
If you want to use lighting to create a mood for an occasion, there are some guidelines you can follow:

  • For dinner parties or romantic evenings, lower the overall brightness of the lighting to create a more intimate atmosphere and relax the mood. This is why candles are known to work so well!
  • Dressing a room for a special occasion? Fairy lights look beautiful both indoor and outdoor, and as their name suggests, they add a touch of magic to any occasion. Choose a combination of candles and fairy lights to make a room feel even more special.
  • For cosy nights in front of the TV, you want to create an environment that’s calming, but not too relaxed that you end up nodding off. Choose bright lights, but ensure the light is pointing downwards or upwards, so it isn’t too stark.
  • Lighting can also encourage appetites in the dining room. For dinner parties, combine bright lights, which encourage animated conversation and high energy, with softer lighting that encourages appetite and adds intimacy.

If in doubt, keep things flexible. Like most things that physically and emotionally impact people, the impact of light varies from person to person. The best thing you can do, both at home and in the workplace, is to ensure that people have options. Choose ceiling lights as your main form of lighting, and accentuate with table lamps and floor lamps.

We hope we’ve helped to give you an insight into how lighting affects mood, and the different ways you can utilise lighting to benefit those in the environment and create the mood you want in a space. For more advice on the products and services we offer, contact our team who will be happy to advise you.