Understanding the Psychology of Light and Mood

How does lighting affect our mood?

Do you sometimes feel ‘not like yourself’ or low and down? Well, a big reason for that can be a lack of light in the place where you are. Lack of light or dull lighting can put you in a mood that you can’t really describe, but it really makes you sad and lonely.

Similarly, you will feel chirpier and light-hearted if you are in a well-lit room. All these mood changes aren’t in your head. Instead, they are very real, and according to studies, lighting can actually affect your mood.

But how exactly does light affect mood? We will get to that.

Lighting and Mood:

There are two chemicals in our body: melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin controls your sleep and waking-up patterns, and this chemical is strongest at bedtime. On the other hand, serotonin affects functionalities like memory, mood, sleep, appetite and happiness. Light directly affects both these chemicals.

If the light is too bright at bedtime, you have trouble falling asleep, and if the light is too low during the other hours of the day, you can feel down and gloomy.

  1. The Dance of Color Temperature: Color temperature, measured in Kelvin, is pivotal in influencing mood. Warm-toned lighting, reminiscent of a cozy sunset, creates a sense of comfort and intimacy, ideal for spaces where relaxation and connection are desired. On the other hand, cooler-toned lighting evokes a refreshing ambiance, fostering alertness and focus. Whether you seek a calming oasis or a refreshing environment, understanding the impact of color temperature empowers you to curate spaces that align with desired emotional states.
  2. Natural Light and Vitality: The radiant embrace of natural light profoundly impacts our well-being. Studies have shown that being in natural light enhances mood, promotes productivity, and even aids in regulating our circadian rhythm. By incorporating ample windows, skylights, or other light-capturing elements in our spaces, we invite the revitalizing energy of the outdoors. The soft glow of dawn or the vibrant hues of a sunset can infuse our surroundings with a sense of vitality, positively influencing our emotional state.
  3. Dimmers: Just as a painter adjusts the brush strokes to create a masterpiece, we can manipulate the intensity of light to set the mood. Dimmer switches for lights allow us to create a peaceful atmosphere, perfect to unwind after a long day or create an atmosphere for relaxation. By gradually reducing the brightness of lights like elegant lamps II, we signal to our bodies that it is time to unwind, allowing us to find solace and peace in our surroundings.

Other Factors that Lighten the Mood:

While lighting plays a significant role in shaping our emotional experiences, other elements can also contribute to improving your mood:

  1. Colors and their Influence: Beyond the impact of light’s color temperature, the hues of our surroundings also affect our moods. Vibrant, cheerful colors like yellow and orange evoke feelings of happiness and energy, while serene blues and greens promote a sense of calm. By integrating a harmonious color palette into our spaces, we can enhance the emotional impact of lighting and create a cohesive, mood-enhancing environment.
  2. Nature’s Touch: Nature has an innate ability to elevate our spirits. By incorporating natural elements such as plants, flowers, and natural textures, we bring the outdoors inside, infusing our spaces with a touch of serenity and tranquility. Walking or even sitting among trees, plants, or flowers can improve your breathing and bring peace all over your body.
  3. Personalization and Comfort: Tailoring our spaces to reflect our unique personalities and preferences adds an extra layer of comfort and delight. Surround yourself with meaningful artwork, cherished photographs, or sentimental objects that bring joy and evoke positive memories. By setting up a place that makes you comfortable and happy, you will become emotionally and mentally happy.


Light has an astonishing power to influence our mood, transcending its functional purpose. Understanding the psychology of light and mood can shape our environments to uplift our spirits and promote emotional well-being. We can create spaces that embrace us with warmth, serenity, vitality and, most importantly, lighting. Let’s mindfully light our surroundings, transforming them into sanctuaries that reflect and nurture our emotional selves.

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