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Can lighting influence your mood?


Written by Gantri Editorial Team

Jun 18, 2024


Have you ever felt uncannily uncomfortable in a space and weren’t sure why? You may have been a victim of unfortunate lighting choices.

Lighting can massively affect our mood, energy, and even productivity. This article will guide you through the influence lighting has on a space’s mood and atmosphere. We’ll discuss color temperature, the benefits of different lighting types, and how to choose the right lighting for your space. 

Ready to brighten your mood? Let’s get right into it.

The power of color temperature

Three kinds of light are presented side by side to showcase color temperature

So, can lighting influence your mood? The short answer is yes – and we largely have the various color temperatures of light to thank for this effect. 

Color temperature is a numerical representation of the spectrum of color output by various light sources. It’s a way to describe how “warm” or “cool” a light appears. 

Why temperature? The word “temperature” refers to the range of increasing degrees in Kelvin (K) which produce light, from warm-toned light to cool-toned, respectively. This spectrum covers a wide range of color tones, from the degrees of 1000K to 10000K. 

At 1000K, you’re at the warmest part of the temperature spectrum, the orange color of sunset, candlelight, etc. At the opposite end of the spectrum at 10000K, you will find cool blue light such as the blue tones of a sunny day. Across the spectrum the tone of light blends from warm, to white, all the way to blue as you increase in color temperature.

Color temperature can directly affect the mood or atmosphere of a space. Think about the color of a sunset, how the red and orange light bursts past the horizon and fills the world with warm colors. How does it make you feel? Warmer tones (think reds, oranges, and yellows) tend to create a cozy, creative atmosphere. There’s some research to suggest that warmer colors can even exacerbate existing emotional states. 

In contrast, how does gray overcast weather affect your mood? A lack of natural light is associated with lower serotonin – a key chemical involved in the regulation of mood, anxiety, and much more. 

Cooler tones (such as grays and blues) can increase focus and alertness. Picture a hospital waiting room or office cubicle – did it feature bright, low-color-temperature LEDs? These bright lights ensure clear visibility, but they don’t do much to create a cozy atmosphere!

When it comes to lighting your home, considering the color temperature of your lighting can help to ensure you create the mood you’re looking for. 

How different types of lighting influence mood

Two women are laughing together while hanging out. Their profiles are illuminated by light coming from a Gantri Arintzea Wall Light emitting warm light.

Nowadays, we’re spoiled for choice of lighting options. However, not every type of light is created equal, and understanding how different types of light influence our mood can help inform your lighting decisions. 

Let’s take a look at three of the most popular lighting options, their benefits, and the mood boosts they can bring.

Natural light

Natural light has long been known to be essential for human flourishing. Sunlight has a powerful effect on our mental health, boosting mood, decreasing anxiety, and improving sleep quality. Natural light is crucial in regulating our circadian rhythm and promoting a regular sleep cycle. Natural lighting has even been shown to affect subjective well-being – higher levels of both indirect and direct natural light are linked to higher levels of reported happiness. 

All of these benefits compound to have a substantial effect on our mood. And when we don’t have access to natural light, we see the exact opposite. An excess of artificial lighting can disrupt our circadian rhythm, leading to poor sleep quality or insomnia. Decreased access to natural light (common in winter) can lead to symptoms of depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

So if you’re looking to light a space to have the best impact on your mood, there’s very little that can compete with an abundance of warm, natural light!

A young woman is smiling slightly while holding on to the top part of a Gantri Kero Table light. Her face is illuminated both by the LED light from the lamp and from a few strays of natural light.

LED light bulbs remain one of the greatest innovations in home lighting technology since Edison first unveiled the original. They’re more energy-efficient, utilizing a mere fraction of the energy required to power an incandescent bulb, meaning you can save on electricity costs. 

When it comes to lighting to influence our mood, LED lights are a great option due to their customizable nature. LED bulbs come in a range of colors, temperatures, and even RGB variations, empowering you to take control of your lighting. As if all of that weren’t enough, LEDs will last you much longer than their incandescent counterparts, making them a more eco-friendly option. LED bulbs have revolutionized the possibilities of consumer lighting solutions and are, for now, the direct successor to incandescent bulbs.

While many people associate LEDs with bright, harsh lighting, LED bulbs come in a vast range of color temperatures – from warm, white, to cool – allowing you to choose the perfect bulb to fit your space and enjoy the mood boost of quality lighting. 

For a warm, inviting LED light, consider the dimmable Kero Table Light from Gantri, designed by Noun Studio in San Francisco.

Incandescent bulbs 

Due to the widespread adoption of LED bulbs, incandescent light bulbs have largely become a relic of the past. Unless you’re in the market for a light bulb that costs more long-term, is less reliable, and seems to heat up to scorching temperatures, an incandescent light bulb is a poor choice for most consumers. However, the incandescent bulb paved the way for future innovations in light, inspiring the warmer color temperature LEDs. 

While incandescent bulbs might be classics, if you’re looking for a warm light to capture a cozy atmosphere, LED lights can do so more cheaply and sustainably. 

Choosing the right lighting for your space

While smiling, a man is fixing his chosen ceiling light with his hands. A woman is also smiling while she looks at their chosen lighting for their space.

No lighting solution can fit every room and size. It’s important to consider your purchasing options, decide what the needs of your space are, and experiment.  

As you consider lighting options for your space, assess the following factors factors:

  • Color temperature: How warm or cool do I want this space to be? What mood am I hoping to create?
  • Brightness: How bright do I want/need the light to be in this room? Would an adjustable light be beneficial?
  • Placement: Where would I place this light? How would it interact with the other light fixtures or natural light in the room? 

These questions will be informed by the room you’re lighting, the purpose of the lighting, and of course your personal lighting preferences. 

Assess the room you want to light 

To begin, consider the amount of space you have to work with and how much light is already brought into the room by your existing means. Any windows with ample sunlight, or comfortable ceiling lights? Knowing how your space looks in both full light and in darkness can help you figure out which corners and spots need more added light, helping you organically design to your own space’s requirements.

Choose new lighting options

If you have the space for it, a standing floor light is one of the best ways to establish a setting of cozy ambient lighting. Gantri’s floor lights are designed to fit into many spaces, with slim profiles without compromising on brightness or construction. If limited space is more of a concern, fear not! There are plenty of options to work around it. 

Wall lights are amazing options for space-conscious design. With a wall light from Gantri, a convenient one-screw wall mounting system lets you easily set up bright and beautiful pieces anywhere in your space.

If you’re looking to save even more space, a clamp light might be for you! Gantri’s clamp lights can be easily mounted on any ledge or surface. Whether attached to a shelf or the edge of a desk, you’ll only need to clamp it on and plug it in to experience Gantri’s museum-quality LED lights in just a few steps.

Hopefully, you’ve learned a little bit about your relationship with color temperature, warmth, and light. Quality lighting can be a solid investment in your mental well-being, and impact your mood and productivity for years to come. For a collection of bespoke lighting solutions for every home decor style and mood, check out Gantri