How Lighting Affects Mood – Effects Of Light On Your Brain

Humans are visual beings, and therefore, we need to know how lighting affects mood.

Our sense of sight, along with hearing, taste, touch, and smell, is one of the most powerful senses. It is very important to us because it enables us to see what is going on around us.

The way that we experience our environment has a direct influence on our mood and well-being.

As we all know – lighting is a major component of our environment and therefore makes a huge impact on our bodies and brains.

In this article, we will talk about how light affects our mood and how you can use lighting to improve your mood.

In a hurry? Here’s a quick recap of the article:

  • Dark rooms can cause you to feel gloomy, anxious, or depressed
  • A few minutes of light exposure can help you feel more positive
  • Morning sunlight is more energizing than evening light
  • Blue light stimulates us to wake up
  • In general, natural sunlight is better for us than artificial light
  • Ultraviolet rays are a source of vitamin D for our bodies, and also stimulate our brains
  • Exposure to direct sunlight boosts levels of serotonin in your body
  • A bright office environment can make people more alert and productive.

Types of lighting

Other than the natural, there are different types of lighting, usually identified by their type of bulbs, but other factors include intensity and color.

There are four basic categories of lighting:

  1. incandescent,
  2. fluorescent,
  3. light-emitting diode (LED),
  4. and halogen.

In general, the most efficient bulbs are those that produce a bluish-white color. However, some light colors are better than others for certain types of tasks.

How Lighting Affects Mood

It’s actually easy to find out how lighting affects mood.

If you think about the color blue, you think about calming and relaxing. Blue tones create a sense of calmness. Red creates a sense of excitement. The same goes for lighting.

Lighting that is too bright, such as fluorescent lighting, can make a person feel sleepy or jittery, while light that is too dark, such as incandescent lighting, can make a person feel stressed and anxious.

It’s also known that lighting affects productivity as well.

Natural vs artificial light

Natural lighting is best. Artificial light can cause insomnia, and can even lower your serotonin levels, which is a big deal for someone dealing with depression or anxiety.

The more natural light you’re exposed to – the better.

Studies have shown that the amount of time spent in direct sunlight is directly related to our moods. When we’re exposed to more natural light, we’re happier.

Natural light provides us with vitamin D.

people who live in areas with lots of natural light have better moods and are less likely to have depression. In areas of low light, people are more likely to be depressed. The longer you’re in a dark environment, the lower your energy levels are going to be.

Not to say that you should avoid artificial light. We’re all surrounded by it and it would be impossible to function without it. It’s the dominant form of lighting worldwide.

It’s important to keep a healthy balance between natural and artificial light, as it’s one thing to use to our advantage, but another to let it control us.

Artificial light can be very addictive for those who spend long hours staring at screens, but if we aren’t careful it will turn into a form of addiction and can have negative effects on us.

Incandescent vs fluorescent light

Incandescent lighting is most commonly found in offices and other spaces where there is a lot of activity, while fluorescent lighting is commonly used in more open areas like retail spaces.

The type of light used can affect how people feel in a space. It can also impact productivity.

LED lgi

LED light bulbs aren’t just about the light.

It has been proven that the color temperature of a bulb can influence our mood. 

In the study, researchers tested the mood of subjects while looking at computer screens under various colored lights.

They found that people performed best when the display’s color temperature matched the color temperature of the bulb.

Do colors make a difference?

Yes, even the color of light can make a difference.

For example, blue light has been shown to suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy.

On the other hand, yellow light has been shown to improve alertness, memory, and even brain function, compared to red or white light.

More on psychological effects of color later.

Bright Sides of Darkness

It’s no secret that we see things differently when it’s dark versus when it’s light.

What might surprise you is that some people actually like seeing darkness. A study conducted at Stanford University suggests that seeing darkness may boost mood in two ways:

  1. Firstly, researchers say that seeing darkness can make you feel more alert because your brain naturally prepares you for sleep.
  2. Secondly, the darkness can reduce the amount of “distracting” thoughts your mind can focus on.

The Psychological Effects of Color

Colors are powerful tools that can influence our behavior. Studies show that we respond to colors differently.

Colors trigger emotional responses

The human brain is color-sensitive. Our brains have evolved to respond to the wavelengths of light that are reflected by our surroundings. The light reflects off objects and bounces off of other objects.

Some colors cause us to experience positive emotions, while others cause negative emotions. Some stimulate our senses, while others block them.

The human eye is most sensitive to green, followed by red, blue, and yellow.

Since there are different colors of light that come from lighting, some people will prefer cooler tones, while others will prefer more for warmer ones. You don’t even have to think too much about these things, because you already know them intuitively.

The Effects of Lighting on Health

Lighting is one of the few things we can control in our own homes, and many of us may not think much about it. It’s important in the way we see, think, and act.

Light helps regulate our sleep patterns, affects the way we process food, and affects our mood.

It also has a direct impact on our health, whether you’re talking about your general well-being or the way you perceive yourself in your physical appearance.

Most of us are also aware of the fact that poor lighting, particularly when combined with poor air quality, can cause problems with the eyes.

How To Use Lighting To Your Advantage

The most important thing is that your lighting is used correctly.

Whether you’re using it to read a book, look at a computer screen, or catch up on some TV shows, proper lighting is essential.

In terms of visual communication, lighting can either be the perfect partner or the biggest detriment. When choosing a lighting style for your home, you have to consider the mood of the scene you’re trying to convey and how that mood will impact the final piece. Some scenes are best lit softly with ambient light, while others need a strong source of illumination.

It is good practice to use several different light sources in the room. Take the living room for example – it is good to have classic lighting from the ceiling, but also combine it with lighting that is positioned below the height of our eyes. 

The key here is to find something that will work well in the space you have available to you.


The way we think, perceive, and feel our surroundings, and respond to those surroundings has a huge impact on how we function, how we behave and how we relate to others. And lighting is an important factor when it comes to setting the right mood in a room.

When we look at the world through our eyes, we see objects that reflect light into our eyes. We interpret this light information and it creates an impression that gives us the ability to distinguish colors and shapes. In the same way, light information is processed by our brains, which results in how we think, feel, and react to our surroundings.

Now you know how lighting affects mood – our brains are able to read and interpret light in such a way as to determine what we see, and therefore, it has a direct effect on how we behave and what we feel.

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