Impact of Lighting

Color and light have a significant impact on our mood, productivity, circadian rhythm, and energy levels. Understanding the effect that various lighting colors and temperatures has on our bodies can help inform lighting decisions that create a better quality of life.

Kelvin Temperature and Mood

There are three primary types of color temperature, measured in Kelvin Temperature (K), for light bulbs which are – Soft White (2000K – 3000K), Cool White (3000K – 4000K), and Daylight (5000K – 6000K). You may notice this in your home.  Most of us have different lighting based on the function of the space. For example, in bedrooms and living rooms it is common to have warmer colors (Soft White) for relaxing, but in bathrooms, garages, basements, attics or porches, you may have cooler tones (Cool White or Daylight).  This is largely based on function, but the cooler Kelvin temperature tones also contribute to productivity and concentration whether we are consciously aware of it or not.  

Colored Lights

Colored lights can be used strategically to influence the mood or feeling when entering a room. While we all perceive colors in slightly different ways, color psychology indicates: 

  • Red is often used to represent passion, love or anger, as well as intensity and action.
  • Blue is a calming color but can also represent sadness.
  • Green can represent nature and wealth.
  • Yellow, not unlike the sun, is considered cheerful and stimulating.
  • Orange is a unique color that can make people feel either excited or disturbed.
  • Purple is often the color of pride or royalty, but like blue, it can also have a melancholy connotation.
  • Black is often seen as an inherently negative color representing fear or death. However, it is also a color of power.
  • White is most often associated with purity and innocence, but its absence of color can also cause the perception of neutrality or nothingness.

Depending on the intention of a space, work with the designer to identify colored lighting that will complement the overall décor and the feeling that the space will convey.  Colored lighting can be especially dynamic in transitional spaces like waiting rooms to elicit calm or build excitement.

Natural vs. Bright Lights

We have all experienced a certain joy from stepping outside and feeling the warmth of the sun beaming down but receiving this Vitamin D boost throughout the day as well can improve mood and sleep. Most office spaces use harsher fluorescent lighting instead of dimmer tones which can lead to eye strain, and long exposure to bright lights can negatively impact our circadian rhythm. Replacing fluorescent lights with LEDs is a solution that does not sacrifice brightness but reduces the intensity of the light. Integrating natural light into the workplace as well can result in reduced eye strain and positively shift employees’ moods.

Pro-Tip: Blue light exposure too close to bedtime blocks our bodies’ natural melatonin production. Try unplugging an hour before bed for a more restful sleep.

Whether you are designing a new building or updating and existing space, work with your commercial electrician to understand the lighting options that will have a productive, positive impact on the occupants.


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