About Lighting and Your Mood

Lighting is something you can see but you don’t really feel. Or do you?

Research shows that lighting actually heavily affects mood. It is a intangible way to manipulate your space into giving you the environment you want! Lighting can make you more energized, happier, calmer and even, yes, hungry. So, what should you know when you buy light bulbs.

LED vs Incandescent 

LED’s are something most people have heard about, but often times don’t know exactly what they are or why they are more expensive. Well LEDs are Light Emitting Diodes, but who really cares about that- it’s robot talk. What you should know is that LEDs don’t get as hot as your typical lightbulb and consume less energy, which means a lower electric bill. Now, before you go out and buy a whole slew of LED bulbs keep in mind that your money savings is long term, and the immediate cost of LED bulbs will be more than regular, incandescent, bulbs.

Color Temperature

Color temperature is the warmth/coolness of your lights. Have you ever walked into a very bright, almost sterile looking tech store – that’s blue color temperature. Likewise, if you been to that boozy jazz club where everyone’s skin glows in the sultry, dim lighting – that’s warm color temperature. A bulb’s color temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) and every package will have it listed on the back. 2,000 K – 6,500 K is where most bulbs will range. Lower number = warmer light.

Why Should I Care?

Lighting affect on energy and mood is very real. Here are some ways to help increase productivity and mood with lighting:

  • Blue Light (4500K-6500K) is refreshing and energizing “Daylight”; Not good for extended use at night.
    • Look: Bright, Clean, Retail store-y,
    • Uses: Office Areas, Doorways, Garages, Reading Nooks
  • Cool White Light (3000-4500K) is bright and vibrant without being so sterile like blue light.
    • Look: Bright, Inviting, Energizing, Clear
    • Uses: Kitchens, Bathrooms, Offices
  • Warm Light (2000K-3000K) is a warm, inviting light that will remind you of a nice restaurant rather than tech store.
    • Look: Warm, Calm, Cozy
    • Uses: Bedroom, Living Room, Ambient Light


For more information about lighting and how it impacts you, also check out these posts:

How To Change a Light Bulb? The Scoop on the New Options

Let There Be Light! Ending Your Dark Apartment Blues

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Marisa Rinchiuso is a Design+Production major at Carnegie Mellon with a passion for DIY, budgeting and event management. She's always on the search for a great deal and new projects. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, crafts and travel.

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