Can Colour Temperature Affect Mood?

June 03, 2014

Can Colour Temperature Affect Mood?

It is known that colours can affect your mood. But can the colour temperature do the same? The short answer is: yes, definitely. But there’s a bit more to it than just buying light bulbs with a certain colour temperature or Kelvin. Let us provide you with a short colour temperature guide in how to make it work in your home.

First, let’s do a quick recap of our blog in which colour temperature is explained. Colour temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) and says something about how light looks – its visual effect. (So it has little to do with degrees Kelvin, which is to do with temperature you can feel.) A Kelvin value from 0 to roughly 3500 K looks warm, with mostly red and yellow hues. A Kelvin value from 3500 – 4500 K produces a soft white hue, with mostly white and light blue hues. Finally, anything above 4500 looks a lot like daylight and puts everything in a crisp, blue light.


Image via Colour Cord Company

So how does this affect your mood? Well, here’s the main trick: colour temperature works to enhance the effect of normal colours. Take for example our Edison style light bulbs. They all have a value below 3500 K and are warm-coloured lights. Because of this, they also bring out the warm colours in the room, making earthy colours such as browns, oranges and yellows stand out. These colours usually set a friendly, inviting mood when well balanced. If you emphasise one particular colour, you can stimulate different moods such as excitement and enthusiasm (red/orange) and happiness and energy (yellow). However, a blend of colours is usually best – overdoing a colour can sometimes lead to the opposite effect. Warm light bulbs are most popular and best for areas where you want to create a friendly, inviting mood such as the living room, dining room, and perhaps the kitchen.


A sunset/sunrise-coloured light bulb

As for the light bulbs with values between 3500 and 4500K, their light is still considered friendly but a bit more energetic – the light is edging more towards daylight value, thereby allowing you to focus more clearly on what you see. These lights can enhance cooler colours such as blue and green, which stimulate a calm and relaxing mood. These colours are good for bathrooms and bedrooms, although again, you need to take care to find a balance. This colour temperature is also good for rooms in which specific tasks require clear light, such as kitchens and studies.

Finally, light bulbs with a colour temperature above 4500K give a crisp light similar to daylight. It is recommended you only use this in rooms where you need very clear vision, such as in your shed or garage and perhaps the kitchen if you’re big on cooking. This light puts the least amount of strain on your eyes and allows you to concentrate, but it is usually not considered a good choice for any common room. This is because although it enhances blues and greens which are calming colours, this colour temperature will make them seem too cool and therefore uninviting. Sometimes it’s possible to use these bulbs as local task lighting in a room with lower K bulbs as the main light source. In this case, be sure you’ve got a sound lighting plan worked out.

We hope our short colour temperature guide for light bulbs has helped you get an idea about how to stimulate moods in your home. If you’re looking for stylish light bulbs which will create a friendly, inviting mood, have a peek in our collection of vintage light bulbs. There might be something in there for you!

Which mood are you going for in your home?

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