Effects of Lighting on Mood

Effects of lighting on mood (and color, too!)

Warm light vs. cool light? How lighting cultivates different feelings

At Oelo, we love color … and light! Together, the two can have an amazing effect on people and their moods. And with a color-changing app that touts 16+ million hues and the fact Oelo has illuminated the night sky with thousands upon thousands of LEDs since its inception, we get happy feelings, too! So, for a little fun, let’s dive into the effects of lighting on mood, as well as the impact color has on you.


The sun is a strange object that has a curious effect on our bodies and minds. Not only does it travel millions of miles to meet you, but if you’re exposed to too much sun, you can get cancer, and if you don’t get enough light, you may experience systems of depression. And while the latter may seem like an exaggeration, it’s true!

Even third-party certification expert UL Solutions gathers lighting measurements focusing on the impact of lighting has on our health and well-being. The UL offers a variety of measurement services for what it calls human-centric lighting (HCL) solutions that are designed for homes, offices and commercial spaces.

So how does light exactly effect our minds and bodies? Well, your mood is regulated by a vast number of hormones coursing through your brain. Different stimuli can cause the release of different hormones. Sunlight is one such stimuli. When exposed to sunlight, your brain releases a hormone called serotonin, which makes you feel happy. Similarly, artificial light has a similar effect, especially when the tone is a warm yellow, which brings us to color …



Light can be measured in a variety of ways, and the importance of color has not been lost among scientists who study light and the power it can have. In fact, scientists devised a metric to describe the quality of light produced by a light bulb, particularly the color produced and the atmosphere it creates. Like the sun, color temperature can have profound effects on humans, too.

First, let’s talk about the two ends of the color spectrum — warm light vs. cool light. Warm light is typically more yellow in color. Reminiscent of sunlight, warm light brightens your mood, which is why most home light bulbs give off a yellow hue. (And it’s no wonder why people string up Christmas lights to brighten up the otherwise cold, blue hues that come with snowy winters!)

Meanwhile, cool light contains blue hues. Blue-temperature lighting is typically found in work environments to stimulate a different kind of mood — a desire to work. Computer screens also emit a blue light, also promoting work. But according to Harvard Health, the effects of blue light can be profound. Studies show that light, specifically blue light emitted from phones and screens, has suppressed melatonin secretion, an essential hormone needed to trigger sleep.

Color can do more than just promote happiness or hyperactivity. It can generate other feelings. In fact, many businesses use colored lighting to create a certain reaction. Tech companies use color to make their software feel user-friendly. Restaurants use color to make customers feel a sense of welcome … and sometimes … hunger. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, you’ll find blue light to promote work. There is a myriad of other reactions colored lighting produces, and here’s a brief look at the full spectrum below. (If you’re a business owner thinking about adding Oelo to your storefront, you might want to keep these hues in mind!)



Red creates a feeling of excitement and makes a company feel bold. Companies that use red successfully include Lego, Target and Coca-Cola.



Purple carries a sense of creativity and imagination. Brands like Syfy, Hallmark and The Willy Wonka Candy Company incorporate this color.



Green often embodies companies that strive to promote a message of, health, cleanliness and peacefulness. John Deere and Starbucks love to rock green.



Building on the hard-working vibes that blue hues bring, blue is a color of trust and dependability. Oral-B, Lowes and Ford utilize this color in its branding.


Silver or Gold

Silver and Gold can establish a feeling of safety, authority and refinement. Apple and many high-end car companies, like Lexus and Mercedes, monopolize this clean color palette.



Orange is a color of friendliness, happiness and energy. The best example of this is the kid-centric television network Nickelodeon, but Fanta, Hooters and Harley Davison use orange.



As mentioned earlier, yellow promotes happiness, so it’s no wonder many food companies like Denny’s, McDonald’s, Lay’s and Sun Chips use yellow to create a mood of satisfaction.



Pink creates a feeling of love and kindness. Many feminine companies, like Spanx, PINK and Barbie, utilize this color. Many businesses also show their breast cancer support with pink.

So How would you glow if given the chance?