The Psychology of Light in your Home

Posted on: July 25, 2019
Tags: Home Improvement
Lighting Psychology in your Home

At Apollo Draperies, we think about more than just window coverings and design. With a namesake like the Apollo, the God of Light, something would be amiss if we didn’t also consider the ramifications of natural light in a home while helping you plan the perfect window coverings. Lighting plays a much larger factor than we think - it affects everything from our quality of sleep, productivity and even our emotional state.

 

Light plays a huge factor in psychology.

 

Many studies have dived into the way that lighting and natural light affect our moods, creativity and our sleep patterns, so we wanted to share some of the basics behind the psychology of light in your home’s design.

 

Extreme Brightness Means Extreme Shadows and Feelings

The solution to a darker area isn’t always brighter lights. In fact, when lights are brighter, shadows are darker, and a study found that this drastic lighting amplifies moods - positive and negative. For example, on a bright and sunny day, people who were feeling depressed feel more depressed in bright lighting. People even reacted in more extremes when asked to rate certain things - they wanted sauce to be even spicier or found someone more attractive in bright light than in more filtered or dimmer lighting.

 

Oddly enough, in brighter lights, regardless of temperature, people reported feeling warmer than in other lighting, and feeling warmer is also linked to heightened emotions.


So keep that in mind when planning lighting - layered window coverings would allow you to customize the level of light in your home, so you can make the big game feel more exciting in your living room with bright and full lighting, but maybe pull the sheers and dim the lighting a little if your team starts losing.

 

Your Circadian Rhythm Cares About Light - A Lot

As human beings, sometimes we forget that we are also still mammals, and mammals are very sensitive to light/dark cycles. Our bodies rely on light as a way of recognizing not only day and night, but work/rest and sleep/wake rhythms. Our melatonin levels, that is the natural hormone produced by our pineal gland in our brain that helps us relax, is regulated almost entirely by light levels that it is exposed to through our retinas.

 

Bright light doesn’t allow our bodies to produce melatonin, whether it’s natural or artificial. While that means opening the curtains wide during the day will help make you more productive and energetic, it also means that any light seeping in through your curtains can disrupt your sleep entirely, making blackout curtains or draperies almost a necessity. The lux, or lumen rating on your lightbulbs, does matter in this aspect as well. The suppression of melatonin is directly linked to the intensity of the light.

 

So when it comes to your home, make sure window coverings in areas related to rest have the ability to block out more (or all) lighting, and if you can, install dimmer switches on lights with brighter bulbs as well. As you finish your busy day and sit down in the evening, make your lighting in your home dimmer as well and you’ll feel more relaxed and sleep better too!

 

The Color of the Light Does Matter

While natural light comes in colors we can’t change, artificial lighting comes in a variety of hues. Red/orange/yellowish lighting, often called “amber” or “warm” affect our circadian rhythms the least. In the evening, utilizing bulbs with these warmer tones increases melatonin and has a positive, warming and comfortable affect on our brains.

 

Conversely, bright white lights, or blue lights (often called “daylight” or “bright white”), which includes light from digital screens, absolutely suppresses melatonin. Our brain cells are actually the most sensitive to the blue wavelengths.

 

So in rooms where you want to feel relaxed, install warmer toned lighting, and make sure you are utilizing that “blue light filter” option on digital devices during your evening relaxation time.

If you really want to control light like a pro, install motorized window coverings that you can control with a SmartHome hub to change throughout the day or with your smartphone or tablet, and use smart lightbulbs where you can change the hue to the correct color “temperature” to really make your home’s lighting work for you.

 

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