Lighting technology

How to create the right atmosphere with the psychology of light

Posted On 7 June 2023

Do you want to create the right atmosphere for any environment with your lighting project? Find out how to light up any room with the psychology of light.


What is it that makes us feel truly at home? The people we love waiting for us, the unmistakable scents, and the warmth of an atmosphere that immediately leads us into another intimate and welcoming dimension.

Light is one of the determining elements in the creation of this welcoming atmosphere. Through the right lighting, in fact, it is possible to create an atmosphere in every room that reflects us and makes us feel completely at ease.

This ability of light to affect our psyche is a key element that every architect or interior designer must consider.

The emotional appeal evoked by light is capable of making a space immediately intimate and personal so that the client immediately feels at "home" in the deepest sense of the term.

So let's look at how light affects the mood and emotional and psychic state of people and how to create the right atmosphere for any environment through the right lighting.

In particular, we will take a look at:


Psychology of light: how light affects the psyche


Psychology of light: how light affects the psyche

Light has the great ability to stimulate our perceptive apparatus through exposure to a light source and its colors, which are capable of inducing different emotional states.

Depending on the type of lighting used, light manages to:

  • Excite
  • Arouse
  • Impress
  • Cure (light therapy is used to treat psychiatric disorders)
  • Generate well-being
  • Create a sense of harmony with the surrounding environment

Knowing how to strategically arrange and modulate the light source can certainly influence the mood. Therefore, it is essential to create the right atmosphere for every room in the house.

For example, bedroom lighting or the lighting in a living room should generate a feeling of calm and tranquility, while for an area like the kitchen, a space dedicated to activities and conviviality, the goal is to stimulate energy and vitality.

Light becomes a kind of cognitive map of the space, and this is why it is one of the most important elements for the success of the entire project.

Inducing specific psycho-cognitive and emotional responses in a conscious and targeted manner in a subject exposed to a light source within a specific space largely determines their neural structure and individual psychic-physical apparatus.

This is one of the most relevant effects of lighting even if sometimes, in the realization of a project, we tend to pay more attention to the aesthetic or functional values, ​​which, although fundamental, must not overlook the importance of the psychology of light.

An improper use of light can in fact arouse negative responses in subjects who experience the space with stress, drowsiness, melancholy, agitation, restlessness and even anguish.



The effects of light on mood

Cold or warm light, bright or dim, uniform or non-uniform, central or perimeter.

As we have seen, by changing or regulating the nature of light stimuli, it is possible to voluntarily induce a modification in our neuro-psycho-physiological response.

Human beings have the fundamental need to make sense of the environment that surrounds them, through the activation of mental processes for which they assimilate and create a correspondence between the stimuli coming from external reality and the patterns already known and familiar in their experiential life.

And light is precisely one of the fundamental elements of this process of mental reconstruction and interpretative decoding of the environment. It represents an extremely interesting starting point for the elaboration of an effective lighting design project.

Through the right lighting, it is possible to create the right atmosphere in any environment, bridging the cognitive gap that each individual has with respect to an unknown reality such as that of a new home or one that will be renovated, providing them with the right keys to understanding the surrounding environment and the necessary answers to their basic need for security.

Through the wise use of these dynamics it is possible to help the client overcome the instinctive and primordial defense mechanisms against the unknown, mechanisms that would provoke in them the instinct of fight or flight.

All these factors would significantly affect the success of the project, since they would not allow you to recreate an environment of absolute comfort in which the person can feel emotionally at home, in their "den".

Light also paradoxically seems to hide the mystery, rather than reveal it, and that is precisely why it attracts, involves, stimulates, and fascinates.

So, while on the one hand coherence reassures us, on the other, we are fascinated and intrigued by complexity. In both cases, it is always the light that guides our visual apparatus to decode the environmental information, whether it comes from an architectural context, a work environment, or inside a home.

The energy that radiates from the light source and the biopsychic effects it causes must therefore become the fulcrum of every project, as the client's perceptive mechanisms and interpretative processes do not make them a mere spectator of the environment, but the leading actor.

The lighting project will have achieved its goal only if the client's emotional experience is as pleasant and less monotonous as possible. For this reason, it will be fundamental to, first, manage to obtain the perfect integration between natural and artificial light.


How to create the right atmosphere for any indoor space

Sherwood e Robin

How to create the right atmosphere for any indoor space

Based on what has been studied so far about the fundamental importance of the psychology of light, let's look at the best practices to optimally illuminate and create the right atmosphere for each environment by finding the perfect balance between decorative and technical lighting.

Entrance lighting

The entrance, an area of ​​passage that's used very little, risks being erroneously underestimated.

This space represents in all respects the business card of the home. It is important to exploit it to make an instant style statement and to immediately put guests at ease.

And how do you illuminate the entrance of the home?

In this area, always taking into consideration the dimensions and characteristics of the space, the use of wall and suspension lamps proves to be functional to create low, warm light, or table lamps, where the entrance provides for the presence of furniture or consoles.

In any case, the brightness should not be too intense and a color temperature with warm tones is preferable so you can be greeted by light when you enter the house.

Need a truly original idea that will not fail to amaze guests?

Use wall lamps from the Karman Zoo collection, where the animal world is the absolute protagonist of lighting fixtures with a strong aesthetic and emotional impact.


The right atmosphere for any indoor space: entrance lighting

Ti . Vedo

Corridor lighting

To illuminate a hallway, first of all, we must take into consideration the height, length, and natural brightness of this area.

A functional way to create the right atmosphere in this environment and ensure light necessary for easy movement can be that of inserting recessed spotlights or wall lamps into the project or, if necessary, a combination of the two.

A wall lamp like Déjà-vu, for example, in white ceramic with a white linen lampshade, will light up the corridor with discretion without sacrificing style and elegance.


The right atmosphere for any indoor space: corridor lighting


Lighting for the living room

The living room represents the area of the house where, usually, most of our time is spent, the greatest number of activities take place, and it is decidedly the most representative space for welcoming guests.

For these reasons, the living area requires particular attention in the light design project.

For the choice of lights, it is necessary to choose lamps based on the overall style of the space and, subsequently, on the height of the ceilings.

In the case of a living room with a low ceiling, it is preferable to avoid chandeliers and instead choose spotlights or wall lamps.

If, on the other hand, the ceiling is high enough, you can use large suspensions, useful for giving the room a general wide-ranging light that leaves as few dark spots as possible and making a great aesthetic impact.

An example inspired by the past but capable of enhancing even the most modern contexts?

Au Revoir is a chandelier in white opaline glass that is modular with several arms that will give a unique personality to the living area.

For what concerns the number of installations in the living room, the traditional rule of "less is more" does not apply. On the contrary, it is better to use several light fixtures (preferably dimmable) so you can recreate different atmospheres based on the different times of the day.


Bedroom lighting

The bedroom is not just for sleeping, therefore, the lighting design project must take into account all the activities for which this room is intended (for example, getting dressed or reading a book before falling asleep).

So, to light up the bedroom and create the right atmosphere in this environment, it is necessary to think about both general lighting and task lighting.

For the first, one or more suspension lamps in line with the overall mood will embellish the room while, for functional light, the classic lampshades can be replaced with wall lamps above the bedside tables on both sides of the bed.

Alì e Babà is inspired by the name and profile of the oriental fairy tales from One Thousand and One Nights. Its structure in white ceramic and the lampshade in ceramic or linen becomes a real piece of furniture.


The right atmosphere for any indoor space: bedroom lighting

Alì e Babà

Lighting for the kitchen and dining room

Many specific activities are carried out in the kitchen area and they require the help of dedicated task lighting for the worktop and the dining table.

For the work area, adjustable spotlights are a valid alternative to static lights. It is also possible to install light points under the wall units, perhaps LEDs, to create an interesting diversion that makes the work surface brighter and more clearly visible, as well as integrating the light in the sideboards or the extractor hood.

If the space for the dining table is displaced from the kitchen, extra, warmer, and more welcoming lighting will be needed. And you can hang one or more suspension lamps over the table, depending on its length. For example, you can use Circus, which has a filigree white glass diffuser; it will help make the dishes clearly visible but won't be an annoyance like an intense light that makes the atmosphere cold.

Indeed, the warm and welcoming light recalls the sense of conviviality, of being together and enjoying good times with loved ones and friends.


The right atmosphere for any indoor space: kitchen and dining room


Bathroom lighting

The bathroom is another room that requires good general lighting and task lighting sources, in particular for the mirror, essential for putting on make-up and shaving.

Attention must also be paid to the regulations governing the characteristics of electrical systems, in order to guarantee the right distance between the light source and water.

To illuminate this room, ceiling spotlights and false ceiling lighting are very useful.

The light on the mirror should be placed on the sides and not at the top, so you don't create unwanted optical effects, and it helps avoid blinding those who use the mirror.

Two designer wall lamps would be ideal because, in addition to providing functional light, they decorate the room.In t

he case of a bathroom with a bathtub, the presence of this element makes the bathroom a room not only useful for various activities for personal hygiene and self-care, but also a place to relax, where you can enjoy a little peace after a busy day.

For this purpose, the insertion of a floor lamp like Black Out, with white painted metal structure and white fiberglass filament lampshade, will create a soft glow, perfect for relaxation.


How to create the right atmosphere in outdoor environments

Creating the right atmosphere for every environment is essential not only for the lighting of indoor spaces but also outdoor ones such as gardens, swimming pools, or verandas.

That is why it is fundamental to identify the different external areas to be illuminated and choose, for each, design outdoor lighting best suited to the specific function.

Let's look at how to play with the psychology of light in the main outdoor areas of a home.



Lighting for outdoor paths

A bit like indoor corridors, outdoor paths represent transit areas to reach the house and connect the different areas of the garden.

Illuminating them correctly is crucial both to ensure movement in complete safety even at night and to create an atmosphere that enchants the owners and their guests.

To illuminate an outdoor driveway in an original way, you can opt for floor lamps like Abachina, where two small spheres in white blown glass, anchored to the black or white parallelepiped metal structure, seem to float in the air creating a magical atmosphere.


The right atmosphere for any outdoor space: paths


Poolside lighting

The pool represents an element of value and undoubted charm and for this it deserves to be emphasized.

To create the right atmosphere in this environment and fully enjoy it even on warm summer evenings, you could place some designer floor lamps along the edges of the pool.

Don’t Touch, for example, is a floor lamp with a gray technopolymer base and PVC sticks that can be tied or left open.

The luminous heart is released into the environment through the rods, creating unexpected light.

This lamp intrigues and has the power to convey to the viewer an irresistible desire to touch it.


The right atmosphere for any outdoor space: poolside lighting

Don't Touch

Illumination of natural elements in the garden

Every detail of a well-kept garden, such as a hedge or a bush, is an element that can be emphasized.

The aluminum pickets of Pois, each of which carries a spherical diffuser in white resin, will make a walk in the garden exciting.

In three different heights and to be positioned, dense or rarefied, among the bushes and greenery, they will create the perception of small and impalpable fireflies for a guaranteed scenographic effect.


The right atmosphere for any outdoor space: illumination of natural elements in the garden


Porch lighting

The porch is generally the outdoor area also used as a dining room.

The fact that it is an outdoor environment does not mean that one cannot dare with modern and absolutely unconventional designer lighting.

For example, Leda is a collection of modular lighting elements with alternating cylindrical bars and small spheres in golden or black anodized aluminum capable of transforming itself into a suspension lamp, floor lamp, or collection of lamps.

An arched configuration is perfect, for example, to create the right atmosphere in the porch environment above a large dining table.


The right atmosphere for any outdoor space: porch lighting


Take advantage of the psychology of light to create the right atmosphere for any environment

In this article, we have seen how the psychology of light is a precious resource for creating the right atmosphere in any environment through the right lighting.

In the development of a successful lighting project, it is essential to keep in mind how light has a predominant influence on the perception of the environment and how this element is essential to convey a more or less familiar context.

Every room will need a specific atmosphere:

  • The living room and bedroom must be able to provoke a feeling of comfort and tranquility, as well as intimacy and romance, with the difference that recreational activities can also be carried out in the living area such as playing with friends, chatting over a cup of tea and so on, which require ambient lighting that makes the atmosphere joyful and at the same time intimate

  • The kitchen and bathroom, where specific activities take place, require an open, bright atmosphere, able to facilitate concentration.

    In addition, bathrooms with a tub require additional lighting that can create a more meditated, introspective atmosphere for relaxation and total abandon in a warm, restorative bath for the body and mind

Outdoor environments likewise ideally should be divided into areas according to their function and specifically lit accordingly. These general guidelines must be adapted to the client's requests.

In fact, each of us perceives and experiences environments in different ways; therefore, it is necessary to try to understand which atmosphere is most suitable for the individual client and their way of conceiving each environment of their home.

Only in this way will it be possible to create a truly customized lighting design project, capable of providing adequate answers to the practical, aesthetic, and emotional needs of the client.



For more information, support, and assistance in choosing the correct impactful lamp models to create the right atmosphere for any environment, do not hesitate to contact us at this link. We are at your complete disposal!

Camilla Rossi


Camilla Rossi



Karman, an Italian company, was founded in 2005 in Fossombrone. The company's world moves itself with simplicity towards an original and personal decorative use of lighting in both private surroundings and public spaces.