Indoor Design  / Hotel  / Private Home

Psychology of light: creating the right atmosphere for every environment

Posted On 1 January 2020

What makes you feel truly at home? The people you love waiting for you, the unmistakable scents, and the warmth of the atmosphere, immediately bringing you back to a more intimate dimension that recalls memories of childhood.

This is the magic of light: the enticement of the warm atmosphere of every room that speaks about you, and this is exactly what your project must be able to give your clients.

What has just been explained makes it clear how emotion is the key element of your project to illuminate in the individual rooms of a home.

The emotional appeal of the atmosphere, created through well-informed use of light, immediately makes an environment intimate and personal, so that your client immediately feels at "home" in the deepest sense of the term.

Let's take a look at how light acts on the mood and the emotional state and state of mind of people so that you can create the perfect project for each of your clients.


What to ask your clients before starting to design a lighting system?


How light affects the psyche

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

Depending on the type, lighting can excite, impassion, impress, care for, generate well-being and create a sense of harmony and syntony with the surrounding environment, depending on the nature of the specific area of the house.

Knowing how to strategically arrange and modulate the light source can certainly influence the viewer’s state of mind, generating a feeling of calm and tranquility, for example, in an environment such as the living room or bedroom, or energy and vitality in an area like the kitchen, a space dedicated to activities and conviviality.

The manipulation of the light source determines the meaning within a specific space-time context, in which light becomes a cognitive map of the environment, making it the most important element for the success of your project.

Bringing about specific psycho-cognitive and emotional responses in a conscious and targeted way in an individual exposed to a light source within a specific space largely determines the neural structure and individual psychic-physical apparatus of the individuals in that setting.

This is one of the most important effects of lighting: even if sometimes you are fully aware, you tend to pay more attention to the aesthetic or functional values of your project, which is how your project can make a difference!

When light is used in a conscious manner within an architectural space, it is able to induce specific sensations deriving from the modulation of intensity and saturation, but also of particular cognitive functions in individuals, such as dynamism, relaxation, intimacy, clear vision, excitement, productivity, and efficiency.

Improper use of light can lead to negative responses in the onlookers, such as stress, sleepiness, melancholy, agitation, restlessness, anxiety.


Psychology of light: creating the right atmosphere for every environment Au Revoir

Au Revoir

Therefore, it is clear that the response of an individual exposed to light changes according to the variations between the extremes of the source, which can be bright or dim, uniform or non-uniform, central or perimeter, hot or cold.

In short, by changing or regulating the nature of light stimuli, it is possible to voluntarily induce in the perceiving individual a modification in their neuro-psycho-physiological response.

Again, if the impact generated by a light source is also associated with audio, like a music, the synaesthetic possibilities of human perception and the range of emotional responses of each individual exposed to light expand, just like colored light can evoke a tactile sensation in an individual, manifesting itself in the form of perceived temperature, for which the individual is able to "feel" the light.

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 already known and familiar patterns in their life experiences.

All this makes it possible to identify, in the light, one of the fundamental elements of the perceiving individual’s process of mental reconstruction and interpretive decoding of the environment. This represents an extremely interesting source for your project, through which you can succeed in filling, with appropriate lighting, the cognitive gap that each individual has with respect to an unknown reality such as that of a new or remodeled home, providing them with the right keys to understand the surrounding environment and the necessary answers to their fundamental need for security.

Through the proper use of these dynamics, your client will be able to overcome the instinctive and primordial defense mechanisms against the unknown, mechanisms that would provoke in them the instinct of escape or aggression. All of these factors would greatly affect your project, as they would not allow your client to recreate an environment of absolute comfort where they feel emotionally at home.

The light, therefore, helps to give meaning to the environment and guide the interpretative processes of reality, which an individual puts in place to be able to control the external setting. Yet, at the same time, human beings are also attracted to that sense of complexity and mystery that derives from the discovery of a new and unknown environment. Therefore, they tend to choose "unconventional" solutions in which the light drives the individual in the process of exploring the unknown, through its innumerable modulations and nuances.

Light seems to conceal the mystery paradoxically, rather than reveal it, and it is precisely for this reason that it attracts, involves, stimulates, and fascinates.

So, while on the one hand, the coherence reassures us, on the other, we are fascinated and intrigued by complexity. In both cases, it is always the light that drives our visual apparatus for decoding environmental information, both come from an architectural context and a work environment or within a home.

Whether natural or artificial, colored or fluorescent, evanescent, or material, light can induce precise perceptual modifications in the sensory sphere of the human being; therefore, the holistic and immersive dimension of individual involvement is the key to success of any lighting design project.

The energy that radiates from the light source and the biopsychic effects it causes must become the fulcrum of every project, as the perceptive mechanisms and the interpretative processes of your client do not make them a mere spectator of the environment but allow them to empathize with it as a protagonist. This is why your project will be successful: if its emotional experience as a protagonist of its environment is as pleasant and less monotonous as possible, creating the most suitable atmosphere for them in every room in their home.


Psychology of light: creating the right atmosphere for every environment Don't Touch

Don't Touch

How to create the right atmosphere for every environment

Based on the in-depth analysis of the fundamental importance of light in every room for the well-being and comfort of your client, let's take a look at the general guidelines to optimally illuminate and create the right atmosphere for each environment.

Entrance lighting

The entrance is considered a separate space from the rest of the home and, as such, is used very little.

In this area, you should use appliqués or suspension lamps to create low and warm light or table lamps where the entrance foresees the presence of entrance furniture or consoles with empty containers, for example, whose brightness must be not very intense and produce warm tones to be welcomed by the light when entering the house.

Corridor lighting

In the corridor, it can be useful to insert recessed or appliqué spotlights into your project, which will help you, even in this case, to illuminate and create atmosphere, especially if associated with small aligned squares that can make a small, perceptive and suggestive journey.

Lighting for the living room

Here you are in the high point of every home, where most of your time is usually spent and the greatest number of activities take place. It is the most representative space where you can welcome guests, together with the kitchen and dining room.

For these reasons, the living area needs special attention in your project.

When choosing the lighting, you should first look at the style of the space and, subsequently, the height of the ceilings, another very important aspect. If the ceiling is lower, you should avoid chandeliers and instead choose spotlights or appliqués.

In the case of spotlights, they must respect the distance between the wall and the ceiling so that the light beam does not disperse on the floor or in a single point of the room.

As for choosing the number of installations, do not take advantage of the traditional rule of "less is more" but, on the contrary, in the living room, the more luminaires there are, the more opportunities you will have to recreate different atmospheres.

If, on the other hand, the ceiling is high enough, then you can opt for the use of large lamps, which can be useful to give the room a broad general light and leave few dark spots as possible.

Another element you should take into consideration is the romantic atmosphere. It is clear that you need to provide a second lighting option in your living room lighting project, as this can help to create a more intimate and romantic atmosphere, allowing your client to enjoy a light that perfectly complements this type of emotion.

If you think of lighting also as a very important piece of furniture, you will see that your lighting installation idea will be much more suited to the context.


Psychology of light: creating the right atmosphere for every environment Life


Lighting for the bedroom

Let's start by remembering that the bedroom is not just for sleeping, so don't think about lighting only in this sense. However, the importance of welcoming lighting in this room is even greater than for the other rooms.

Therefore, this room will need a lot of light for the day and soft, soothing light for the evening. For this purpose, lampshades are unavoidable, although the appliqué and adjustable LEDs also create a beautiful and functional lighting effect.

Lighting for the kitchen and dining room

Specific activities are carried out in the kitchen and require the use of accent lighting, especially the work area, and specific lighting for the dining table.

For this purpose, adjustable spotlights are often a valid alternative to static lights. You can also install light points under the wall units, perhaps with LEDs, to create an interesting diversion that makes the work surface brighter and more visible, as you can also integrate lighting into the cupboards or the extractor hood.

If the space for the dining table is displaced with respect to the kitchen, extra lighting is needed. You should use warmer and more welcoming lighting and hang one or more suspension lamps over the table, depending on its length, to render the foods and drinks that are being consumed more visible, but without the annoyance of an intense light that makes the atmosphere cold. In fact, warm and welcoming light recalls the sense of conviviality, being together, and enjoying good moments with loved ones and friends.

Bathroom lighting

As for the bathroom, the fundamental rule is: it illuminates the mirrors for putting on makeup and shaving.

However, pay attention to the regulations that govern the characteristics of bathroom electrical systems to guarantee the right distance between the light source and the flow of water and keep your customers in total safety.

In the bathroom, ceiling spotlights and ceiling lamps are very useful. This means that the luminous bodies arranged between wall and ceiling, without being visible, are the most usual and traditional solutions but also the most functional and aesthetically valid.

The light on the mirror should be placed on the sides of the mirror and not above, to avoid creating unwanted optical effects, such as shadows on your nose or under your eyes, as well as avoiding directing the light into the user’s eyes, with the risk of causing physical as well as emotional harm.

In the 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 relaxing environment, where you can enjoy a little of peace after a busy day and stop for a few minutes to enjoy the silence.

For this purpose, it is useful to use adjustable lighting, which allows your client to set a soft, ambient light to create the right atmosphere for relaxation.


Psychology of light: creating the right atmosphere for every environment Atelier


Use the psychology of light to create the right atmosphere for every environment

What we have covered in this article will surely help you to understand which atmosphere to create, using the best lighting for each room you illuminate.

We have seen how light has a predominant influence on the perception of the environment and how this is essential to make people perceive a familiar environment.

The various rooms, therefore, need a specific atmosphere. The living room and the bedroom must be able to provoke a feeling of comfort and tranquility, as well as intimacy and romance. However, in the living room, you need to be able to carry out recreational activities like playing with friends, chatting over a cup of tea, and so on, which requires a generic light that makes the atmosphere both joyful and intimate. The kitchen and bathroom, being rooms in which precise and specific activities are carried out, require an open, bright atmosphere, capable of helping the user concentrate in a non-fatiguing manner. In addition, bathrooms, where there is usually a bathtub, require additional lighting that can create a more thoughtful, introspective atmosphere, through which you can relax and surrender yourself completely to a warm restorative bath for your body and mind.

In summary, these are the main points, the guidelines that you must take into consideration to make your project suitable to your client’s needs. Nevertheless, do not forget that these guidelines are generic, so you must know how to adapt them specifically to your client’s requests.

Each of us perceives and experiences environments in different ways, so try to understand which atmosphere is right for your client and their way of conceiving each home environment through their words. Try to create a truly personalized project that is able to bring your client's associations back to their concept of home to make them feel at ease. At the same time, guarantee that new and unexplored feeling that will make them savor the taste of the unexplored and originality.

Being able to combine these two elements will surely guarantee the success of your project and the emotional satisfaction of any client.


What to ask your clients before starting to design a lighting system?


For more information, support, and assistance in choosing the right impactful models of modern suspension lamps for bedrooms, 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.