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Drenched in Hues: A Guide to Adding Color to Your Space with Lighting

The three primary interior design tools that define our experience in space are materials, light, and color. Lighting is often the most powerful component, utterly transforming how an environment feels. Most forget that light and color are deeply linked, with our perception of hue and saturation impacted by the type and intensity of lighting we use. Properly using colored lighting, not just hues of white, can even infuse life and energy into an otherwise lackluster room. So how do you work with light and color in your space? We’ll help to break it all down for you.

Choosing the Right Color Temperature of White Light:

  1. Warm Lighting (2200-3000K):
  • Ideal Spaces: Bedrooms, living rooms, and dining areas.
  • The warm, flattering glow of light within this color temperature range helps to impart a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Perfect for spaces where comfort and relaxation are paramount, such as bedrooms or areas designed for unwinding.
  • Lower color temperatures in this range align best with human circadian sleep cycles. Think of it akin to late daylight and sunsets that naturally tell the body to relax and prepare for sleep.


  1. Cool Lighting (3500-5000K):
  • Ideal Spaces: Schools, workshops, laundry rooms, garages, commercial workspaces, medical environments.
  • Description: Cool lighting imparts an energizing ambiance, making it well-suited for spaces where focus and energy are necessary. The crisp and vibrant illumination from higher color temperatures can impart a truer rendering of blue colors. So, if accurate visibility of tones and shades is essential, cool lighting is the way to go.
  • Higher color temperatures mimic the sunlight at midday, which also tells our nervous systems to function at peak energy and alertness. While this is great for work environments, it can lead to insomnia in residential environments.


Using Colored Lighting (Red, Green, Blue)

  1. Highlighting Architectural & Landscape Features:

Colored lighting can strategically accentuate architectural features, add to festive holiday displays, create focal points, or set a mood in a landscape. Whether illuminating a unique design element or casting a vibrant glow on a textured wall, colored lights add distinctive character and a layer of visual interest. Use it sparingly, however, or you’ll risk looking like a theme park or mini-golf course.


  1. Setting the Mood Indoors:

The human nervous system can be very responsive to deeply colored light. While blue tones can be soothing, red or pink tones can be energizing or even alarming. Look to nature to be your guide for color usage indoors: golden tones evoke relaxing sunsets, greens, peaceful and verdant forests, and blues recall calm bodies of water. Less intense versions of color (pale greens, soft pinks) are more tolerable for longer periods. In contrast, deeply saturated tones (dark blue, green, or red) evoke strong visceral responses and are only best used for short bursts or events like parties.

Colored lighting, whether white or deeply saturated, offers a way to immediately affect mood, and energy levels within any space, opening up a world of possibilities. From choosing the right color temperature to creatively using colored lights, our team can help you explore the transformative power of lighting by creating a well-lit and visually captivating environment.

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