What is color psychology and how does it affect the way we feel?

What is color psychology and how does it affect the way we feel?

We all know it, we all hate it, but glaring overhead lights are a harsh reality in the world we live in. 😭

Airports, classrooms, offices - we sometimes just have to deal with the blinding fluorescent glow of overhead lighting that just makes us feel ick. The ick factor is related to something called color temperature, which is how we perceive the color temperature of light.

💡 But did you know there’s actually a whole science around color temperature?

It’s called the psychology of color, and it helps explain why certain color temps make us feel bleh. Let's start with the basics - what even is color temperature?

✨ Color temperature is a characteristic of light that describes its visual appearance and perceived warmth or coolness. It is measured in units called Kelvin (K).

From the warm glow of sunrise to the cool hues of twilight, the temperature of light can significantly impact our mood and cognitive functions. That's right - drowsiness, irritability, lack of focus, feeling relaxed - these feelings can be effected by the color temperature of the lighting around you.

💀 So there really is a reason the big light is killing us. 

In this blog post, we delve into the fascinating world of color psychology, exploring how color temperature influences our emotions, productivity, and overall well-being.

Understanding Color Temperature:

What's the big deal with color temperature?

Well, it's essential to distinguish between warm and cool colors, which are often associated with specific temperature ranges. Warm colors, such as reds, oranges, and yellows, have lower color temperatures, while cool colors, like blues and greens, have higher color temperatures. (I know, it sounds backwards but science is science. 💅)

Effects on Mood:

The psychological effects of color temperature are multifaceted and dare I say profound.

Warm colors tend to evoke feelings of comfort, coziness, and intimacy, reminiscent of sunlight or candlelight. They can create a sense of warmth and relaxation, making them ideal for spaces where comfort and relaxation are the goal, such as bedrooms and living rooms. In contrast, cool colors convey a sense of calmness, tranquility, and spaciousness, akin to the soothing hues of a clear sky or a serene ocean. They can promote a sense of focus and concentration, making them suitable for workspaces, study areas, and creative environments.

🦖 It kind of makes sense from an evolutionary perspective that warm lights relax us (think sunset and campfires and general winding down time) versus full afternoon sun when our cave people ancestors were most alert and active. 

But we all know sometimes things can get too extreme. And that's why the extreme cool light in your 9-5 office job is a bit much. Annndddd there's a reason your employer wants to use this lighting - it technically should keep you alert. But we all know it mostly makes us upset. Here's why 👇 

Impact on Focus and Productivity:

Color psychology helps us understand the influence of color temperature on focus and productivity.

👩‍🔬 Research suggests that exposure to cool colors, with higher color temperatures, can enhance cognitive performance and concentration levels.

Cool hues stimulate alertness and mental clarity, helping individuals maintain focus and productivity, especially during tasks that require sustained attention and problem-solving skills. In contrast, warm colors, with lower color temperatures, may induce feelings of relaxation and comfort, which can be conducive to creative thinking and brainstorming activities. 

So be strategic about color temperature depending on what you're doing. Let's say you have a creative role that requires you to be imaginative (unlike my first job just entering data in an Excel sheet ☠️)- you should adjust your lighting to a warmer setting to stimulate creativity. 

Creating Balance with Color Temperatures:

Based on what we've learned, we know that both warm and cool color temperatures are important for us because we have lots of different modes during the day. There's a time to be focused, but also a time to be relaxed. Color temperature can help us get into those zones, and research shows it's an effective tool to get us there. 

Some Quick Pro Tips for Using Color Temperature in Your Space:

  • 🏡 In your home, consider using warm colors in communal areas like living rooms and dining rooms to create a warm, inviting vibe that can also foster a sense of community. 
  • 🛏 In bedrooms and relaxation spaces, opt for cooler hues to induce a peaceful and restful atmosphere conducive to sleep and rejuvenation.
  • 👩‍💻In workspaces and study areas, incorporate cooler colors to stimulate focus and concentration, enhancing cognitive performance and productivity levels.

Where Else Does Color Temperature Apply?

The principles of color temperature have practical implications across lots of different fields! If you start looking, you'll see the importance of color temperature not just in interior design and architecture but also in marketing and branding. 👀 

What's the takeaway?

In conclusion, color temperature plays a pivotal role in shaping our perceptions, emotions, and cognitive functions. Now that you know a thing or two about color temp, you can harness the power of warm and cool colors and can create environments that promote relaxation, focus, and productivity when you need them!

Where does Poplight fit in?

🤗 We're so glad you asked. 

We designed Poplight to make wall lighting easy for everyone! And that includes being able to manage color temperature. You can use the free Poplight app for iOS and Android to toggle between three built in color temperatures: warm, cool, and neutral. These color temps are between 3000-6000 Kelvin. 

With Poplight, you can eliminate the harsh brightness of non-adjustable overhead lighting by adding #renterfriendly wall lighting to your space. (And even if you don't rent, being able to install Poplights where ever you want them and remove them without damaging your wall or doing any wiring is pretty clutch. 🔥)

Because you can easily install Poplight and easily adjust the color temperature of Poplight, we think Poplight is the perfect addition to your workspace or home so you can easily manage the vibe and make color psychology work for you

Back to blog