The Importance of Color in Lighting

Artificial lighting is a flexible instrument that may be applied to change an area. It may be utilized in private spaces as ornamental or practical lighting options, or it can be employed in public spaces to improve worship and performance events. According to a poll of lighting experts, color is usually more significant than light effectiveness and should be taken into account in all lighting applications. Why does this occur? The hue of lighting affects human physiology in a manner akin to how physical color affects psychology.

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Some individuals might not be aware of how much lighting color affects our health, even though many people agree that color has a psychological impact on our moods in daily life due to things like wall paint and d├ęcor. Natural light patterns that are predictable have been crucial in controlling inherent circadian rhythms. Timing our exposure to light and dark cycles in the environment helps control everything from hormone secretion and sleeping patterns to gene expression and cellular activity. On the other hand, uncontrolled exposure to artificial light might cause these mechanisms to malfunction.

Similar to electrical light, aberrant light invades our lives almost constantly. The body can be affected by light intensity and duration in a variety of ways, such as melatonin excretion suppression and circadian system stimulation. While all light has an effect on us, different colored lighting can have different effects on our physiological and psychological systems. It’s critical for facilities managers and production directors to recognize the significance of color in lighting and to take proactive measures to control how people interact with it.

AVL construction design and installation are the areas of expertise for Illuminated Integration. Because of our expertise incorporating bespoke lighting designs for architectural, theatrical, residential, and outdoor applications, we are always learning how to include the required lighting configuration in ways that effectively control the exposure of colored light. Any client contemplating a new lighting design-build project, in our opinion, ought to learn more about the characteristics of colored light, how it affects human physiology, and how it may be tastefully incorporated into a given area.


Those who intend to implement new lighting design-build systems should educate themselves on the following color terminology:

Kelvins, Watts, and Lumens:

Watts are used to assess energy use, whereas lumens are used to measure light brightness. Lumens per watt is the unit of measurement for efficacy. The thermodynamic temperature unit used to represent associated color temperature is the Kelvin.

Blending Colors:

In light, color mixing may be either additive or subtractive. Within the eye, cones process different wavelengths of light. Several wavelengths are handled by additive mixing when they enter the eye. The cones then mix other primary hues together, such blue and yellow, to create green. In subtractive color mixing, the source’s output is decreased because colored filters only let the passage of their own primary color’s less strong wavelengths.

The colors chromatic and achromatic:

As achromatic colors, white, grey, and black have no saturation or hue. Hue, saturation, and lightness are the three characteristics of color that are present in chromatic hues.

Complementary, primary, and secondary colors:

Secondary colors are combinations of two primary colors, while primary colors are those that cannot be created from another color. Two colors that create either black or white light when combined are said to be complementary.

Changes in Color:

When a different colored light hits a colored surface, color modification happens. It will reflect some light wavelengths and filter out others based on the color of the surface.

Interaction of Color:

Color wavelengths either accede or recede in response to surrounding hues. Our eyes will interpret colors differently depending on the amount of contrast or complementing hues present.

Index of Color Rendering:

When comparing a light source’s ability to portray object colors realistically to those of a natural light source, the CRI quantifies the color properties of the source.

Related Color Temperature:

The color output of the light source, expressed in Kelvin, is described by the CCT. When it comes to LED bulbs, even if a bulb heated to 5000K may glow the same color as a black body, the bulb won’t actually achieve that temperature.

Acquiring knowledge of these terminologies will help you start to comprehend how your lighting system works and how it will relate to the colors of the surfaces, backgrounds, and other components in your room. There are three other phrases related to adverse retinal consequences that arise from excessive light energy absorption that you should also be aware of:

High Level Fatigue:

The retina may get tired if light levels stay steady for extended periods of time. A sudden increase in light intensity may result in visual disparities.

Fatigue with Colors:

When sharply contrasted colors follow one another, the retina may also get fatigued, leading to partial responses in some cones of the eye.

Following Image:

Additionally, an after-image could show up, particularly in cases where color weariness has taken hold. Even when the source is no longer visible, the eye nonetheless interprets this picture, occasionally as a complimentary hue.

It’s critical to take into account the effects of your use of colored lighting on people who are exposed to it for varied lengths of time when designing your lighting system. Meeting observational demands requires an understanding of both the color they are seeing and the way the light will be processed by their color-sensitive cones. After you have this information, you may continue to learn about how different kinds of colored light affect the viewers’ psyche.


Lighting with color has the power to alter. There is a wavelength for every hue of light that has an impact on our physiology and mind. In many respects, having the right illumination may help people greatly. It has been demonstrated that blue or cooler-colored light increases worker attentiveness and lessens eye strain in workspaces without natural light. Yellow and other warm, mid-toned light colors are also utilized to create cozy, private, or calming environments. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that red light enhances memory and attention to detail.