How to Calm Your Anxiety with Lighting at Home

Anxiety is a widespread problem in modern society. In the US, anxiety is the most common mental health issue, affecting about 40 million people. In 2020 alone, the prevalence of depression and anxiety increased by a whopping 25%.

We all need a space for relaxation where we can decompress. Most of us look to our private home spaces to be that place. When we are able to truly relax where we feel most comfortable, we can take time to recharge and return to the outside world reenergized.

Indeed home’s lighting can play a key role in its dweller’s anxiety, whether it’s heightening your anxiety or relieving it. Being purposeful about and conscious of your lighting choices can be an easy way to treat your mental health at home. Why not take the opportunity to turn your home into a safe haven for your mind, using simple lighting techniques?  

How does light affect emotional health?

It’s not just light that affects us, but the absence of light too. A lack of light exposure disrupts our circadian rhythm. This is a natural process that controls your daily sleep, wakefulness schedule, and your body’s internal clock. When this rhythm is disrupted, we may feel lowered energy levels and increased anxiety, stress and irritability.

Oppositely, exposure to light improves communication between the brain regions that are responsible for processing emotions like anxiety and stress. Light exposure also activates brain regions that promote cognitive performance, memory formation, and mood regulation.

 Fact: Exposure to natural light early in the day helps reinforce the strongest circadian cue.

How can I use lighting to take care of my mental health at home?

Сozy space can become your day savior

Understanding the impact light has on your space makes it easier to pick lighting fixtures and effects that create the right feel for your home – and your mind. Here are some key elements to light worth paying attention to when creating ambiance in your space.

Color Temperature

Color temperature, measured in Kelvins (K), describes the coolness or warmth of a light source. The color temperature of a light bulb, as you’ve probably seen, can create a cooler or warmer feel in a room.

Conventionally, blue-green colors are considered cool while red-yellow are considered warm. At 2000K to 3000K, “warm white” light is produced. It appears orange to yellow-white and emits a cozy and inviting ambience.

Color temperatures ranging from 3100K to 4500K produce cool white light with a bright, yet welcoming ambiance. Those above 4500K produce a more blue-white light, mimicking daylight. 

The Kelvin scale:
2000k-3000k: warm whites and yellow glows
3000k-4500k: much like tungsten lights, this has an orange hue
4600k-6500k: bright like direct sunlight and overcast skies

Lux and Lumens

Lux is a measurement of illumination or light level intensity. It refers to the total amount of light falling on a surface. On the other hand, the lumen measures the total amount of light emitted in all directions.

Lux lets you know how bright a surface such as a tabletop, reading table, or kitchen top will appear. Lumen tells you the amount of light a single source emits, helping you to buy the amount of light you find sufficient for a space. The more the lumens, the brighter the light, and the fewer the lumens, the dimmer the light.

How to calculate the lux level of a room?

A lux light meter can be a handheld device or an app on your smartphone. Use one to get a high accuracy measurement of the lux levels in your room for a guide on whether or not to adjust them for your relaxation needs.

How many LUX does your home have?

Compare with common standards

Room TypeSpaceNorm (LUX)
Bedroom (adult)Average100-300
Bedroom (child)Average500
Living RoomGeneral300
Netflix and Сhill150
Dining RoomGeneral200
Home OfficeGeneral600
Lighting Levels for Different Rooms

How do I incorporate lighting into my home’s interior design?

Room with warm neon lights

Lighting is both a science and an art. You can use different types of lighting for different purposes in a room, just as you would with furniture or décor. Using the right lighting in a room can help make that space healthier and happier to exist in.

Consider using cool or ambient light in areas where you require focus and energy, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Similar to daylight, a bright blue-white light or task lighting works well in areas where you need to pay attention to detail, like a home office.

Accent lighting is better suited to less functional rooms. You’d use them to highlight certain features or areas of a room, such as art in a living room. Be sure to pay attention to how light works with color too. Your lighting’s color temperature combined with the color in your room can be the difference between feeling lively and optimistic or sluggish and anxious.

Artificial Light

Create a chill zone in your room

Changing your entire lighting system can be challenging and sometimes near-impossible, especially if you live in a rental. But artificial lighting is an easy way to create a “chill area” in your apartment, which can help fight your anxiety.

Consider subtle blue, green and red artificial light features – particularly if you’re a nighttime anxiety person. These can come in many simple, easy-to-shop forms such as night lights, fairy lights, smart bulbs and neon lights


Natural Light

Windows That Complement the Room

When daylight or natural light shines into your home space, it can increase your comfort levels, relax you and boost your mood. Consider designing the interior of your home so you can take advantage of the natural light that enters it. Arrange some furniture to sit in the sun so you can enjoy direct sunlight from time to time and invest in glossy surfaces that will reflect light and spread it around the room.

You can enhance the natural light in your home with features like windows, skylights, and tabular lights. You can also use simpler design ideas, such as painting a room a lighter color palette, or allowing more sunlight to enter your windows by trimming trees or using single-sheer curtains.

Make Your Home Your Safe Space

Mental health should always be made a priority, especially at home where we spend so much of our time. Our homes are our sanctuaries, and we should always aim to be cognizant of which parts of our homes could be negatively or positively affecting us.

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We can use lighting in our homes to create safe spaces for taking care of our mental health. The lighting in your room can heighten your anxiety or relieve it, so be sure to let the lighting around you create a positive effect on your mental health. Whether you want to improve your mood, memory, productivity, or get a good night’s sleep, purposeful home lighting may be the solution.

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