What is office mood lighting and how to use it

What is office mood lighting and how to use it

What is mood lighting?

Mood lighting, also referred to as accent lighting, is lighting that creates a specific emotional response, atmosphere or ambience. It can make a room feel more relaxing, cosy, warm, romantic or a combination of all of these features. As humans, we react to colours in different ways (which you can read about in our colour and psychology guide), depending on their hue, intensity and patterns. Typically speaking, warm, low lighting tends to have a calming effect while bright, cool lighting is more energising – hence why offices tend to make use of this. 

However, when used strategically, mood lighting has a ton of benefits. When it comes to selling an atmosphere in a residential property, mood lighting can make a setting feel more homely and lived-in. Not only this, but it can also be an important element in office design. We established previously that bright office lighting is energising. This is because lighting in an office should enhance concentration and focus, while also providing a comfortable and inviting environment. 

When it comes to using mood lighting for office design, it needs to be tailored to the specific needs of the business and the building in which they work. Brighter, white light can promote productivity and alertness in workstations, while warmer tones and dimmers can make break rooms and lounges more relaxing places for employees to recharge. By layering workplace lighting and incorporating mood lighting principles, office designers can support employee comfort, satisfaction, and performance.

In this post, we’ll dive into the benefits of office mood lighting, how it can be incorporated into the office, tips for choosing mood lighting, and better and healthier office lighting in general.

What are the benefits of mood lighting in offices?

Mood lighting, surprisingly, has major benefits for offices that decide to incorporate it into their design and office planning. As long as it’s well thought out, you can reap the benefits. Here are some of the key benefits of mood lighting for office design and planning: 

1. Can reduce stress and anxiety

Mood lighting can help relax the body and mind, which leads to lowered stress and anxiety levels. The warmer tones of mood lighting feel calming and reassuring, creating a soothing environment for employees. If you want to create a zen office, it’s a good idea to incorporate these into sections of your office such as breakout areas, meeting rooms, lunch rooms and similar.

2. May enhance focus and productivity

Depending on the setting used, mood lighting makes it easier for employees to focus on tasks without straining their eyes.

3. Can make spaces feel more inviting

The ambient glow of mood lighting transforms sterile office environments into inviting, uplifting spaces. Instead of feeling cold and dreary, mood-lit offices feel welcoming and inspiring. This promotes creativity and collaboration between employees. The positive environment also makes it easier to attract and retain talent.

What lighting colours should I choose?

redrow crawley design by diamond interiors

Redrow PLC, Crawley

The colours you choose for your office’s mood lighting can have a significant impact on the atmosphere and energy of the space. This is especially true when pairing lighting with office colours for productivity. You’ll want these colours to enhance the features of your office, but not make them so overwhelming that they become an eyesore!

Different colours evoke different psychological and emotional responses, so it’s important to select hues intentionally based on the vibe you want to cultivate. As a general guide, here’s how different colours, temperatures and hues can affect space and overall mood:

  • Warm white light (2700K – 3000K) can create an uplifting, yet comfortable ambience. It provides a natural brightness ideal for collaboration spaces or areas where you want to spark productivity. 
  • Cool white light (3500K – 4100K) has a more clinical feel that can help workers focus and concentrate. It’s well-suited to workstations, conference rooms, and areas where concentration is key.
  • Blue light can enhance memory cognitive ability, which can be beneficial during office working hours
  • Yellow-hue light boosts mood and enhances feelings of happiness. Use it in entryways, lobbies, and collaborative zones to create an uplifting, positive mood.

Should warm office lighting be avoided?

We don’t think so. Warmer lighting colours go from red to yellow/white. Even though they don’t increase your employees’ energy, don’t dismiss them entirely. These softer tones can make a place feel cosier and more peaceful. If used correctly, warmer lighting, especially in places like meeting rooms, might help clients and colleagues feel more comfortable.

Does mood lighting work?

Different kinds of office lighting, including mood lighting, can change how people feel and even improve the workspace they’re in.  Adjusting brightness, colours, and intensity can boost well-being and productivity by reducing eye strain, helping sleep, and managing stress levels. It can also make the office look better! 

Even better – studies show that allowing people to adjust the lighting and having enough natural light can make working in the office far more productive and pleasant.

Where should I install office mood lighting?

When incorporating mood lighting into office design, there are several key types to consider:

1. Ambient/Overhead lighting

Also known as general lighting, this type of lighting illuminates the entire room. Dim, warmer overhead lights can create a calmer mood. Brighter, whiter light keeps energy up. We’d recommend using dimmers to control overhead mood lighting.

2. Task lighting

Illuminates work areas for reading, writing, and computer work. Flexible desk lamps allow adjusting task lighting. This can be great for individual desks, meeting booths and deep-work zones in your office environment.

3. Accent lighting

Adds visual interest to specific objects or architectural elements such as artwork, plants, or feature walls. Use directional spotlights or wall wash fixtures to add contrast in a predominantly cool-toned office. This can also be incorporated as backlighting to create a silhouette.

4. Under cabinet lighting

Install under cabinets to provide localised task lighting. LED strip lighting is great for kitchenettes or hallways you want to light up automatically as people walk on through. 

By layering different types of mood lighting, offices can create a custom environment where zones are allocated for productivity and calmness where needed. They can also be used in contrast to combat particularly cool-toned lighting that can’t easily be changed. 

How to zone office mood lighting

One important consideration with mood lighting in offices is zoning (assigning specific lighting zones to different areas). This allows you to tune the lighting to the unique needs of each space. Here are some of our top tips for creating and/or enhancing zones with mood lighting in your office:

  • For open office areas, create zones of light to define and separate the space. Use directional spot lighting or wall grazing to distinguish individual desks or workstations. This can help reduce glare and shadows on screens or other reflective surfaces while enhancing focus.
  • Zone quieter areas like small meeting rooms and booths. These can have a dimmer, warmer lighting to promote relaxation, which is essential for collaborative office design if and when employees need a place to escape to for meetings and deep work.
  • Zoning also applies to walkways and corridors. Use brighter lighting here for safety and visibility when transitioning between spaces. Wall sconces work well to light hallways.
  • For private or small office design, you can install tunable fixtures with smart controls. This allows lighting to be customised per employee if required.

Accounting for natural light in the office

When incorporating mood lighting into an office design, it’s important to consider how natural light impacts the space throughout the day. Mood lighting should be used to supplement (not overwhelm!) any natural light coming into the office. Here are some ways to account for natural light when designing mood lighting for your office:

1. Supplement with adjustable lighting

Use dimmable, and if possible, colour-changing lights that can be adjusted to complement the natural light at any time of day. As the sun moves across the sky and natural light availability changes, the installed mood lighting can be dimmed up or down to find the right balance.

2. Consider light direction

Strategically place mood lighting to avoid fighting against natural light. Not only would pumping light levels up during bright sunlight levels make your utility bills soar, but they’d completely overwhelm your office!

Uplighting tends to work better on darker walls, while downlights can highlight architectural details. Side lighting behind partitions can create ambience without competing with windows and skylights, so we’d recommend using a warmer tone for when the light levels are already high in the office.

3. Layer your use of lighting

Use a combination of ambient mood lighting and task lighting to accommodate fluctuating natural light. Keep mood lights dimmer during the day and brighter at night, with task lighting remaining consistent. 

4. Incorporate more zones

Divide larger office spaces into zones based on light exposure. Spaces near windows may rely more on natural light during the day, while inner zones require more supplemental mood lighting.

Professional office lighting design

When designing mood lighting for an office space, it can be extremely beneficial to bring in a professional lighting designer and/or office fit out company such as ourselves. Lighting design can be quite complex, but you needn’t do it alone. With our help and expertise, we can fully optimise your lighting for both function and mood. Here are some key reasons you may want to hire a professional for mood lighting in your office:

1. Complexity

If your office lighting needs are complex, you want to integrate advanced lighting control systems, or if you simply want high-quality results, a lighting and/or interior designer is recommended. We can handle all the technical details and provide lighting that aligns with your goals.

After all, mood lighting requires balancing many factors like colour, brightness, placement, controls, and more. We can help select fixtures to provide smooth, even, glare-free lighting at customisable colour temperatures and intensities. This may not be a totally obvious thing to do alone, particularly if you’re in a busy period and don’t have the time or resources to consider your office mood lighting.

2. A full-service approach

We can offer a full-service approach to mood lighting in tandem with other improvements as part of an office refurbishment or other projects. We can visit your office and identify problem areas, understand your goals, create lighting plans and schematics, spec out fixtures and bulbs, oversee installations, and fine-tune the lighting based on feedback.

Now that you’re clued up on office mood lighting – are you ready to incorporate it into your office? Contact Diamond Interiors to see how we can help light up your office, and any other office design or planning needs you may have.