The impact of light and colour on psychological mood: a cross-cultural study of indoor work environments

Rikard Küller, Seifeddin Ballal, Thorbjörn Laike, Byron Mikellides, Graciela Tonello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Citations (SciVal)


The aim of the study was to determine whether indoor lighting and colour would have any systematic impact on the mood of people working indoors. Earlier studies have mostly focused either on light, colour or windows in laboratory settings. The present study was carried out in real work environments at different seasons and in countries with different latitudes. A total of 988 persons completed all parts of the study. In the countries situated far north of the equator there was a significant variation in psychological mood over the year that did not occur in the countries closer to the equator. When all four countries were considered together, it became evident that the light and colour of the workplace itself also had an influence on the mood of persons working there. The workers' mood was at its lowest when the lighting was experienced as much too dark. The mood then improved and reached its highest level when the lighting was experienced as just right, but when it became too bright the mood declined again. On the other hand, the illuminance as measured in objective terms, showed no significant impact on mood at any time of the year. The relationship between mood and the distance to the nearest window was bimodal. The results also indicate that the use of good colour design might contribute to a more positive mood. It is suggested that in future research light and colour should be studied as parts of the more complex system making up a healthy building.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1496-1507
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Environmental Psychology (011036009)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics


  • artificial lighting
  • psychological mood
  • interior colour
  • work environments
  • daylight
  • windows


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