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Published February 2021


Lighting has three main functions within buildings; biological, functional and emotional.


As we all know, the sun provides us with heat, vitamin D and light and without it, our world would be in darkness. Geographical location, season, and time of day all affect the quality of light we receive. In terms of time of day, the light in the mornings in bluer and cooler, often described as blue light, whereas evening light is warmer and is referred to as red light. Our bodies have a non-visual pathway that reacts to light; in blue light we are more responsive and in red light more sleepy due to the release of melatonin.

To remain healthy and keep our biological clocks in a good sleep/wake routine, it is beneficial to get lots of blue light in the day and less in the evening. This is harder in winter and sometimes people can experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) when natural light is limited.


Natural light cannot be controlled, but daylight entering a building can be harnessed. Natural light should be allowed to enter a building as this can reduce the need to use artificial light. In some instances glare can be distracting, uncomfortable, and can make computer screens and teaching boards difficult to read. Shadows can cause confusion and can be misinterpreted as a change in the flooring level. When glare becomes a problem, blinds or plants can be used to filter the light rather than block it out completely.

Artificial light is used when there’s not enough daylight, usually in the evenings and especially in winter. Artificial light is versatile and can offer a wide range of solutions. Ambient lighting provides a uniform spread of light over a large area, task light is used for specific tasks such as reading or drawing, and accent light is used to draw attention to certain features such as paintings or art work.

Light has a huge impact on our ability to complete a task and on our general well-being. When the light is not sufficient it can have negative consequences such as an increased risk of falls in poor lighting conditions or an increased risk of migraines.


Lighting can be used to influence a whole range of different emotions depending on its intensity. Lowered light levels emitting a warm glow help to create a cosy ambience, instantly making us feel relaxed. On the flip side, a flood of intense light is stimulating and makes us feel energised.

Another important consideration is the impact that light has on colour. The same paint colour can look completely different in daylight compared to artificial lights. To ensure you make the right colour choice, we always recommend using a sample colour and testing it in different lighting. You can order a pure paint sample here.

Colour Advice

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