Why we should keep our Christmas lights up all year round

It’s nearly time to take the Christmas lights down, but I don’t like doing it. There’s something about having extra, twinkly, lights up around the home during the festive season that always lifts my spirits. And coming back to them after being out in the cold and dark can feel so welcoming.

I’m not saying it’s those colourful lights, which are so obviously Christmassy, that you should keep up, but extra lighting in your home can actually change your mood.

Why lighting affects your mood

“There is one fundamental fact about lighting: where there is no light, there is no beauty”

This quote from Ruby Ross Wood, a New York interior decorator from the 1920’s, captures the essence. Ultimately we as humans see light as a source of beauty and the varying intensity can subtly adjust our emotions towards an object, person or room.

The amount of lighting we’re exposed to is received via the pineal gland in our brain which is responsible for the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin helps your body know when it’s time to sleep and wake up – hence, it ultimately controls how relaxed or alert you feel.

And those twinkles? Well apparently one of the reasons we’re drawn to them is innate: ‘twinkling’ is like glistening water in the distance. In caveman days, water = life. We would follow those sparkling twinkles to life-giving water. So really, we can’t help loving light and sparkling things…

Emotions can be felt more intensely under certain lighting conditions

A study by the University of Toronto Scarborough showed that human emotion, whether positive or negative, is felt more intensely under bright light. Alison Jing Xu, assistant professor of management at the university, along with Aparna Labroo of Northwestern University, conducted a series of studies to examine the unusual paradox of lighting and human emotion.

The results: under bright lights emotions are felt more intensely. In the brighter room participants wanted spicier chicken wing sauce, thought the fictional character was more aggressive, found the women more attractive, felt better about positive words and worse about negative words, and drank more of the ‘favourable’ juice and less of the ‘unfavourable’ juice.

How do you create a perfectly lit room?

First things first, you need to be clear on what you will be using the room for; relaxing, studying etc. Lighting will play the key role in creating the atmosphere – the intensity and varying intensities of your combined lighting scheme will need to be considered carefully.

Simply put, direct light creates stimulation and indirect light creates calm.

‘Light is the magical ingredient that makes or breaks a space; it’s one of the most important elements in all my interiors” Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz.

If you’d like to know more about how to dress your home and would like further advice on wallpaper, fabrics and soft furnishings, please come and see us inside Hatfields of Colchester, Peartree Road, Stanway. 01206 571000

Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!


Posted on: January 4, 2018 | Posted in: Blog

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