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What is a Mood Lamp?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Mood lamps are lighting devices that are used to establish a particular feeling or mood within a room. In some cases, this type of lamp may be a small device that is plugged into an outlet and creates points of light near the floor line of the room. Other examples of a mood lamp may be used to illuminate specific points along the walls or cast a soft light over a larger piece of furniture in the room.

Mood lighting differ somewhat from other lamps in that their purpose is not so much practical as aesthetic. Reading lamps for example tend to provide bright light to a given space in order to make it possible to read a book or magazine without creating strain on the eyes. Overhead lighting is used when there is a need to illuminate the majority of the space, such as in a classroom or laboratory. By contrast, a mood lamp is used to help create a specific ambiance within the room as a means of making the space more attractive and welcoming in some manner.

There are many different ways to make use of mood lighting in order to create specific moods within a space. Soft and subdued lighting is often employed to establish a romantic setting. A mood lamp that produces a series of colored lights around the room may be ideal for a party atmosphere. Rooms dimly lit with lamps placed at strategic points near the floor of the room may help develop the ideal environment for meditation or reflection.

One of the more common examples of a mood lamp is a simple shaded lamp featuring multiple light settings. The settings range from casting a dim light to a bright one. By adjusting the setting, it is possible to alter the feel of the space in seconds.

Small lighting accessories like the night light are also another example of a mood lamp. The tiny bulbs used in these types of lamps provide basic illumination and can be very effective when plugged into outlets that are positioned near the baseboards. The low cost of nightlights also make them one of the least expensive options when it comes to mood lighting.

Lava lamps are among some of the more popular mood lighting options today. While many people associated the lava lamp with the decade of the 1960’s, this type of mood lamp has continued to be used in a number of settings. Along with producing an interesting and entertaining display of shifting colors, the lamps also produce a general lighting effect that can alternately be stimulating or soothing, depending on the selection of colors and the speed with which the colors shift within the body of the lamp.

One of the newer options is the LED mood lamp. Like night lights, it tends to cast a subtle glow that creates the ideal space for meditating or a romantic encounter. These types of lamps often can be purchased in sets and controlled with one central control device, making it much easier to adjust the amount of ambient light quickly.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including HomeQuestionsAnswered, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By donasmrs — On Jan 17, 2015

@bluedolphin-- Have you tried a mood candle? I have one. It gives off different colors like a mood lamp when lit. The plus side is that it also has a great scent. So it's like aromatherapy and color therapy in one. It's very, very relaxing.

By literally45 — On Jan 16, 2015

When I was in high school, lava lamps had just come out and were a huge trend. Practically everyone I knew had one. I had one for a very long time too. It was a fairly durable lamp and I used it on and off for years in my bedroom.

Recently, my niece asked me for a mood lamp. I was going to get her a lava lamp, like the one I used to have. But I found a different children's mood lamp that makes use of water beads. These beads are tiny when dry, but when they're soaked in water they swell up. Kids apparently play with the beads separately and they've also made a lamp that makes use of the beads.

Anyway, my niece loved it and has been using it every day. The only downside is that the lamp runs on batteries. It would have been better if we could plug it in. But she's happy so it was definitely worth it.

By bluedolphin — On Jan 16, 2015

I had my doubts about mood lamps and whether they really have any effect on mood. But after using one for several weeks, I do believe that it is beneficial.

The gentle, colorful light of a mood lamp can be extremely relaxing. I plug mine in, in the evening. My mood in general is lower in the evening and night than morning. After sun sets, I tend to feel fatigued and sad. And I've noticed that I feel better on the days I use my mood lamp.

My lamp gives a very light, gentle light and changes shades slowly.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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