The secret? It’s all about the lighting. Here’s how to get it right.
Well that was a total waste. That modern gray color you picked has made your home look blue.
Kind of makes you feel sick.
Not at all what you envisioned.
Here is what you have to understand. The color of an object won’t look the same 24 hours a day.
The way we “see” color primarily depends on two things:
1. The light that an object absorbs. Black absorbs all colors; white absorbs none; blue absorbs red.
2. How the light source works. Natural light (sunlight) changes throughout the day and is affected by a room’s location. Artificial light changes with the type of bulb you use.
Here’s how to figure out how lighting will affect your paint color choices before you put down cash for the paint:
How Sunlight Affects Colors
As the amount and angle of the sun changes, so will your room colors.
North-facing rooms: Light in these rooms is cool and bluish. Bolder colors show up better than muted colors; lighter colors will look subdued. Use strong colors and embrace what nature has given.
South-facing rooms: Lots of high-in-the-sky light brings out the best in cool and warm colors. Dark colors will look brighter; lighter colors will virtually glow.
East-facing rooms: East light is warm and yellowy before noon, then turns bluer later in the day. These are great rooms for reds, oranges and yellows.
West-facing rooms: Evening light in these rooms is beautiful and warm, while scant morning light can produce shadows and make colors look dull.
How Light Bulbs Affect Color
The type of bulb you use can alter the colors in a room, too.
Incandescent: The warm, yellow-amber light of these bulbs will make reds, oranges, and yellows more vivid, while muting blues and greens.
Fluorescents: This flat and cool light enriches blues and greens.
Halogens: These white lights resemble natural light and make all colors look more vivid. Using halogens would make the shift from daylight to artificial light less jarring.
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs): CFLs can produce either a warm white, neutral, or bluish-white light.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs): You can buy warmer or cooler LEDs, and even “smart” LED bulbs whose color you can control wirelessly.
Tips for Achieving the Color You Want
- Paint squares of primed drywall with samples of the colors you’re considering, and then move them around the room during the day. Apply at least two coats.
- Evaluate samples of carpet during different daylight conditions.
- Most contractors won’t hang lights before you paint, but you can get a color approximation by placing a bulb you’ll be using in a floor or desk lamp. If you’re hyper-sensitive to color or want a very specific look, ask your electrician to hang the lights, then cover them carefully during painting.
- Remember that natural and artificial light will work together during certain times of day, especially in summer when dusk lasts a long time. Turn on artificial lights even during daylight to see what your colors will look like.
- Paint sheen also affects color. Glossy finishes will reflect light and change the way the color looks, whereas flat finishes are less reflective and allow colors to look truer under bright light.
- Light-colored walls can reflect the colors of bold carpets: A bright blue rug, for instance, can cast a bluish tone on a white wall.
I hope these tips help you have confidence when painting your home!