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Paint Color Truth

The fact is color never stands alone. Any kind of light – daylight, artificial light, even candlelight – can dramatically change the way a certain paint color appears. It’s a simple fact that any light can change the appearance of any given color.  That’s why when specifying colors for a space, it’s important to take light – both its presence and its absence – into consideration.

How Sunlight Affects Colors
different sunlight example

Paint under different lighting: Direct Sunlight, Indirect Sunlight and Artificial Light

As the amount and angle of the sun changes, so will your rooms’ paint color. Natural light should always be considered when choosing color for a space. Here’s a tip: 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. Every angle counts on what you would like to see coming from your 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.



The effects of different types of artificial lighting:
Artificial Light

Same wall color under different lighting

In residential and commercial spaces, artificial lighting is frequently used to either supplement daylight or replace it entirely. The type of artificial lighting used plays a large role in how a paint color looks.

  • Incandescent bulbs: These generate yellow light that intensifies warm colors but tends to dull cooler colors.
  • Halogen bulbs: These newer incandescent bulbs produce brighter, white light that is more like sunlight.
  • Fluorescent bulbs: These generate cool, blue light that amplifies blues and greens, but mutes warmer colors.
  • “Soft white” fluorescent bulbs: These mimic the warmth of incandescent bulbs, but all colors can appear faded in their light.
  • Full-spectrum fluorescent: Although expensive, these bulbs produce light that most closely resembles natural sunlight.



The type of light fixture:

“It can affect the coloration in a room, because the fixture typically determines how the light from any type of bulb is dispersed.”

  • Sconces:These fixtures give off indirect lighting by aiming the light toward ceilings or walls.
  • Shades:Lampshades will change the coloration and strength of the bulb inside them. If the lampshade is of a warm hue, it will cast this glow onto the other colors in the room. Strongly colored shades will mute any surrounding colors, while white or ivory shades will give off the brightest light.
  • Parabolic lights or downlights:They direct light straight down from the ceiling. This provides a lot of light on work surfaces and floors, but can cause ceilings and the top edges of walls to appear dark in comparison.


Light Fixtures

Picking a light fixture also makes a big impact



“Light trained onto the ceiling will be diffused throughout the room, giving a lofty aspect to any space. The higher the ceiling, the higher the wattage should be. Wattage plays a part in this because it is what gives the light its tone – the higher the wattage, the brighter the light, and vice versa. The wattage is dependent on the size of the room and how much light output is needed to carry out the room’s functions.”


Paint qualities

Characteristics of paint color also affect visual perception. Paint’s light-reflectance value – the amount of light it reflects – can play a key role in choosing the right color for certain spaces, especially those that don’t receive a lot of natural sunlight. Lighter tinted paints have higher light reflectance values than darker ones. So, for a recessed nook off a main room, painting the walls in a lighter tint of the color used in the main room would lighten up the area while still maintaining a sense of flow and coordination. Another paint characteristic that affects color and light is gloss level. The higher the gloss level, the higher the light reflectance – more light will bounce off a surface painted with a high gloss paint than one with a matte sheen. As a rule, higher gloss paints tend to enrich and brighten paint color.

When selecting a paint color and decorating a space it’s all about balancing the type of lighting, gloss level and the impact of other colors in the space. Some things are controllable and others are not, but it’s a matter of creating harmony with these three factors. Now with a new perspective let us bring your bathroom or kitchen remodel to life and submit a project request here or contact us at Resco Group!

Resco Group Inc.