Have you ever wondered why the paint color you chose in the store doesn’t look quite the same once you get it on the walls? You’re not alone – we hear that question quite a bit. While there is more than one factor at play, a big reason is the room’s lighting. Today our professional painters in Asheville are going to share some basic information about how light affects paint colors.
Types of Lighting
When considering how your space’s light can affect how you see your paint colors, it’s important to first understand the different types of lighting. There are two primary categories of light. Each of these represents several different types of light.
Artificial: Artificial light comes from any source other than the sun. This is the type of light we are referring to when talking about light bulbs. There are several different styles of light bulbs, each with a slightly different tone of light.
- Compact fluorescent light (CFL) – bluish-white light, warm light or neutral light
- Light-emitting diode (LED) – warm light or cool light
- Halogen – closest in tone to natural light
- Fluorescent – cool light
- Incandescent – warm light
Natural: Natural light is light that comes from the sun. It affects the appearance of paint color because of two factors: the position of the sun in the sky at different times of day and the direction the window is facing.
Location, Location, Location
Another factor that affects how a room’s color appears is the direction the light is coming from. This means different things depending on whether we are talking about artificial light or natural light. When we are talking about natural light, this means the direction the room’s windows are facing.
- North: Soft light which has a dimming effect on light paint and a darkening effect on dark paint
- East: Light in the mornings
- South: Vivid light which will make dark paint brighter and light paint appear dull
- West: Light in the evenings
The location of artificial light will also impact the way your eyes perceive color. Light fixtures with an open design, such as pendent lights with open frames or chandeliers, will spread light evenly throughout a room. Table lamps or other light sources with shades will add warmth and direct, focused light to a smaller area of the room. Each of these can impact a wall color differently depending on the type of bulb, as we mentioned earlier.
Paint finish impacts the appearance of color as well. The more sheen a finish has, the more it will reflect light. That’s why, if you are working with satin, semi-gloss or gloss, you will notice the color playing tricks with your eyes.
In contrast, there are low-sheen finishes. The flatter a finish is, the more a color will stay “true” to itself. That’s because the light has nothing to reflect off. If this is what you are hoping for, our Asheville painting company recommends sticking with an eggshell finish.
How To Get the Right Color
Now that you know all about how light changes the appearance of your paint colors, we can discuss the best way to ensure the color you picked in the store looks how you want it to look at home. There are a couple tricks experts recommend. Try one or two of the following ideas to get you started:
- Paint two coats of your desired color on a piece of scrap wood and place it in the room you are looking to paint
- Move the sample around to different parts of the room at different times of the day
- Look at the sample with different types of bulbs in your light fixtures
- Consider having a second sample with a different finish so you have something to compare your first choice to
If you are looking for help with your next project, we’d love the opportunity to be your painting crew. We are a locally owned and operated company offering high-quality professional painting for both residential homes and commercial properties. Don’t just take our word for it, check out what our past customers have to say about us!
“They have been here the last 8 of 12 months fulltime. They are reasonably priced. The quality of their work is absolutely fantastic. They are clean and responsive. They never make a mess that they don’t clean up!“ – Christine L.