Home Decorating Tips

How Does Light Affect Paint Color?

Home Decorating Tips

How Does Light Affect Paint Color?

Posted on June 9, 2015

Have you ever wondered why the color of your carpet, or your walls, or your newly painted furniture looks different during different times of the day? That is because, at different times of the day, there are also different lighting and lighting affects much of how a certain color would look like during the day and at night.

If you want the atmosphere of your space to be consistent, the first thing you have to do before coming up with a color scheme is to think about and finalize your lighting design. So how do different kinds of light affect color?

Natural Light

The light that comes in through your windows affects how the way colors look in your room. While natural light only comes from one source, the sun, the effect of natural light depends on where the light comes from and the sun’s position.

For north-facing spaces, the light that comes in is cool and bluish. The colors that best interact with this light are bold and strong colors. Painting north-facing rooms with light colors will only make the room look dim and muted.

South-facing rooms receive the most intense light. In this lighting, darker colors will be brightened while light colors will either be washed out or glow. If you’re unsure which way to go, the best thing to do is try painting a small part of your room with your choice and see how it looks when hit with natural light.

For west-facing rooms, the atmosphere will be warm and beautiful. On the other hand, morning light can make the colors in the space dull and shadowy. The best way to go is cool color options to balance out the saturation of warm natural light.

East-facing spaces can sprinkle a bit of green into your space. To brighten up your room, paint it with soft yellows and maximize how colors interact with natural light.

Artificial Light

Just like natural light, artificial light also affects how the colors of your walls look. The appearance of colors in your room depends on which kind of artificial light is used.

Incandescent bulbs give off warm, slightly yellow light. If your room makes use of incandescents, strong and warm colors (orange, yellow, red) will look more intense. On the other hand, cooler hues will be washed out.

Fluorescent light provides cooler light than incandescent. If you want to paint your room with cool hues than use fluorescent lighting as this enhances blues and greens.

Halogen lights are artificial lights that give off almost natural lighting. Unlike fluorescent and incandescent lights, halogens don’t alter the way a color appears as much as fluorescents and incandescents.

Our Products

Our line of high quality paints and products will give your home or project the vibrancy it needs.

Explore Colors

Ready to explore colorful possibiliies today? View our popular paint colo combination palettes for great color schemes and room design ideas for interior and exteriors.

Where to Buy

Get high-quality colors and finishes for your project from authorized Island paints dealers.