Choose the right colour for your walls based on natural and artificial light.
The light in a hardware or paint store is usually courtesy of strong fluorescent lights and not a lighting effect you’ll probably ever reproduce in your own home. So, the paint colour you choose from the selection of chips will definitely look different on your walls. And it will look different on your walls than it will on the walls of your neighbours across the street, too. How colour looks in a room is strongly affected by the type of light in your home.
Here’s how different lighting will affect your paint colours:
Unless you live in a basement, the sun is our main source of light but the colour and warmth of the light depends on the direction your room is facing.
A north-facing room with pale green-blue paint, Houzz.com
A south-facing room with pale green-blue paint, Houzz.com
If your room faces north, the light tends to be cool or even grey. This allows you to choose warmer colours that might be too bright for rooms with southern or eastern exposures.
If your room faces south, the light will be warm and quite intense around noon or one o’clock. Pale, cool shades work well—unless you really want to make a statement—and darker colours that you may normally shy away from, won’t make your room look as dreary as you imagine.
A north-facing room painted grey, corenewyork.com
A south-facing room painted grey, oharainteriors.com
If your room faces east, the light will be bright yellow. Pale colours are brightened, while warm shades like pink will glow and cool colours will appear a bit more neutral.
If your room faces west, the light will be muted and a soft orange. Soft, warm hues like pale pinks and yellows look great as do richer reds and greens.
Even during the day, but especially at night, the type of lightbulb—and it’s warmth rating—will affect the colour of your walls.
The warmth rating of light bulbs is measured in Kelvin and should be displayed on the package. Lower numbers (from 2700) tend to be a bit more yellow, whereas higher numbers (up to 6500) will be more blue.
Halogen lights will warm up a space. Look for lights with a warmth rating between 2700 and 3000 Kelvin. This rating is the closest to the recently outlawed incandescent bulbs so many of us loved. This type of lighting will make warm colours look warmer and brighter and may make cool colour look more neutral.
Although you can buy fluorescent lights in different hues, generally speaking, a fluorescent light will be cool in temperature and have a Kelvin rating of around 4000. Cool temperature lighting will diffuse bright, warm shades.
Look for low energy cfl (compact fluorescent) bulbs marked as daylight for a more neutral white light. These will have a kelvin rating of around 3500. These types of bulbs should keep your paint colours looking as true as possible.
To choose the best colour for your space, always buy a sample of the paint colours your interested and paint small swatches on your walls. Look at the paint at different points throughout the day to see how the colour changes in morning, afternoon and evening. And if the option is there, try swapping out different light bulbs to get the effect you’re after.