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Have you ever picked a wall color, then noticed after it’s been applied to your walls the color looked quite different? One reason the color may not look the same as it appeared in the store or someone else’s home is due to the light source. Lighting can change the way colors look in your home or office. Choosing the right color is often one of the biggest challenges when doing a painting project

Paint Colors and Lighting

lighting affects paint color

A phenomenon called metamerism is the way that affects how the same color looks in different lighting. The lighting we choose to use in our homes can have a huge effect on the way we perceive color.

There are four common types of artificial lighting in most houses that affect the appearance of paint colors. They include halogen, fluorescent, LED, and incandescent. When considering which of these types of artificial light sources to use in your home, it’s important to think about how it will enhance or diminish a room’s existing color scheme.

1. Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lights give off a bluish tint which makes warm paint colors such as red and orange look dull. Warm yellowish lighting intensifies warm colors, while lighting with a bluish tint works well with greens and blues. There are fluorescent lights with a pinkish tinge that softens cool paint colors.


2. Incandescent Lights

Incandescent lights cast a more yellowish light which dulls cool colors and enhances warm ones. The color of the light will either intensify the wall paint color if it’s from the same color family or dull it if it’s a complementary color.

3. Halogen

This lighting is comparable to sunlight. It produces a whiter light and makes all colors look more vivid. Halogen lights don’t change the appearance of colors as much as other types of lighting and would make the shift from daylight to artificial light less dramatic. Halogen works well with both warm and cool colors.

4. LED

Light-emitting diodes, or LEDS, can be used against all colors and are flexible across the color spectrum.

5. Natural Light

Natural light should always be considered when choosing a paint color. As the amount and angle of the sun changes, so will your room’s paint colors. Natural light affects colors differently depending on the direction the room is facing outward toward the light.

  • East-Facing Rooms: East light is warm and yellowy before noon, then turns bluer later in the day. These are great rooms for warm colors.
  • West-Facing Rooms: West light will make already warm colors look more saturated.
  • North-Facing Rooms: Northern light gives off a bluish tint. Light paint colors will look subdued, while bolder colors will look more vivid.
  • South-Facing Rooms: Southern light works well with warm and cool colors. Darker colors will look brighter.

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Will (owner) was a pleasure to work with and he is extremely knowledgeable in his craft, he is honest and takes the time to explain the process and what to expect.

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How to Properly Pick a Paint Color

Lighting affects our color perception, whether it’s natural or artificial. An item may have looked black in the store, but once you got in the sunlight, you realized it was actually navy blue. Lighting ensures no color is definite; however, there are steps you can take to make you choose the right color for your walls.

  • Determine the Color Spectrum – Before you choose your light source, determine if the paint color in the room falls into the warm or cool part of the color spectrum. If the walls are painted warm colors like red, orange, or yellows, a warm light source will do. Cooler colors such as blues and greens will appear best with a bright light source.
  • Warm Paint Colors – To enhance a warm paint color, the best lights to use are halogen or incandescent. These lights will not distort the color as much as other types.
  • Cool Paint Colors – To enhance the vibrancy of cooler paint colors, you’ll want to choose LEDs or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).
  • Light Positioning – The way lighting is positioned can also affect the amount of light in a room. Chandeliers and lighting fixtures offer a lot of light to a room. They distribute light well throughout a space. Table lamps and floor lamps are a great option if your room doesn’t get enough natural light. These lights should be brighter.  The impact of lighting on a paint color can be limited by restricting the light source to one spot in the room.

Let the Pros Help You Choose Paint Colors

Before you start painting, it’s important to test the colors. At Battle Born Painting, our paint experts can guide you in choosing the right color for your home or business. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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