How Lighting & Finishes Affect Colour

By 12 April 2019 No Comments
How Lighting and Finishes Affect Colour

How Lighting and Finishes Affect Colour

It’s important to test your paint colour in a number of locations around the room that you are thinking of painting. The colour and finish of paint can vary depending on the orientation and light source, so you want to see how the colour is affected around the room.

Cardinal Direction

Considering the best shade for your room can sometimes depend on its orientation, whether it is facing North, South, East or West. For example, whites require natural light to bounce off yet with little natural light, white can often look drab.

  • South facing rooms are often flooded with warm light which is kinder to a wide scope of colours – maximise the brightness with rich tones like Plaster Pink or balance with cooler hues.
  • North facing rooms with little natural light can make colours look cooler and flatter – embrace the darkness with strong colours like Mullet for intimacy or add warmth with Deep Mauve.
  • East facing rooms have a slightly bluer light tone – use cooler greens to add freshness and a hint of colour.
  • West facing rooms are cooler in the early hours and warmer later on throughout the day – consider the time of day you’ll use this room.

Light Source

Different light bulbs can affect the appearance of paint colours. We’ve outlined below the different tones of various bulbs and the colours they pair with best.

  • Tungsten or Incandescent bulbs have a warm yellow appearance and are only slightly cooler than candlelight and firelight. They intensify warm colours and can muddy cooler or neutral shades.
  • Halogen bulbs provide a bright white light. They optimise the appearance of all colours, even subtle hints.
  • Fluorescent bulbs produce a watery cool light that has a more modern feel. They are best used with cool colours like greys and blues, as warm colours can appear dulled and subtle tones can become indistinguishable.
  • LEDs come in a wide spectrum of whites, which is closer to daylight. Warmer white LEDs are sympathetic to all colours and bring life into any interior space.

How Finishes & Sheen affects Colour

The main impact of how the paint colour will look can be dependent on the product’s sheen level. Full Gloss can look significantly darker than a Chalky Interior Matt in the same colour, as gloss bounces the light from one surface to be absorbed by another. The change in tone will vary depending on the individual colour chosen, with deeper shades being most affected.

To help advise our customers, we clearly state all of the sheen values for each of our indoor and outdoor paints. Chalky Interior Matt has a minimal 2% sheen, Interior Eggshell has a 10% sheen and Full Gloss has an 80% sheen. However, it all depends on where you are using the paint, so we recommend ordering one of our 125ml sample pots. They come in Chalky Interior Matt, and the best way to get a feel for the colour is by painting a variety of sheets to place around your room to watch the light change throughout the day. Order a sample pot today to get started.

Green plants on a shelf in front of dark coloured wall

North Facing Room Painted in Chalky Interior Matt Mullet.

White Lilac and Deep Mauve have been used in this bedroom

Bed Frame Painted in Deep Mauve

Painted Glass Bottles

Painted Glass Bottles in Soft Lighting

White Pepper wall with herb plant, strawberries and watermelon on kitchen table top

White Pepper in Natural Sunlight and Shadows