How Light Affects the Perception of Paint Colors

color perceptionPeople often comment about how a paint color chosen at a hardware store appears different when it’s applied to the walls at home. The paint itself hasn’t changed. However, the color appears different due to the different lighting conditions in the hardware store and your home. We’ll explain how light alters the perception of paint color and how to use this understanding to your advantage.

Light Changes Paint Color Appearance

Different lighting affects color perception in different ways. Sunlight has a different effect than artificial light sources. The angle of the lighting comes into play as well.

Natural Sunlight

With respect to natural sunlight, our interior painters often recommend warm colors like orange-red for rooms with a north-facing window. The sunrays from this angle offset the rays’ bluish cast and make the color appear brighter and warmer. This is especially so in the morning when the sun is still below the horizon and gives off a yellowish cast.

Even natural sunlight, though, is not consistent. The sun’s glow changes as the day progresses, thus also changing the room’s color. For exterior painting, sunlight conditions come into play even more.

Artificial Light

Artificial light comes in different styles and wattage, all of which affect color perception. Traditional incandescent bulbs, for instance, emit a yellowish light that intensifies the appearance of warm colors but makes cool colors appear dull. Fluorescent bulbs’ bluish light dulls warm colors, but amplifies blue and green paint. Soft-white fluorescents, on the other hand, make all colors appear faded. Halogen light resembles sunlight, making it beneficial for amplifying warm colors.

We Take Lighting Conditions into Consideration

Remodeling? Call JA Seekins Painting to bring in a professional painting crew. We can make color recommendations and provide tips based on the location of the windows and in-house lighting. We understand how light affects paint color perception and can exploit this to the homeowner’s benefit.

Edited by Justin Vorhees

Professional Painters for Your Home Interior and Exterior

Expert painters in Bothell, Bellevue, Mill Creek