How to Choose a Paint Color: The Art of Blending Color and Light
December 19, 2013
•IADT General, Interior Design
• 0 Comments
Knowing how to choose a paint color that works with the lighting in a room takes some preparation and planning, but the results are worth the effort. Colors can stir emotions and help to create an inviting atmosphere and pull a room together.
In the wrong light, a color that looked perfect in the store can look completely terrible. Even the time of day can affect how the paint on your walls looks. Use these tips to help you find the perfect colors for your home or project.
Assess the Natural Light
Before deciding on a color scheme for a room, assess the natural light. Take note of the direction the windows are facing. South-facing windows in North American homes typically gets lots of sunlight, whereas north-facing windows mean darker rooms. Weather conditions and anything on the exterior of the home that may block natural light should also be noted because these will have a bearing on how bright a room can be.
Determine When the Room Is Used Most
The time of day that a room is most often used also plays a role in deciding what colors would look best on the walls. A kitchen may be used in the morning when it is flooded with warm, clear light from the sun, but a family room is more likely to be used in the evening when overhead lights and table lamps are more typically used. Choose your colors based on how they will look in the most common type of lighting in the room.
Upgrade the Light Bulbs
In rooms where illumination comes mostly from artificial light sources, the type of bulbs that are used and the location of the light source will have a bearing on how color looks on the walls. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are very popular because they reduce energy usage, but they can also cast a green or red hue, changing how the color on the walls appears. Some CFLs come in colors to imitate the yellow glow of incandescent lighting, so it is best to upgrade your bulbs before looking at paint samples.
Test the Colors Before Painting
Once you have assessed your windows, the purpose of the room and determined your lighting, you can begin choosing paint colors. Rooms that get a lot of sunlight through the day can be balanced off with cooler colors on the walls. Conversely, a darker room can be brightened with warm colors.
Keep in mind that large pieces of furniture, artwork, mirrors, rugs and drapery can impact how colors look on the walls, too. Don't just choose a color in the store and purchase gallons of paint; get a small sample and bring it home to test how it looks at different times of day, in different areas of the room and in natural and artificial light. If a small paint sample isn't enough, you can paint a piece of poster-sized board or even a strip on the wall to be sure the color will appear the way you had envisioned it.
Learning how to choose a paint color that suits the lighting in a room and creates a welcoming ambiance takes time, but the end results are worth the effort.
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