When Color is Critical, Switch on the Lights!
"But that's not the color I picked!" This lament is voiced all too often by homeowners about the paint colors which were selected from a color card chip in the paint store. After the paint dries on the wall, they are sometimes faced with disappointment.
Williams Professional Service recommends a simple remedy to this common problem: switch on the lights and look at the color under the actual lighting in which it will appear.
We strongly advise checking and selecting color under the right light to avoid disappointment. If color choice is critical, color selection should be made under the actual lighting conditions of the space to be painted.
Not all artificial light is the same, and various types of lighting have differing effects on paint color. Incandescent lighting, most often found in residential settings, provides a totally different lighting environment to flourenscent lighting, normally found in commercial space. Special effect lighting, such as spot or track lighting very often distorts color. Even daylight can change the paint color, depending on the time of day.
Here are some tips on selecting the right color under various lighting conditions:
White and off-whites are the safest colors to use; they distort less under various types of light. Pale shades also do not undergo much change under different types of light and tend to remain true. However, both whites and pales have a tendency to reflect other colors. For example, a woman who had her entire living room painted in Linen White, insisted the walls were pink. The pink tone, in fact, was a reflection of the crimson wall-to-wall carpeting throughout the room.
Color should not be checked in an empty room. Since objects absorb and reflect color in different ways, color on the walls and ceiling very often becomes subdued and undergoes change by a room's furnishings.
If you do view a just-painted empty room, try to determine exactly how much of the wall surface will be visible after furnishings are reassembled in the space.
When using dramatic, daring colors, experiment first. Paint a sheet of poster board large enough to provide a true color reading and view it on the surface, under the lighting conditions for that space.
Color behaves entirely differently on a ceiling surface than on a wall surface. In most homes, the surface is being lit from below by floor lamps. Incandescent light reflected up to a ceiling makes the color on the ceiling appear much richer since the surface is reflecting light. If no light is hitting the ceiling, the colors will appear much darker and deeper. For example, a red ceiling when lit with incandescent lighting will turn to orange.
The gray-green family of color, including taupe, khaki, putty, sage and the historical colors are chameleon-like and will dramatically change under different lighting conditions, including daylight.
The look of a room can be intentionally altered with lights. Consider using atmospheric or mood lighting. A romantic look in the bedroom or dining room can be achieved by using pink bulbs. However, special lighting is usually not welcome in the bathroom/powder room when a true light is required for make-up and shaving. Also, avoid blue and green lighting in all rooms since they distort all colors.
While gloss levels can add richness and depth to color, the lighting under which they appear must be taken into consideration. Gloss levels of paint will impact on how color appears in certain light. The higher the gloss level, the higher the light reflectance, which means -- in simple terms -- more light will bounce off a wall painted with a high gloss finish than a flat finish.
Wash lighting will accentuate certain colors, making them richer. Placing recessed lighting fixtures in positions which wash over a wall will create light and shadow which add drama and depth to the surface while a spotlight, focussing on a fixed point on the surface, will create a hot spot and distort color.
For further information and assistance on selecting the right paint color under various lighting conditions, contact us and if we are unable to assist you we will direct you to a quality paint dealer who will be able to furnish you with more information.