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How Lighting Affects Interior Paint

Planning your interior paint colors takes a lot of thought and care. In addition to deciding what colors you like and how they interact with other colors in the home, did you know that you also need to think about lighting? Every paint color has subtle changes based on what kind of light is present in the room, and this can have surprising outcomes. Let’s look at a few ways that paint and lighting affect each other.

Natural Light

Each room is unique in terms of how much natural light comes in from outside. If there are large windows, you will obviously get more light. Here in Connecticut, windows that face south will let in the most light, and those that face north will admit the least. The more light you have coming in, the more changes you will get in your paint colors throughout the day.

Morning and evening light comes from a lower angle, so it often shines directly onto the walls. Also, it is generally a richer, warmer light than we get at midday. When this happens, your painted interior walls will generally take on a richer, warmer hue. As the sun and the light shift, the walls reflect less light, and the colors seem less intense.

Walls that receive direct sunlight will often appear a brighter color than those that get light at an angle. Of course, walls that get no direct sun will look the darkest. This means that even when the whole room is painted one color, each wall will appear a different hue. Rather than clashing, this generally appears harmonious and visually intriguing.

To reduce the effect of shifting light, sheer curtains are very helpful. They can soften the glow of direct light, and keep the feel of the room more balanced throughout the day.

Artificial Light

Light bulbs are generally marketed as either warm white or cool white (also sometimes called soft white and daylight, respectively). As the name implies, warm white bulbs have a yellow tone to the light. This makes a room feel warmer, and any warm colors in the room (orange, red, yellow, some tans and browns) are intensified. In moderation this can be a welcome effect, but if it feels too warm or reddish, you can switch to cool white.

Cool white bulbs cast a bluer light. In rooms with warm colors, this lessens the intensity of those hues. In a room with cool colors (blue, green, purple, gray, black), these bulbs increase their coolness. At times, this effect can be too much, and the lighting feels harsh and institutional. If this happens, switch to warmer bulbs.

What about the Paint Sheen?

Paints with more sheen (satin, semi-gloss and gloss) reflect more light than their low sheen counterparts (eggshell and flat). The more sheen the paint has, the more it will be affected by the type of lighting, and the changes in lighting throughout the day. A flatter paint will keep a much more constant appearance from one time of day to the next, and in any type of artificial or natural light.

Southington Painting

When you are planning an interior painting project, your best resource is your house painting company. Based on the characteristics of your rooms, they can help you understand how the lighting will affect the color, and what interior paints will be the best for your home.

Southington Painting has been serving Connecticut since 1979, offering superb customer service and exceptional painting results! In addition to interior painting, we provide exterior painting, epoxy flooring, kitchen cabinet painting, and more!

Contact our office or use our online scheduling tool to arrange your free interior painting estimate today!

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