Does Lighting Affect Paint?

Do you know anyone whose eyes seem to change color based on what they are wearing? If so, what happens is that the light reflecting off of colors around them affects the way their eyes reflect light also, and we perceive it as a change in eye color. Did you know that the same thing happens with interior house paint?

Evaluating Natural and Artificial Light

One of the biggest things that will affect the appearance of your paint is the amount of light in the room. If you have large windows or even smaller windows that get significant sun exposure, then you will naturally get varying amounts and angles of light during the day. Generally, the more light there is the lighter your paint colors will appear. Also, the colors may appear less rich or intense if the surface is reflecting a lot of light.


This effect is even more pronounced when you use a reflective paint sheen. For example, flat or eggshell paint will remain more consistent in its color throughout the day because it is less glossy, while satin or semi-gloss paint will have more variety

The Effect of Other Colors in the Room

There are two ways that other nearby colors can affect the way we perceive the paint. One is simply by contrast. For example, a blue wall will look more strikingly and richly blue if it has a very different color bordering it. This could be a white ceiling, a yellow accent wall, or an orange piece of furniture.


Be Aware of Unknown Factors

While you can predict some aspects of color perception, there will always be some unknowns. One can never perfectly predict the effect that lighting will have in combination with the size of the space, the orientation of the room, and other colors that are present. However, you can prepare for this by trying out a sample of the color on your wall prior to committing and painting the whole room.

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Author Brandi Whitton

Brandi's strong dedication, teamwork, and loyalty ensure the entire office side of our operation runs smoothly. She provides world class customer service, as well as ongoing project support to make sure our customers stay in the know regarding their painting, staining, and remodeling projects.