The Effect of Lighting on Color

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

Why Colors Change in Different Lights and Making Sure Your Color Choices Work.

Lighting has a direct effect on color. This makes it hard to select colors unless you take a look at them under a number of lighting types. Fluorescents, for example, tend to add a blue or cool cast to most colors. Incandescent lights, at the other end of the spectrum, add warmth and a bit of yellow to colors. Every retail store makes its own lighting choices – working to make their products clear and visible for customers. Homes have different goals for lighting, and this can affect your color perceptions. If you have noticed that something you bring home looks different, often lighting is the reason.

Sunlight, or natural light, is about in the middle of our color spectrum, and we perceive that light as color-neutral. It’s interesting to realize that actually, natural light is a direct reflection of our sun. If our sun was a different type of star, we would have different tones in our natural light.

From a decorating perspective, you want to evaluate your color choices in a neutral light setting. For that reason, the best way to evaluate a color choice in a store or in your home is to take it to the nearest window. In your own home, daylight is the most common light, followed by incandescent light at night, unless you have been environmentally responsible and moved to compact fluorescents. Not happy with the way the compact fluorescents make your home look? It’s because replacing incandescent bulbs cools off a room, and your selections were made with warmer lighting in mind. The good news is that you can now get much warmer fluorescents.

So don’t stop at color when making decorating decisions. Take a look at your lighting – both in the store and in your home. You will be happier with your choices!

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