Paint color and light go hand in hand, and are a complex couple. Your paint color will look different depending on the light that it’s exposed to. The tricky part is this: light is never consistent and how it shines depends entirely on time and context. Learn the different light variables, and how color responds, and you are well on your way to becoming a paint master of the universe.
Consider these factors each time you head to the hardware store to pick up your paint chips, and when testing sample paints at home:
ROOM DIRECTION: One of the first factors to consider is whether the room you are painting is exposed to sunlight from the north, south, east, and west.
- North: The light of north-facing rooms is less direct throughout the day, and consistently cooler. If you want to warm it up, compensate by painting the room warmer colors. Or, you might want to also just go with it, paint it a dark, cozy shade, and make it a library or den. Whites, on the other hand, tend to turn dingy and dull.
- South: Conversely, southern-facing rooms get more light throughout the day, and are the sunniest place in the home. Colors are intensified in these rooms so, if you don’t want the room feel too energetic, offset those warm rays by going with softer, cooler hues.
- East: East facing rooms get most light in the morning, and it’s more yellow. If you plan on using that room later in the day or evening, choose a warmer palette to offset the lack of natural light.
- West: As the sun sets, west-facing rooms benefit from its rays. While on the dull side in the morning, the same room will have a warm glow in the evening. If you work the night shift and sleep in a bedroom with west windows, think about toning down the light with cooler paint colors. Warmer tones might be overwhelming that time of day.