Confluence of Light and Colour

It is a modest statement that light can alter the aspect of any specific color.

Ever thought, why? Same can of paint, same house, applied in two different rooms but results are different. Answer lie in simple fact, LIGHTING. For illustration, a red paint in a room with a north-facing window will make the room appear brighter and warmer and help offset the bluish cast to the light. However, that same paint in a room with a west-facing window will become penetratingly vibrant – perchance tremendously so – in the late afternoon.
Metamerism; The lighting effects on the way we perceive color because it is created by the way objects react to certain wavelengths of light. Realizing that the Black dress that you purchased in the store is actually navy blue that what Metamerism is. The point is color certainly not stands alone. Any kind of light – daylight, artificial light, even candlelight – can dramatically change the way a certain color appears. Therefore, it is important for take presence and absence of light into consideration while specifying colors for a space.

Sunlight is the cleanest light and delivers the unadulterated color from the gamut perspective of the acuity of color; but even natural sunlight is not unwavering. As the day advances from sunrise to noon, late afternoon to dusk, the light deviates in intensity, generating vagaries in the appearance of color. For instance, room that faces east and is washed with resilient sunlight in the early morning will look very diverse when next seen late at night in mock lighting. Moreover, west-facing room can look dull and shadowy in the morning, but be suffused in a warm radiance in the evening.


Direction of Light Visible Temperature of Light Color of Light Duration of Light
North Cool Bluish All day
East Warm Yellow Before noon
West Warm Orange-Red After noon
South Warm Orange-yellow All day


Discern your end of colour gamut

Artificial lighting is frequently used to either supplement daylight or replace it entirely. In residential and commercial spaces, the type of synthetic lighting used plays a large role in how a color looks.

  • Halogen bulbs: These newer incandescent bulbs produce brighter, white light that is more like sunlight.
  • Fluorescent bulbs: These generate cool, blue light that amplifies blues and greens, but mutes warmer colors.
  • Soft white fluorescent bulbs: These mimic the warmth of incandescent bulbs, but all colors can appear faded in their light.
  • Full-spectrum fluorescents: Although expensive, these bulbs produce light that most closely resembles natural sunlight.
  • Incandescent bulbs: These generate yellow light that intensifies warm colors but tends to dull cooler colors.

The category of light fitting can also affect the pattern in a room, because the fitting characteristically controls how the light from any type of light source is disseminated.

  • Sconces: These fittings give off indirect lighting by directing the light toward ceilings or walls.
  • Shades: Lampshades will change the coloration and strength of the bulb inside them. If the lampshade is of a warm hue, it will cast this glow onto the other colors in the room. Strongly colored shades will mute any surrounding colors, while white or ivory shades will give off the brightest light.
  • Downlights: They direct light straight down from the ceiling. This provides a lot of light on work surfaces and floors, but can cause ceilings and the top edges of walls to appear dark in comparison.


Paint Qualities

Color perception often hinge on the characteristics of paint. Light reflectance value of a paint; the amount of light it reflects, play a vital role in choosing the right color for certain spaces, especially for those that don’t receive a lot of natural sunlight. Darker tinted paints have lower reflectance values than lighter ones. Therefore, to maintain a sense of flow and coordination, it is always recommendable to paint walls in a lighter tint of the colour.

Gloss level is other characteristic of paint that affects color and light. Higher the light reflectance deduce high gloss level and in result more light will bounce off a surface painted with a high gloss paint than one with a matte sheen. Therefore, we can safely deduce that higher gloss paints tend to enrich and brighten colors.