How Light Affects White (& Other Colors, Too)

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Before you patchwork your wall with $3.99 paint samples—ah, how quickly it adds up to $20 and counting—review these tips on how light affects the qualities of white. And Calypso Blue, Tickled Pink, etc…

Guidelines for white, light and color, too:

  • First, think about where windows are positioned and when you use the room most. The quality of natural light changes from pinkish early light to pale midday to warm, golden sundown.

  • South-facing windows drench rooms with intense light that can drain color, especially in walls facing windows.

  • North-facing light cools colors with blue or blue/grey tones. Whites will seem darker and less vibrant.

  • East/west rooms have a dual personality. East-facing windows get more “southern” light until noon, then go dark later in the day.

  • Old-school incandescent lighting heightens warmth, undercoring brown, reddish or yellow undertones.

  • Compact fluorescents draw out greens and blues while flattening warm tones, though far less than standard fluorescent bulbs.
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