Plugging In: A New Lease on Life - How Light Affects Paint

Plugging In: A New Lease on Life - How Light Affects Paint

Feb 13, 2008

When we were painting our apartment, the green of the kitchen/dining area looked like Shrek coming out of the can, and Kermit the Frog on the roller. When it dried, of course, it was a much richer color that we really like. What amazed us was the obvious difference lighting made on the color. The pictures above were taken seconds apart, same camera settings--and these rooms are open to each other, not just through a doorway, but there is no wall between them.

More about where you can learn more and how you can apply it after the jump....

Does anyone know of a good reference tool/chart available on-line for referring to what type of light a certain type of bulb produces, beyond the basic warm and cool? Let us know about it in the comments.

The kitchen has the florescent light in it, installed in an inexpensive, ceiling-mounted fixture. The dining area, however, has incandescent bulbs, and the addition of frosted glass on the fixture. These pictures are perfect for showing the difference between the white light and the "yellow" light of the different types.

I would consider the florescent light to be a truer representation of the color we were going for, Benjamin Moore's Forest Moss (2146-20). On the right is the color according to the computer screen, a different light source.

As for sources for learning more, a place to start is this page by Sylvania. It might create more questions than answers, but it will answer some, and give you a frame of reference for your exploration.

For discussion about how light affects a specific color, check out the discussion on this post by AT's resident color therapist Mark Chamberlain, around the beautiful color "Sweet Pear." [For a guide to the way natural light "looks," check out this post from the Decorating Diva.]

As for us, we love the kitchen color far more than the dining area color, so we'll start with the easiest action we can take and install compact florescent lights in the dining room fixture to balance out the light and bring us closer to the color we're going for. The bonus is that it's the greener option!

What we're wondering: do people complain about the difference between incandescent and florescent when they switch to CFLs because they're just used to the light? Or does it have more to do with preferring warm over cool coloring?

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