How Light Affects Your Painted Walls

How Light Affects Your Painted Walls

Why does that bright yellow you chose look washed out on your bedroom wall? And haven’t you noticed how that strong turquoise in the hall looks a bit grim in the dark?

Paint shades, just like fabric and even furniture can look very different depending on how much light is reflected on them. It makes choosing a colour even tricker – unless, you find the right colour and lighting combination. As luck would have it, we can help.

Geographical location of your home 

The reason sun worshippers look for a south facing garden is because that’s the direction the sunlight is most intense. It’s just the same for a south facing room. They get lots of strong, bright light which makes dark paint shades appear brighter and delicate shades paler. 

Conversely, north facing rooms let in soft light. A deep purple feature wall will appear almost black and a bright tangerine shade, duller. Strong colours – such as green and teal blue - are good in this type of room

A North-facing room with a strong teal blue wall:

Strong Blue/ Teal Wall

Image from Pinterest 

How about east and west facing rooms? Bear in mind that easterly placed rooms are bright in the morning but shadow-filled in the evening while west-facing rooms are sunnier in the evening but dull in the morning.

While you can’t change the location of your home, there are slightly more practical ways to alter the light in a room (rather than incessantly opening and closing the curtains or blinds). Read on…

Type of light

LED Bulbs

Image from 

You’re probably aware of different types of LED bulbs but what about the effect they have on colour? 

  • Blue white bulbs give out a cool light which has a stimulating effect and is great in a home office. 
  • Yellow white bulbs produce a softer, warm light that is perfect for bedrooms or creating cosy corners. 
  • Cool white lights enhance cooler shades such as blue, green and grey. 
  • Warm white bulbs lift orange, red and yellow shades. 
  • Artificial light adds to the vibrancy of the orange wall
  • Vintage Edison bulbs have a more intense yellow hue and are great for brightening up north-facing light and adding drama and vibrancy to warm paint shades. 
  • Halogen white bulbs produce more of a natural light so enhance and brighten most colours. 

Positioning of artificial light

Another trick to brighten up light-deprived rooms is to use up-lighters or table lamps. This gives a cosy feel without affecting the overall colour of your walls. Or think about smaller isolated lights. These brighten up sunnier and warmer colours or contrast nicely with dark purples, navy and blacks.

Table Lamp

Image from Pinterest

So, that’s light. Quite a lot to think about but just remember: 

  • Check the colours on your wall throughout the day and in the evening. 
  • Make sure swatches and testers are 2 coats and truly representative of the final finish. 
  • Move your colour swatches around the room so you can see how the colour looks in different light.
  • If one wall looks darker than the others you could think about getting a slightly lighter shade for that wall.
  • Bear in mind that the type of paint can affect colour. While matt absorbs light, gloss paint reflects it. Soft sheens can help for darker spaces.

Check out the full range of COAT colours and find the perfect one for your space.


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