Light Can Play Tricks On You When You Finish Painting

If you or your painter paints a room and you discover it’s not at all the color you expected it may not be due to poor color picking or a bad tinting job at the paint store. You might be able to blame it on the light.

After painting the interior of a house tan there was one wall in the living room that still looked green – the color that we were painting over. They insisted that wall needed another coat and I insisted we painted that wall just like we painted the rest of the house. Then I noticed a line on the wall where it was green above the line and tan below it. After getting my eyes down at that level I discovered I couldn’t see the lawn outside the window below that line and above it I could. The grass was definitely reflecting a green light into the room making the wall opposite the picture window greener than the rest of the house.

At another house the owners wanted a neutral gray and had picked what they thought to be the most neutral gray available. After painting their whole great room with this color I had to agree that it sure had a blue tint to it. I checked the tint formula and it didn’t have any blue in it at all, just a few drops of black tint – about as neutral as you can get. Maybe the white base had blue in it? I then remembered how the grass outside had made a tan wall green at that previous home. This home was waterfront property on the Columbia River and it wasn’t too hard to see how the light coming into the house was also quite blue. I suggested they wait until dark and see how it looked under their house lights. The next day they reported it wasn’t blue at all.

Today I was toward the end of painting a complete interior and bought a five gallon bucket of off-white for the ceilings and a couple of closets that I thought had just a hint of gold in it, similar to the Sherwin-Williams Dover White. The owner hadn’t picked out a color for the ceiling other than “off white.” After painting a walk-in closet with this it turned out to be more than just a hint. It was blatantly gold. That gave me unwelcome thoughts of having to eat the cost of a five gallon bucket.  I hoped I could blame it on the lighting. We tried a couple curly-cue fluorescent light bulbs in the closet knowing that incandescent bulbs give off a yellow light but the first one wasn’t much better.  The second one however made the closet perfectly white. Apparently even some fluorescent bulbs give off a bit of a gold tint.

Before taking the time to do a paint job over again, and finding the problem still persists, check out the lighting and see if that isn’t the culprit.

Posted in Color Selection, Do-It-Yourself

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