Light Can Play Tricks On You When You Finish Painting

Jan 4, 2016Choosing Colors, Do It For You, Do It Yourself, Featured, Interior Painting

It’s Not Your Fault

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, poor coverage, or a bad tinting job at the paint store. You might be able to blame it on the light.

The Greener Grass on the Other Side Can Invade Your Home With Color

After spray painting the interior of a house in Richland in 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 onto the upper portion of the wall opposite the picture window making it greener than the rest of the house.

Blame This Blue on The Columbia River

At another house in Richland 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 in Richland 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.

Your Light Bulbs Can Throw Things Off Too

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.

My Two-Colored Laundry Room

Even in the same room two different light bulbs can give one room two different colors. After I painted my laundry room one side had a blue tint while the other side was more beige. I then looked at the ceiling light fixture in the middle of the room and could see a definite difference in color between one side and the other which illuminated the room differently on one side compared to the other.

And Then There’s That Sun…

When painting exteriors we all know there’s a huge difference between how a color looks in the sun verses how it looks in the shadows. But what about overcast days? There is a huge difference between how a color looks in the shadows caused by the house or the trees and how it will look in the shadows caused by a solid cloud color.

If you haven’t painted yet you might want to see your choices in all three lighting conditions. And preferably a large painted-on sample, not just the little paint chip card from the store.

If you’ve already painted, before taking the time to do a paint job over again, and finding the problem still persists, check out the lighting – both natural and artificial – and see if that isn’t the culprit.

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