How artificial light can affect the colour you will paint your room

Light Level


If you have little or no natural light at all the amount of light a room receives will vary depending on the time of day, the size of the windows, the openness of the surroundings and the orientation of a room. It is my belief that a room that receives little or no natural light is NOT best decorated in the brightest white you can find.


Artificial light will come either from LED sources or from more traditional halogen and tungsten lamps. The colour of light is measured in Kelvin, with bright sunlight being 6000-6500 Kelvin and candlelight about 2000K. So a ‘warm white’ lamp may be around 3500K and a cool white one 4100K. Traditional incandescent lamps produce a yellow-toned light and fluorescent lamps produce a blue-toned light. LED lighting is typically a bluer tone but is available in a range of colours if you know what your are looking for:


The cooler (higher Kelvin) the light you use the more blue and bright the space will appear. This can be good for task lighting in offices, in basements and in health and dentistry environments. It can feel clinical in a home environment where a yellower or warmer light is more flattering to the skin tone and create a gentler, more relaxing environment.


If your primarily or wholly artificially lit room has a yellow-based scheme and is lit by traditional or low kelvin light sources, the effect will be harmonious and attractive. If the same scheme is lit by high Kelvin (cool) lighting it will have the effect of making the room look dirty and dingy.


If you are implementing a cooler, more architectural scheme, a bluer light from a high Kelvin light source will look edgy and contemporary.


Light sources that emulate daylight will give a true impression, at around 5000-5500 Kelvin.


Isn’t it a wonder that makeup counters, fruiterers and clothing boutiques get this so wrong, so often.


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