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Painting Secrets: How Lighting Influences Paint Color

columbia paint painting secrets lighting influences paint color

Discover how lighting influences paint color on your walls.

Choosing the perfect paint color for your home can be difficult, especially when you consider how lighting can dramatically alter the appearance of your chosen shade. At Columbia Paint, we understand that lighting plays a significant role in how paint colors look in your home. Here’s how different lighting conditions can affect paint colors and some tips to help you avoid common pitfalls.

Natural Light

North-Facing Rooms

North-facing rooms receive cool, indirect light, which can make colors appear more muted and blue-toned. To counteract this, consider using warm, light colors to add a sense of coziness and brightness. Warm whites, soft yellows, and light beiges work well in these spaces.

South-Facing Rooms

South-facing rooms benefit from bright, warm natural light throughout the day. This type of light enhances warm colors and can make them appear more vibrant. Cooler colors like blues and greens also look more balanced and less stark in south-facing rooms.

East-Facing Rooms

East-facing rooms receive bright, warm light in the morning and cooler, more muted light in the afternoon. To balance this shift, choose colors that look good in warm and cool lighting. Soft, neutral shades and pastel colors are excellent choices.

West-Facing Rooms

West-facing rooms have warm light in the afternoon and evening, intensifying warm colors and making them appear more saturated. Cooler colors help balance this effect, creating a harmonious look throughout the day.

Artificial Light

Incandescent Lighting

Incandescent bulbs emit a warm, yellowish light that can enhance warm tones in your paint. This type of lighting can make reds, oranges, and yellows appear more vibrant but can also make cool colors look duller. If you have incandescent lighting, test your paint samples under this light to ensure you like the effect.

Fluorescent Lighting

Fluorescent lights emit a cooler, bluish light, making cool colors like blues and greens appear crisper and more vibrant. However, it can also make warm colors look more muted or even washed out. Choose colors that maintain their appeal under this type of lighting.

LED Lighting

LED lights come in various color temperatures, ranging from warm to cool. Choose LEDs with a color temperature that complements your paint choice. Warm white LEDs (2700K-3000K) enhance warm tones, while cool white LEDs (4000K-5000K) are better for cooler colors.

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors with Lighting in Mind

Test Paint Samples

Always test paint samples on your walls before making your final decision. Paint small sections and observe how the color changes throughout the day under varied lighting conditions. This will give you a better idea of how the color will look in your space.

Consider the Room’s Function

Think about how you use the room and what ambiance you want to create. For example, in a bedroom, you might prefer soothing, cool colors that promote relaxation, while in a kitchen, you might want brighter, more energetic colors.

Layer Your Lighting

Incorporate natural and artificial lighting to create a balanced environment. Use a variety of overhead, task, and accent lights to enhance the color and mood of the room.

Be Mindful of Undertones

Every paint color has undertones that can be amplified by different lighting. For example, a gray paint might have blue, green, or purple undertones that become more pronounced under certain lights. Pay attention to these undertones when selecting your paint.


We’ve moved from the Dobbin Road location to our new, roomy location just down the road:

Columbia Paint and Decorating, a Benjamin Moore Dealer

6822 Oak Hall Lane, Suite C2, Columbia, MD 21045


Expect the same one-stop shopping for all your decorating needs. We are a full-service Benjamin Moore dealer offering the best quality decorating products at the best prices. We have an ample supply of paint and paint supplies, wallcoverings, custom window treatments, fabrics, and now NEW flooring selections from Kaleen Rugs and Luxury Vinyl Tile samples. 

And, of course, the same excellent customer service, knowledge, and customer satisfaction that you’ve come to expect.


Clarksville Paint & Decorating, a Benjamin Moore Dealer

12447 Clarksville Pike, Suite 1A, Clarksville, MD

At Columbia Paint you'll find all the necessary tools to complete your project. We even offer color consultation to ensure your satisfaction. Visit our website, call us or stop in today!
6505 Dobbin Rd