How lighting impacts your colour selection

When it comes to picking the perfect paint colour, many people believe it's as easy as picking a colour chip from the wall and being done with it. However, the reality is far more complex. Several factors can influence the way a paint colour appears, with one of the most important being lighting.

To make sure a colour suits your home environment, sampling is crucial. The most effective method is to use a sample pot. While painting directly onto the wall gives you a good idea of how a colour appears in a certain room, it’s better to test the colour in different areas around your home. Take a large piece of cardboard and apply three coats of paint (the first one acts as an undercoat). After it dries, there are two areas where you should test the colour.

First, place the cardboard against the wall, touching the floor. This allows you to observe how your floor influences the colour, considering that timber, for example, can add warmth to your colour at certain times of the day.

Next, place the colour sample flat against the wall, close to the ceiling. This provides a clear view of how the colour changes when artificial lighting is turned on. By conducting these tests in different areas of your home, you will get a fuller picture of how the colour behaves in your environment. Ultimately, this increases your chance of picking the right shade that works for each room.

Let’s explore various types of lighting!

To achieve the best results with your chosen colours, it's essential to assess them in daylight or natural light. This enables you to perceive the colours in their truest form, a practice commonly employed by professionals to ensure colour consistency and client satisfaction.

Natural light coming through windows plays a significant role in how colours appear within a room. The direction and position of the sun can create various effects. For instance, south-facing rooms receive softer light, lending a warm ambiance, while north-facing rooms have a more intense light that can enhance darker hues and fade lighter ones. Additionally, west-facing rooms tend to exhibit a pleasant, orange tint during the evening, whereas east-facing rooms may showcase a subtle green undertone.

Artificial light offers the most variation in the way colours appear. Different lighting types can create a range of effects on painted surfaces. Let’s explore each form and their unique characteristics.


Natural daylight

Regarded as the optimal light source for viewing paint colours, natural daylight offers a full spectrum of hues and allows for the most accurate perception of colour, saturation, and brightness.

Incandescent lighting

Under incandescent lighting, colours tend to appear warmer and more yellow. As a result, cooler colours like blue and green may lose some of their vibrancy.

Fluorescent lighting

Colours tend to appear cooler and bluer under fluorescent lighting. This is due to the heavy presence of blue and green light emitted by fluorescent bulbs.

LED lighting

LED lighting comes in a variety of colour temperatures, generally producing cooler light that enhances the brightness and vibrancy of colours. However, the specific colour temperature of the LED can influence how colours are perceived. Warmer LED lights can neutralise cooler colours, while cooler LED lights can negate warmer colours.


Choosing the right level of sheen for your paint finish is also a crucial consideration and can impact the vibrancy of your chosen colour. For instance, a gloss finish tends to intensify a hue, while a matte finish makes it appear lighter. It is essential to opt for a finish that complements both your chosen colour and the lighting conditions in the room.

Did you know that our colour walls are illuminated with daylight temperature lighting to assist you during the colour selection process? Here's a helpful tip: when selecting external colours, make sure to view them outside, as strong sunlight can ‘wash out’ paler colours. Additionally, we recommend testing your colours beforehand using a sample pot to ensure complete colour satisfaction . Get ready for a happy painting experience!