How Light Affects Colour

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Colour responds to light in an assortment of interesting and complex ways. Different light sources can create a plethora of unexpected results on our perception of colour, which can be a source of both wonder and frustration. Choosing colours can be a tricky process and so we have put together this short guide. We hope that it will help you to make the most out of different lighting conditions and teach you a few of our favourite tips and tricks for offsetting light to obtain the precise colour you are looking for.

Colour and Natural Light

Our perception of colour under natural light can be affected by everything from the quality of the light on any given day right through to the time of year. With such wide-reaching influences, pinning down each element that may alter your perception of colour can be difficult. Thankfully, however, overcoming adverse lighting conditions is achievable, provided that you know whether the space you are in faces north, south, east or west.

Colour and Natural Light in North Facing Rooms

Light in north-facing rooms tends to emphasise the cooler tones that exist within a colour. If you want to use lighter hues, avoiding anything with a grey or a green base will help you to prevent a cold, harsh look. If you want to brighten a north-facing space, selecting a colour with a yellow base will bounce light around a room with ease.

Alternatively, rather than attempting to counter the cool light, you can instead choose to embrace it and select a deeper colour to create a cosy ambience that feels welcoming and comfortable. Natural Moroccan tadelakt tones are an ideal choice to obtain this look, with everything from rich caramels to oxblood reds able to introduce a real sense of individuality and drama into a space.

Tadelakt

Colour and Natural Light in South Facing Rooms

On bright days, south-facing rooms are often bathed in warm natural light from dawn right through until dusk. This is partly why selecting colour palettes for south-facing spaces tends to be a relatively simple process.

Colour and Natural Light in South Facing Rooms

On bright days, south-facing rooms are often bathed in warm natural light from dawn right through until dusk. This is partly why selecting colour palettes for south-facing spaces tends to be a relatively simple process.

If maximising the sense of space and light is key, pale hues will do the trick beautifully. A soft blue can help to establish a calming atmosphere, whereas neutral colours with a red base can add an additional sense of warmth and cosiness.

Colour and Natural Light in East and West Facing Rooms

Light in east-facing rooms will be brighter in the morning and cooler in the afternoon, with the opposite being true for west-facing spaces. Selecting a colour palette for these changeable spaces should, therefore, be guided by when and how you want to utilise them.

If you plan to make the most out of a west-facing space in the late afternoon, warm colours will help you to create a comfortable and welcoming ambience that you will want to spend time within. Alternatively, a white shade with a grey undertone will maximise a sense of morning coolness, before then going on to neutralise the warm light of the afternoon. Ideal for spaces that you want to feel calming, introducing some greenery and natural textures will help you to further establish a relaxing atmosphere.

grey tadelakt bathroom

The cool evening light in east-facing rooms means that pale green and blue tones can introduce a sense of calm serenity without leaving the space feeling too cold. Alternatively, if you are looking for an ideal white shade for an east-facing room, selecting one with a yellow base will maximise warm morning light and tone down the cool light of the late afternoon. This can help you to create a space that feels energised right the way through the day, which can be an ideal aesthetic for rooms that see a lot of use or need to perform a variety of different roles at different times.

Colour and Artificial Light

Incandescent and halogen bulbs radiate a warm yellow light, whereas cool white bulbs emit a blue light. Selecting either of these types of bulb will, therefore, affect your perception of your chosen colour. If this is something you would prefer to avoid, selecting a neutral white bulb to light your space can help you to recreate natural daylight conditions and achieve a true representation of your ideal colour.

Remember, light is not the only thing that will affect your perception of colour. Everything from your chosen accessories to the textures you introduce will influence the overall feel of a colour and help you to further enhance the atmosphere you want to establish.

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Categories: Interior