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How light affects colour in your home

Posted on the 13/02/2019 by Karndean Designflooring

Why is it that colours can look so different depending on the light and time of day? It can be frustrating when you choose an item for your home that looks a perfect colour match in the store, but when you get home it doesn’t look right at all!

The amount of sunshine your room receives, and whether that natural light creates a warm or cool tone, is highly influenced by the direction your home faces. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right colours and make the most of this quality of light. 

Blond Oak AP01

North facing rooms often have a very clear light, but this can cause colours to appear harsh and cold. Choose warm shades based in red or yellow, selecting lighter shades on walls to bounce light around the room and add accents in richer, bolder shades.

Baltic Washed Oak RKP8101

Conversely, south facing rooms are often filled with sunshine for most of the day and so have a warm and rich quality. Balance this abundance of light with pale cool blue or grey shades for a contemporary fresh style.

Grey Limed Oak KP138

East and west facing rooms are bright for part of the day as the sun rises or sets but then become muted as the sun passes over to the other side of the house. If you mostly use an east or west facing room when the sun is streaming in, choose fresh grey or cool blue tones for a neutral look, or if you use the room at the other end of the day, balance the muted light with warmer tones to create an intimate space.

Waterbury LLP152

In small spaces which receive little natural light, such as hallways, it may seem logical to decorate in light shades but without the contrasting tones and shadows created by sunlight the result might be disappointing. To add character to rooms with low levels of lighting that depend on artificial light, team a neutral shade on walls and ceiling with flooring in warm tones.

The effects of sunshine and light quality on colour offer an opportunity to embrace the changing personality of your interior – cool and sleek at certain times of the day or year, and warm and welcoming at others.

The best way to ensure that a product will suit your room is to take home a sample and watch how the colour and tones change from morning to evening, and in artificial light. We understand how important this is, so we have made it easy to order a chip sample of your favourite designs.