Decorating Ideas

April 6, 2011

Paint Color and Lighting: Tips and Information

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Written by: Donna Dazzo

Recently I attended a Color and Lighting seminar for the trade at the Benjamin Moore showroom here in New York City, one of only three of their showrooms across the nation. As a home stager and interior redesigner, I often recommend paint colors to homeowners looking to “stage to sell” or “design to dwell”, so I was anxious to learn as much as I could.

The two speakers were a Color Engineer and the Associate Manager of Color Design.

The purpose of their presentation was to focus on how artificial lighting, as opposed to natural light, affects paint color. Natural light definitely affects the way a color on the wall is viewed. The color will look differently at various times of the day, and the exposure of the room, i.e., north, south, west and east, will also affect our perception of the color. That is why it’s important to paint a small swatch of color on the wall, and then view it at various times of the day before making a color choice.

Here are some interesting tips I learned from their presentations:

  • When choosing a color, paint a small swatch against a gray surface.
  • Look at a color vertically against the wall, not horizontally in your hand.
  • Two colors that may appear to match in one light source may not match under another light source. This is known as metamerism.
  • Look for a Light Reflective Value (LRV) of 50% or more in paint to be used for residential interiors. LRV is the amount of light reflected from a painted surface (0% is the blackest black and 100% is the whitest white). The LRV for Benjamin Moore paint colors is listed in the index at the back of the Benjamin Moore “fan decks” (available through your paint store or design professional).
  • When choosing a light bulb, try to get a Color Ranking Index (CRI) of 80% to 85% in order to show true and saturated colors.
  • Incandescent light bulbs have a CRI of 100% but unfortunately will be phased out of production by 2014.
  • Halogen light bulbs have the next highest CRI but they too will probably go the way of incandescent bulbs.
  • Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs have a lower quality of CRI – 75%.
  • LEDs are the newest form of lighting but have a very low CRI. However, they are great for outdoor lighting.

Copyright 2011 Designed to Appeal, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author

Donna Dazzo
Donna Dazzo
President of Designed to Appeal, LLC, design work and staging skills have recently been featured in The New York Times, Hamptons Magazine, Dan’s Papers, LINewsday, Vox Hamptons Magazine and on TV’s NY1 News and “Getting Your Money’s Worth” and on WFUV-FM (90.7 in NYC). Donna is an HSR Certified Professional Home Stager and Redesigner and a Staging Diva graduate. She has studied Interior Space Planning at the Parsons School of Design in New York City and has her MBA from Fordham University.

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