Light color and mood

Light color and mood

Light color and mood both play an important role in the way we feel you have only to think of how much easier it is to get up on bright sunny days than it is when the skies are grey and overcast. So it is important to take into account both the direction that your room faces and the amount of light it receives when deciding what colors to use there.

Designer’s notes :

When making notes, the designer always considers the features that are inherent in the original design of the room, and their current status and condition. Whether these features are emphasized or visually disguised by the new color scheme will be a decision for the room’s occupants, influenced by some basic color rules.

Designer’s questions:

Before you make plans for redecorating, imagine that you are an independent interior designer looking at your home for the first time and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the aspect of the room (i.c. in which direction does it face)?
  • How much natural light comes into the room?
  • Is there an original feature in the room. If so, is it to be retained?
  • Will the room need joinery additions, such as built-in storage and shelving in an alcove, which will alter its basic shape?
  • Can paint schemes be applied to existing Features such as doors and windows?
  • Will these items have to be replaced (for example, to restore a period feel)?
  • Can the desired effect he achieved simply by cosmetic changes or is major work necessary?

Color for emphasis :

You may feel that an old, ugly tiled fireplace is at odds with your twenty-first century ideal and want to remove it. On the other hand, you may have an older property suffering from 1970 s modernization that needs the fireplace reinstated. Either possibility will involve a great deal of mess, in the form of soot, so obviously works of this nature have to be tackled First.

If you are in a position to undertake purely cosmetic changes,then you need to examine the features in the room more closely. Working with what you have is always a good principle in home redecoration. This allows you to emphasis the best features of a room using color. An old built-in cupboard, for instance, when it has been relieved of its multiple layers of paint, may reveal line, sympathetically crafted woodwork. Using subtle dyes to enhance the grain can make a real feature of the joiner’s art. A pale color on the surrounding walls will emphasis the beauty of the wood and will not compete with it.

Decorating is usually seen as an additive process, which involves bringing paint, paper or some type of cladding joinery to a room or replacing the existing scheme. However it can also be a subtraction process, for example, stripping paint off joinery. So, when you consider your intended wall scheme, you might think about removing wallpaper entirely in order to paint a wall a flat color, or even hacking off the plaster to reveal the traditional brickwork that lies underneath.

Bear in mind, however, that stripping a wall may involve you in a considerable amount of making good before it is suitable to be left exposed. The original mortar may be in poor condition and need re pointing. Don’t assume that every all will be suitable for such treatment; in some cases, the underlying brickwork will have been laid carelessly and will never be attractive to look at. Be prepared to carry out some exploratory stripping of the plaster work to ascertain what lies behind.

Other surfaces can also be stripped, such as floors. Here, the beauty of the grain of wooden boards can be brought out by careful sanding and varnishing. But again, repairs may be necessary. Always be prepared to amend your plans if it turns out that you can’t achieve exactly what you desire.


Choosing the correct color scheme tor your home is vital to your sense of comfort and well-being. Individual tastes in color are, of course, highly subjective, but there are also several important objective factors involved in the selection of color  schemes.

In this chapter we look at the color  wheel, which will help in choosing contrasting and  complementary color schemes, and also discuss the importance of natural light, the psychological effects of particular colors and the visual tricks that can be achieved through careful color  scheming.

Successful use of color has the potential to transform rooms in an exciting and gratifying way, and in many instances involves no great expense to you, so it is well worth taking your time considering all the choices available.

The color wheel :

The color wheel is a vital tool in the visualizing and selection of color schemes. It shows how all the color of the spectrum act in relation to each other, and helps you to decide on contrasting or complementary schemes. The more advanced wheel shows how tints and shades of complementary color can work together.

How color works :

When a white light source, typically the sun,consisting of different wavelengths passes through a prism, it splits to reveal the visible spectrum. It is often portrayed as a rainbow effect. The visible part of the spectrum runs from violet through to red. Ultra-violet and infra-red, either side of the visible spectrum, cannot be seen by the naked eye (e.g. we cannot see radio waves or X-rays). When the walls of a room receive this white light source, they absorb all the wavelengths except those of their own color,which they reflect. The human eye responds to these reflected wavelengths and identifies them as color. So, a wall absorbing all wavelengths except blue, which it reflects into the room, appears to the human eye as a blue wall.

The wheel :

The color wheel is a circle based on the color spectrum. The primary color ,red, yellow and blue, are opposite the secondary color , green, violet and orange. Selecting color that are opposite each other on the wheel, such as red and green, results in optimum color contrast because you are using complementary color.

Selecting colors next to each other on the wheel, say blue and green, results in a more harmonious scheme because they blend into each other in the spectrum. Blending adjacent colors together creates a third set. The wheel is divided up into twelve segments that can be used to plan all your color combinations.

Complementary colors:

Complementary colors provide optimum contrast if used together in a room. They can make uneasy companions, however, if used in their purest form. All colors can be lightened by adding white to make tints or darkened by adding black to make shades of those colors .

A more complex color wheel shows not only the colors at their most intense, but also the tints and shades in a gradation. This is useful because it shows how the color contrast is increased further if one of the colors is a tint or a shade.

A good example of this is provided by the use of red and green together in a room. Large expanses of these colours in their purest form cause problems for the eye, because they have a similar tonal value, meaning that they reflect similar amounts of light.

If you imagine these two colors side by side in black and white for a moment, then they would appear as almost identical shades of grey neither color would advance or recede. Consequently the eye and the brain become confused. All colors from opposite sides of the wheel have a similar effect if they are of the same tonal value.

However, using a tint or a shade of one of them can solve this problem. If you look at the second color wheel you will notice how dark green will effectively partner red or a tint of red. Conversely, dark red combines well with a tint of green.

Light color and mood
the color wheel

Color and mood :

The psychological effect of certain colors in certain situations should also play a part in your color scheme selection. Bright colors such as reds excite and invigorate. Cool blues and greens are much more relaxing. Make allowances for this in certain rooms, particularly in a child’s bedroom, where colors that stimulate the mind will not be conducive to sleep.

There is a place in the home for earth tones such as brown and beige, and for neutral greys, especially in a work area such as a home office. Here concentration is needed and bright colors will be distracting.

A basement or garage workshop containing potentially dangerous equipment is another area where attention should be on the task in hand and not on the decor.

Likes and dislikes of color effects are ultimately subjective. People who share the room space will have individual tastes and preferences, so canvas the thoughts of all the occupants before making a decision on a color scheme.

Light color and mood

Choosing color schemes

There are various examples of colors  and finishes to help you select the right combinations in your colors schemes, from color paint cards to sample pots of paint. There are also certain visual tricks that it is worth being aware of, as they can help you make the most of your available space and maximize its potential.

Color cards and sample pots:

One of your first steps in selecting colors for your home decorating will be to consult a brand manufacturer’s color chart or card but this may not be the best way to choose paint. The colored rectangles on the card, while being as accurate as possible, may not be exact. They are very small and are positioned on a white background, which gives a slightly false impression of brightness.

Remember, too, that the light reflected and absorbed by a tiny square or rectangle of color will differ immeasurably from that reflected or absorbed by an entire wall of that color. Yellows, for example, will seem much more powerful, because they reflect more light. Blues will appear darker because they absorb more light.

In response, paint-makers have introduced small sample pots of their colors. These provide an ideal way to experiment with your chosen scheme on the wall itself. Small pots of paint, swatches of curtain or furniture fabrics, carpet samples, wood off-cuts and wall covering samples can all be used together to give a first A impression of what the finished. room will look like.

Visual trick color schemes :

Combining wall colors of different reflective qualities will allow you to play visual tricks With the size and proportions of the rooms and their interconnecting areas. Paint one wall red, for example, in an otherwise white room and that wall will appear to advance towards you, shortening the room.

Conversely, painting one wall in a cool blue in an otherwise darker room will result in that wall receding visually and appearing to lengthen the room. If the ceiling is too high, paint it in a darker color. You can lower it further still by painting the top part of the wall (above the picture rail, if there is one) the same color as the ceiling. The opposite effect is achieved by painting a ceiling white to heighten it.

Walls can be made to appear higher if you paint the skirting boards the same color as the walls. When all the walls and the ceiling are the same light color, as in monochromatic schemes, the natural angles of the room are much less noticeable. This gives a feeling of increased space, almost as if the room were open plan.

If your rooms are linked by narrow corridors, as in many older properties, light colors will appear to increase the width. A darker color at the end of a corridor will make it seem shorter. The most dramatic change in small or narrow linking areas occurs when the floor covering is dark and the ceiling is painted in an advancing color, which compresses the space vertically.

To in all interlinking areas has a unifying effect expand the horizontals, paint the walls white 01: throughout the property and will make your use a receding color. Using the same technique color schemes appear more effective.

Monochromatic schemes :

If you are considering a monochromatic scheme, that is, one color only, then the color you choose must form a strong relationship with the fabrics and soft furnishings, the woodwork and the flooring. Neutral greys, soft beige’s, off whites and creams are frequently chosen because they offset and therefore enhance patterned fabrics, and look good with natural wood finishes.

The term ‘monochromatic’ is a misnomer, because patterns on floor coverings and soft furnishings, wood varnishes and general household pieces have their own color content.

An easy introduction to such a scheme is to visualize the room and its contents in black and white for a moment. A rough sketch of the room with everything white will allow you to position colored fabric and carpet swatches, and color in areas clad in wood, such as the fireplace. Adding a touch of harmonious color to the previously white scheme is then straightforward. Schema using contrasting colors, shades and tints are just as easy to approach in this way.

A white room with one black wall, or a white walled room with black skirtings, cornices and picture rails, shows the most extreme contrast achievable. Then, simply substitute your colors. Black may become dark green or mid-blue, and white can be softened into cream or pale yellow. The contrast is retained, but your choice of colors will define how dramatic that contrast is.

Schemes using a combination of colors side by side on the wheel would be represented in a black and white sketch by mid-grey. Color contrast is not an issue because these are harmonious colors. There is no dividing line between the grey areas, so any two adjacent colors such as red and orange or blue and green can be substituted.

Swatch watch :

When working on a room, designers will make up a swatch or sample board, consisting of colours, materials, fabrics, wallpapers and wood off-cuts stuck down onto a card to assist the decision-making process. All colours envisaged in the scheme are side by side on the board, and can be held in front of any of the walls for a suitability match. It is easy to put one together by collecting samples from shops. Use the material or paint you are considering, however. Never substitute a cut-out from a magazine because this involves a different printing process and will not be accurate.

When your board is complete, use it to compare differing available light levels, and note down the changes in colour in bright sunshine, dull, overcast or shadowy conditions and under artilicial light. The artificial light should ideally be the lighting system that is going to be used in the room. If it is going to be different, then find the closest match you can.

The great divide :

A house is divided into many areas, and you m v or may not have a preference for a colors linking system, that is to say linking all rooms on one floor by using the same door frame and skirting board color. You may wish to keep these natural divisions and, indeed, emphasis them by using different color schemes. However, one-room dwellings, spaces for both living and working or popular city loft-style apartments are not compartmentalized. Therefore the same contrasting scheme or linking system is advisable throughout.

Variations will work, such as substituting a cream finish for white on one wall with the same frame or trim color, but they must not compromise the integrity of the overall scheme. Attempting too many color divisions in an area designated as one space works against the original design concept and is doomed to failure. At best it looks fragmented, at worst it offends the eye.

Natural light:

The amount of light reflected by a color, and thus the intensity of that color, depends on the light level that the color receives from the sun. As available light recedes at the end of the day, colors will appear less and less bright, until finally they have no color at all. With this in mind, consider carefully the amount of natural light that enters the room during the day, and what effect it will have.

All the walls in the room will work in unison, reflecting the available light received. Lighter colored walls ll will reflect more light than dark ones, and will project it further. For example, a bright blue reflected into an otherwise white room will i engender a cold blue tint, whereas a bright red will project a warm rose-like tint. When selecting colors, bear in mind that walls reflecting the same color back and forth will intensify that color considerably otherwise you may end up with a much more powerful scheme than you envisaged.

The availability of natural light depends on the season. An important point to consider when choosing a color scheme is the light level the room receives throughout the year. The more northerly the property location, the more extreme the difference between summer and winter, so a color scheme reflecting warm summer days also needs to work during long winters under artificial light.

Light color and mood
Natural Light


Consider the aspect of all the rooms in your intended scheme. Light enters through windows or glass doors, so which direction do they face?

Northern aspect:

A room facing north is usually cold, benefiting from direct sunlight only during the height of summer. A warm color scheme will be essential in this room. Red, yellow and orange will brighten the winter days and reflect what little light there is. Cold blues and greens should be avoided.

Southern aspect:

A room facing south is warm and sunny, with [m of natural light. You will not need to add to the light levels, so use darker colors, particularly green. When these are combined with lighter tints of brown, blue and green a summery feel can be created even during the winter months.

Eastern aspect:

The powerful early light of sunrise becomes less potent as midday approaches, with no sunlight shining into the room in the afternoon and evening. A mix of color works well here. Both cool blues and warm oranges together will offset the midday change in lighting conditions.

Western aspect:

This room will receive afternoon and evening sun, a sunset if conditions are favorable and dull light in the morning. Bright colors such as reds and yellows will overemphasis the warmth of the afternoon; a more neutral scheme involving greens and greys will work better.

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