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Updated: Aug 31, 2023

How many times you were falling in love with a color you had seen on the walls of beautiful new construction model homes to only be disappointed when you are trying the color in your home?

Why the same colors look differently in every space?

Without light, color doesn't exist. When choosing paint color for your walls it's important to consider several factors which play a big role on how colors will look in your rooms:

Pay attention to both natural and artificial light sources.

The amount of natural light entering the room depends on the number, size, and direction of the windows.

Rooms with few or small windows are enhanced by light reflecting colors.

white paint in the kitchen

BLIS Home Design Simply White OC-117 BM

Rooms with a large area of glass may be more suitable with darker or light-absorbing colors that reduce glare.

Mega Greige SW 7031 in the bedroom

BLIS Home Design Mega Greige SW 7031

To bring the balance to a room and assure good amount of natural light and

still avoid glare, plan your color scheme for each space in relation to the reflective characteristics of the backgrounds. Here is the percentage of light reflected by common colors. We call it Light Reflective Value LRV. The higher LRV, the lighter the color is.

LRV of:

White 89%

Ivory 87%

Light Gray 65%

Sky Blue 65%

Intense Yellow 62%

Light Green 56%

Forest Green 22%

Coco Brown 16%

Black 2%

The quality of the natural light depends on the direction from which light comes during the day.

Light from the North is cool and will naturally have grayish light with blue cast. The natural light in a room with northern exposure can be muted and toned-down, so consider the intensity of the color you choose. Colors with warm undertones perform better on the walls of NORTH FACING ROOM. The top choices to paint a north facing room are creams, yellow, beiges, khakis, light browns, warm whites, and greiges. Warmer greens, like olive, and warmer blues works well to add color to the room.

BLIS Home Design

Agreeable Gray SW 7029

BLIS Home Design

 Colonnade Gray SW 7641

Toll Brothers Design Studio

 Cloud White OC-113 BM

Cloud White OC-113 BM LRV 87,35

BLIS Home Design

Light from the East is warmer than Northern light but cooler than warm afternoon light from the South and West.

EAST FACING ROOM Very warm and inviting in the morning, very bright at noon hours, rooms will benefit from cooler colors. Blue, green and greiges serve rooms well with an east exposure. However, choose colors with good saturation (intensity of the color), as it has a tendency to be washed out at the noon hours, when room is bombarded with light. As the day progresses, you will notice lots of shadows on the walls in afternoon hours. All those factors have to be considered when picking colors for East Facing Room.

 Smoky Blue  SW 7604

BLIS Home Design

Largo Teal 742 BM

   Alpaca SW 7022

source: The Home Colouriste

LIGHT FROM THE WEST is very natural during early hours of the day, but don't be surprised when afternoon brings pink cast to your walls.

  Macadamia SW 7604

HGTV Home by SW

white Grand room

source: Paintzen

    Shoji White SW 7042

source: Julia Cuevas

Worldly Gray SW 7043

Worldly Gray SW 7043 LRV 57%

BLIS Home Design

And finally for those lucky once whose windows face south. SOUTH FACING ROOMS get consistent natural light throughout the day. Southern exposure is strong.

Sun light casts a warmer tone in a room with southern exposure. It's only natural to select colors with a lower brightness and the right balance of warm and cool undertones.

 Decorator's White CC-20 BM

BLIS Home Design

Popular Gray SW 6071

BLIS Home Design

Classic Gray CC-23 BM

Classic Gray CC-23 BM LRV 74.78%

BLIS Home Design

Mega Greige 7031 SW

BLIS Home Design

Test colors by carefully observing them at different times of the day. Follow the "rule of 3". Check the color on the wall in 3 different locations of the room. Check it 3 times a day. Check samples on the walls for three days before final decision made.

Try peel & stick paint samples to test your colors, you can order them here

Please let me know if you find this blog post helpful. If you have interesting colors experience to share, leave a comment. Let's help others to benefit from our experience, and not to repeat our mistakes.

woman smiling.

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