Have you ever picked out something for your home, flooring, furniture or paint, only to find that once you brought it home it looked different? That soft gray suddenly turned sorta…purplish. That warm beige is now weirdly yellow. Well, it’s not your imagination. Those things really are appearing differently than they did in the store. Why? The answer lies in the lighting and other colors surrounding you in your space.

Three major things in your environment will affect the appearance of color of an object: natural light, artificial light, and nearby color companions that are affecting your perception of your new purchase.

Natural Light

The light from the sun contains the full visible spectrum that our eyes can see. Remember Mr. ROY G. BIV? If the colors are there, each will show in the full spectrum provided by the sun. Natural daylight is typically quite bright, white and rather cool – think of a white t-shirt on a bright sunny afternoon versus sitting in the warm glow of a campfire. How a color looks in a room depends on the amount of daylight present. Some questions to consider: how many windows does the room have? What direction do they face? Will the western sun be strong and directional throughout the afternoon, casting clear shadows? Or are you in a room with northern exposure, and weaker, more diffuse light throughout the day?

Artificial Light

Many of us spend a significant part of our day at home when the sun isn’t out. We use artificial light to make our evenings last longer, be comfortable and more productive. Artificial lights are technological marvels, but, nothing really comes close to replicating the full spectrum of the sun. Artificial lights typically have a limited spectrum of light. For many years, the predominant lighting sources were incandescent lights, which are essentially heated filaments. That’s what accounts for the yellowish glow of light at the warmer end of the visible spectrum. But modern lighting presents different parts of the spectrum, generally providing cooler, brighter options. What’s the lighting in the room like? If you have CFL’s, or LED’s that have a more daylight or cool white color temperature, warmer tones will be lessened to varying degrees.

Color Companions

Color is quite sensitive. It will change its appearance based on surrounding hues. Cherry cabinets may highlight green tones in the granite countertop that you just didn’t notice before. A carpet that looks silver in our showroom could very well look blue against your honey oak trim. Often, theory is a good place to start, but there’s no substitute for just trying something and living with it for a bit.

At Graham’s Flooring and Design, our concept is to come to your space to design, consult and measure. We bring samples and help you narrow your choices to fit your preferences, lifestyle and budget. Keep a sample overnight and see what it looks like as the sun moves throughout the room, or when the lights are on at night. Consider the surrounding color companions so that you are sure to pick the best look for the space. Give us a call today and let us help you get started designing your space the way you really want.