Where Lighting Meets Color
Without the light color does not exist. A major consideration in planning the color scheme for a home is the study of quantity and quality of light and the methods of lighting.
The level of illumination affects the appearance of a color. When the home lighting is bright color can be stimulating: low lighting can produce a relaxing feeling. Color may become dull, lifeless, and dreary with insufficient lighting, however, and too much light can wash out color.
In general, as illumination increases, the color becomes more vibrant. A room with low light levels is enhanced by light-reflecting colors. A room with high lighting levels may be more pleasant with a predominance of darker light-absorbing colors.
The quality and quantity of home lighting affect the apparent size, shape, and character of an object. One concern for the designers is how various qualities of natural and artificial lighting can change the visual perception of a surface, the phenomenon known as mesmerism. For example, two fabrics that match in color during daylight may not match under artificial home lighting at night. All types of lighting (natural lighting, artificial lighting) produce unique effects.
The quality of natural lighting depends on the direction from which it comes and time of day. The color of artificial lighting is determined by the type of light and fixture used. Therefore, it is important when selecting colors for backgrounds and furnishings to view each surface under all types of lighting conditions to ensure that the colors will be matched or be harmonious.
Review of the color wheel demonstrates that be able to gray or neutralize a color, more of its complement color must be added; to intensify a color more of the basic hue must be added. Lighting produces the same effect. Warm lighting accentuates warm colors and neutralizes cool colors. Cool lighting intensifies cool colors and deadens warm colors. For example, yellowish lighting brings out the yellow-green in yellow-orange. Cool lighting brings out the blue in blue-green and blue-violet.
Color also affected by the method of lighting. Light rays that fall directly from the source onto a surface can create a warm glow over an area. Indirect lighting reflecting from the crown molding onto the ceiling produces an overall light resembling the light f midday.