Best of the Best on painting: Light changes the hue • Cathy Best, lifestyle columnist
Heading north out of Madison, Wisconsin a dark ominous storm brewed up ahead. In the western sky, the sun dropped down just above the horizon casting a bright warm light across fields of freshly harvested corn and groves of deciduous trees, flaunting fall finery. It’s a spectacular moment when a full rainbow arcs over the highway and the rainbow’s end appears. Straining to see the pot of gold, I witnessed where colored bands of light and land met; a golden mist blanketed the eastern hillside. This natural phenomenon, light reflecting off water droplets to create color, inspires me to share the effects of light on the painted wall.
Light and color are one- inseparable by their very nature. A room’s natural sunlight glows a color depending on its sun exposure; the glow, reflected on the walls, changes the paint color from warmer to cooler or visa versa. A north facing room has a bluish cast all day while east, west and south facing rooms cast a warm hue. When choosing paint colors take the room’s exposure into account. If you’ve selected yellow for the baby’s room and the room has a southern exposure, tone down the yellow; warm natural light will make the yellow much brighter. If the same yellow is used in a north facing room the natural blue light will give the yellow a green tint.
The same can be said for artificial light; bulbs are either warm or cool and reflect that color on the walls. You see where we’re headed? What you choose in the paint store under florescent light is not what you see in the room.
Granted, some of us see color nuances and some don’t; I do. I get a little OC about paint. Not everyone needs, or wants, to see color swatches on the wall, in morning and evening light, before choosing. I, on the other hand, have to see the color in varied light. Color changes substantially; what you thought was a warm neutral becomes a cool grey. If what you selected is not what you end up with, chances are, natural or artificial light, and or, paint coverage are the culprits.
Good quality paint is worth the price for better coverage; it requires more paint, to cover an existing color, if inferior paint is used. This is true for white walls as well; they will appear milky. The economics come out about the same, better quality- less coats of paint, inferior quality- more coats of paint. Add labor costs, better quality paint wins the argument.
Best of the Best: Paint Tips
Ask the paint dealer if they have large decorator paint chips, and if you can borrow them, in the colors you’re interested in.
If painting the entire house or a very large space in one color buy a quart and paint a large square on several walls.
Live with the test color for a few days.
Always buy quality paint.
Benjamin Moore’s Satin Impervo Alkyd Paint brushes on like liquid gold. I wouldn’t use anything else on trim; it doesn’t leave a brush stroke.
Benjamin Moore’s White Dove is the best white trim color…ever; it never fails to blend with cool or warm wall colors.
Always use the paint brand from the chip you selected. Yes, dealers will attempt a computer match of any color chip from another brand; each brand has different pigments and bases, which affects the color.
Inferior primer will not cover; the previous color will bleed through.
Tint primer with paint color.
Cathy Best discovers new things daily.
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Printed in the November 8, 2012 edition