You’ve think you’ve found the perfect grey paint for your walls to give a room a gorgeous contemporary color. But what you see in the store may not be what you see in your home. These before and after tips for choosing paint will help you create a contemporary masterpiece for every room in your home.
Tip 1: Take the Paint Sample Home
It’s tempting to buy the color as soon as you see it, but the light in a local paint or home improvement store is not the same light as your home. Take the paint squares home, or if you’re able, get a small sample of the paint color mixed to see how it looks on the wall. Commercial lighting is often a different color temperature than the lighting in a home and may not present an accurate idea of your paint’s final finish. If time is of the essence and you need the paint right away, take the color sample outside. Natural sunlight is the standard to which all artificial lighting is compared and will give you a good idea of what the paint will look like with natural light in through the windows.
Tip 2: Test Your Paint
The best way to see how a paint color will look in a room is to paint a small patch where sunlight comes through a window, a small patch in shadow, and a square of poster board to hold up to curtains, fabrics, furniture, and any existing light fixtures. See if you like the color in the morning, afternoon, and evening, to avoid repainting.
Tip 3: Color Temperature and High CRI are Your Best Friends
Just like your paint color, your artificial lighting isn’t set in stone. (Sorry, we can’t help you with the sun). Understanding and utilizing a bulb’s CRI and color temperature effectively can help you alter how the light affects the color of the paint. The Color Rendering Index (CRI) measures how well a light source portrays colors compared to natural sunlight. A light source with a high CRI (90 or higher) makes nearly all colors more natural and vibrant while a low CRI bulb may cause colors to appear muted, washed out, or even change hue. Color temperature, measured in degrees Kelvin (K), indicates the color output of a light source. The warmer the light source, the warmer or more yellow the light produced. Higher Kelvin means the light is more cold or blue. For comparison, an incandescent light is 2700 Kelvin, and a daylight bulb is between 5000-6500 Kelvin.
Tip 4: Pick the Right Light Source
Each type of lighting has pros and cons. While incandescent bulbs have a perfect 100 CRI, the color temperature is a warm 3100K, which is great for neutral greys, but may not look right for grey paint with blue or purple undertones. Fluorescents and LED offer flexible color temperature to help bring out those cooler tones, but you’ll want CFLs or LED bulbs with a high CRI.
Tip 5: Check the TM-30
CRI uses 8 sample colors to determine the value on a 100 point scale. For most applications, that test is all you need. For lighting an art gallery or space where red and indigo are especially important, look for bulbs like Soraa LEDs, that have been evaluated with the TM-30 measurement as well. This test compares 99 test samples for color rendering accuracy instead of just eight.
Now that you’re armed with these tips, you’re on your way to painting and lighting grey rooms with ease.