One of my favorite parts of interior design is choosing colors to incorporate together in a home. Now that I’ve moved to a coastal town, I frequently notice there are common colors by the sea. White and blue hues are a favorite among locals in my town, and I recently read some very interesting ideas from Color Expert Christopher Rollinson who discovered geographic locations affect the way we perceive and view color.
The enormous reflection of light from the ocean changes the way colors appear in the home, both inside and out. Water absorbs the warmer colors of the spectrum, making bright colors appears greyer and light colors appear crisp.
Natural and artificial light both play a role in how we perceive color. Most art galleries show artwork in mid-day using bright daylight to show off the colors of each piece. Some will let you view works in dimmer, artificial lighting to show how manipulating light changes the feel of the painting. In darker settings, paintings, especially seascapes, tend to appear more dramatic, similar to the way the ocean changes to look menacing at night, yet open and inviting during the day.
When selecting a paint color by using samples or swatches, it’s important to hold the sample up against each wall to see how it appears in your space. This is because light reflects differently depending on where the paint will be located; a wall with a window is darker than a wall in bright natural light. Since color is impacted so easily by the sun, it’s important to test colors during different times of the day, and in natural and artificial light.
Investing in paint that contains more pigments is an easy way to dramatically change an interior; this type gives more depth and richness to the color. Using a high quality paint can cost a little more than traditional types, but the extra pigments add a depth and smoothness to a hue that makes a bold statement. After painting a client’s home recently with a 16-pigment paint, he remarked that the color was “just delicious.”
Certain colors appear timeless, and the location of your home in relation to the ocean can impact the way you view it throughout the day.
Changes in light don’t only affect paint, they also impact the hues of wallpapers and furniture pieces. We see colors in the same way we hear sounds, and compare colors and volume of light similar to measuring the sound of a stereo. If you turn up the volume, you’ll be able to hear the intricacies of the piece; if you lower it, you’ll only hear a few background instruments.
Have you ever noticed color changes based on light and geographic location? How have you chosen hues to fit your space?
Photos: Jana Meewes Magginetti