How to Choose Lighting for your Colour Scheme

The lighting we choose in our homes can have a huge impact on the way we perceive colour. This is because it is created by the way objects react to specific wavelengths of light and is known as metamerism. No colour is truly definite as any type of light can affect our perception. When considering the best lighting for your home, it is important to think about how it will impact a room’s colour scheme.

Determine the colour spectrum

The first thing you will need to do before choosing the lighting you want is to determine whether the colours you have chosen for the room are in the warm or cool part of the colour spectrum. If you have painted your walls with a range of earthy tones, you will likely need a warm light source. However, if you have chosen blues, greens, or any other colours with cool undertones, you will likely benefit from a cool light source. Below describes the kind of light that is generated by each artificial light source.

  • Incandescent – enhances warm tones, but dulls cool tones
  • Halogen – produces a whiter light that is comparable to sunlight
  • Fluorescent – generally used for cool lighting applications, but is available in warm tones
  • LED – can be used against all colours and is flexible across the colour spectrum

Warm paint colours

If you are working with warm, rich colours, you should choose fixtures and lighting that have a “warm white” colour, preferable between the range of 2400K and 3000K. The lower the number on the Kelvin scale, the warmer the colour temperature of the light will be. The best lights to use within these colour temperatures would normally be incandescent or halogen bulbs that produce a whiter light. This is so that it won’t distort the colour scheme as much either way.

Cool paint colours

If you wish to enhance the vibrancy of cooler colours, you will need to choose lighting with a colour temperature that falls between 4000K and 6000K. LEDs and CFLs within this temperature range are often referred to as “cool white” or “stark white”. If you were to use a light source with a low colour temperature against blues or greens, the colour may appear dull and distorted.

Brightness and colour rendering

The colour temperature of the light source you choose is not the only thing that impacts how we view colour; the brightness of the light also plays a role. Rooms with darker colours tend to absorb more light than light colours and will look dull if the lighting you choose isn’t bright enough. However, it’s completely up to you how you want the lighting to affect your room as you may prefer a deeper aesthetic.

Colour Rendering Index

Something else to think about is the Colour Rendering Index (CRI) of the light source you are using. From 0-100, this index determines how a light source will affect what the human eye sees. The higher the CRI, the better it’s colour rendering capabilities. You will usually find that standard incandescent lamps have a CRI of 100, LEDs have around 80+ and fluorescents range from 50 to 90.

Find the perfect lighting with ABM

When the time comes for you to pick out your lighting, ABM Electrical Wholesale Ltd is here to help. We are happy to discuss your current colour schemes to help find the perfect lighting for your home. To learn more about our vast range of products, get in touch!

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