Matt Shelley

May 28, 2014


Tips for using both color & light

Get excited about going home

By Matt Shelley


We’ve all been there before. Found an amazing colour in the brochure, getting excited about going home and getting started, then feeling demotivated and devastated when the colour goes on the wall. It looks nothing like what we had imagined.

Natural light, electric light and colour are all connected. When decorating your apartment these are all things you should think of and coordinate before starting your project.

In order to prevent disappointment when choosing your colours, follow these simple guidelines:


  • Remember that paint turns darker once it dries so test your colour choice on white non-absorbent paper.
  • Pin up your sample and keep looking at it in the natural light during the day and the electric light during the evening. This way you will be able to see the effect the light in your apartment has on the colour.
  • For example,  if your light in the is cold and northern which can make colours look dull, that lovely blue Mediterranean colour you saw whilst travelling probably won’t work if you try to recreate it it at home.
  • If your room is north facing, then it is likely not to get much sun and could feel cold. Using shades from the cool side of the colour wheel will make your room even cooler, so why not warm it up with some cozy tones from the warm side of the colour wheel.
  • If your room is south facing then it is likely to get lots of light. If you want it to look sunny, use warmer shades but be aware that these may be overpowering in the full glare of the sun. If you want to keep the room light and airy, choose colder tones.
  • Do not paint your room brilliant white if it misses natural light as this could make the room look grey.
  • Pale neutrals can look washed out in strong daylight so why not try a more intense shade.
  • Gloss looks much lighter than matte eggshell.
  • You will get a much lighter look if you paint a smooth wall rather than if you paint over textured wallpaper or using textured paint.
  • Halogen bulbs give a truer representation of colour then ordinary bulbs.
  • Having overhead lighting can make colours look flat so try using a dimmer switch and ambient light.

Matt Shelley

Handy with a camera and technology. A citizen of the world. Converted to rice while in Japan.

Read the next story