Lighting Does Make A Difference

by Erika Woelfel

If you’ve ever noticed how a color changes between the time you look at it in the store and then view it at home—then this article is for you.

Back by popular demand is a series of photos we posted on the Behr Facebook fan page last month. It demonstrates how natural daylight light affects the color on your wall. Depending on which direction your window faces—as well as the time of day—your wall color may change dramatically. In this case, seeing is believing.

Please note that all of the walls in each photo are painted the exact same color: Upper Wall: Promenade 400F-5, Lower Wall: Nile Sand UL170-19, and Ceiling and Trim Frost 1857.

Now look and see how the colors are affected by light coming in from different directions and at different times of day. You’ll be amazed at the change!

East facing rooms will receive the warm yellow light in the morning from the rising sun, which will add a bright, yellow cast to your wall color.

North facing rooms do not receive any direct light from the sun. Northern light has a blue cast that will make your wall color seem cooler, or more muted. This muted neutral color on the wall becomes green when mixed with this cool, bluish light.

South facing windows do not receive direct light either, but benefit from a soft diffused yellow-white light. This is, for many, the ideal lighting situation.

West facing windows receive direct light from the setting sun. This will cast a warm yellow-orange hue to your wall color, enriching those with warm undertones and muting those with cool undertones.

Of course, not all changes will be this dramatic. The size of the window allowing the light in will play a role, as well as other ambient light in the room.

Before painting a room, I always suggest taping color swatches up on the wall and viewing them at different times of day to see how the colors appear. An even better exercise is painting a test area of color in a 2 x 2 ft area, to get the largest view possible. A little homework before the project begins can help keep surprises from happening later on!

Colorfully Yours,


4 responses to “Lighting Does Make A Difference”

  1. Kerry White says:

    So my kitchen has one wall facing NW and one facing SE. The standard single kitchen sink window is on the NW wall. What generally happens then with light and colors?

    • Erika Woelfel says:

      Hi Kerry,

      With windows on the two sides of the kitchen facing the sun when it rises and sets, I would guess that you are getting warm, golden light through out the day. Depending on where you are living, days are longer in summer and the sun sets in the northwest at a late hour. The afternoon light during summer months will have a rosier glow than in winter months.


  2. Hayley says:

    Hi wondering if you could help I’m looking for a colour to paint my room it’s North facing doesn’t get much natural light. I’ve got a grayish beige carpet. Not sure what colour to decorate it. I’d love to incorporate grey accessories and thought about an accent colour but don’t know what to use. If you could suggest a wall colour and an accent colour that would be great. Thanks

    • Deanna Torrez says:

      Thank you for your interest in BEHR Products!
      We will recommend the following wall/accent combinations

      Planetary Silver N460-2/Blueprint S470-53
      Painter’s White PPU18-08/Dark Pewter PPU18-04
      Eon N370-2/Nature’s Gift N410-4

      We do have 8oz samples you can test from.

      Colorfully Yours,


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