What Color Is That? Tips That will Help Your Color Confidence

What Color is That?

Tips That Will Help Your Color Confidence


Color has always been easy for me. Apparently it shows up in my chart (as in horoscope) as something I have a natural ability for. As an interior designer, it’s a strength I’m called upon to use quite frequently. Because color can be tricky.

It’s helpful to know that the key to color is light. What does this mean? Here are some things to look for when you’re trying to choose a color:

  • The angle of the sun in the room plus all the types and qualities of lighting can have a big impact on how we perceive a color.
  • The light in a room besides natural light can be incandescent (warm), fluorescent (cool blue), or LED, which is more white to neutral. Thank goodness that LED lighting has improved dramatically over the years and is much warmer than it used to be. In a perfect world, the 40 watt pink incandescent bulbs would still be easy to find. They are so flattering!
  • The only way to know what a color will look like in a room is to paint a poster board of your test color and move it around the room. Don’t rely on the small chips that you get from the paint store. Observe the color at all times of the day. It can take as much as a week to be sure of all the different lighting conditions.
  • A color will appear the most accurately in the middle of the day under natural indirect sunlight.
  • All the things in a room – flooring, furniture, window treatments, etc. – can affect how we perceive color. So try to choose your color when the room is furnished.
  • Color is all the surfaces in the room reflecting and absorbing light.
  • To anticipate color shifts, opening and closing window blinds can be helpful. Color will go through subtle changes during the day and this can help you simulate these changes.

Finally, it’s important to use the best paint you can afford. It will have more reflective pigments in it. The more reflective the pigment, the truer and richer the color. That’s why so many people pay big bucks for high end paint. It’s not craziness or a waste of money.

If you have a tendency to always choose the wrong color, and end up having to paint a room multiple times… you know who you are…you might consider hiring a professional!

Color can be tricky!



Courtenay Becker
Courtenay Day Becker is the founder of CDB Home.
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