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Understanding Color—Painter Tips (Part 1)

Understanding Color—Painter Tips (Part 1)

There is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing a paint color. Think of how colors affect your mood. Bold reds are often used in restaurants because they are energetic and increase the appetite. Blue tones can be relaxing, yellow is happy and playful. Green can be relaxing and create a sense of balance if it is softer or bring energy to a space if it is more vibrant. Color is fascinating and can be described as a science in itself. Let us take a little peek into the amazing world of color.

Describing Color

Knowing how to describe color can help you to find the color you want, especially when trying to communicate with a designer.

Hue: A pure color with no white or black mixed in. These would be the primary (red, blue, yellow) as well as secondary (green, purple, orange) colors as found on the color wheel.

Saturation/Chroma: This is the intensity of the color. Look at the photo below. Notice how adding grey decreases its intensity. By adding grey to a hue, we create different tones. Considering the picture below, we would describe the colors on the right as being desaturated.


Value: The value of a color refers to how light or dark it is. The value of a color is altered by adding white or black to it. Adding white to a hue creates a tint and adding black creates a shade.

Tint = Pure Hue + White, Shade = Pure Hue + Black

Light's Effect on Color

Light has a huge effect on how we perceive color. As lighting changes, so does the way a color looks to the human eye. By becoming aware of this strong correlation between light and color you can better understand how to choose paint colors that will accomplish the results you are looking for.

When looking at color swatches consider the angle at which light hits a surface. A color swatch that is lying horizontally, such as on a table, will look different than if it is held vertically as if on the wall. Keep this in mind when choosing colors for your home.

Color swatches should always be examined in the location in which the color will be painted to see how light will affect it. Also, understand that the color will look different in yellow light on a sunny day versus a grey cool light on a rainy day. Make sure you look at them in all the different lighting types that the room will experience.

Different Lighting = Different Color

Check back soon for the continuation of this series fromMy Painterto get more tips about finding the perfect paint color.

By My Painter 5-14-2021