How can I make my home brighter ?

So you repainted your dark, dank family room lemon yellow, reasoning that the bright color would make the room brighter. But even though the room is certainly more colorful, it doesn’t seem to be that much brighter than it was with the old light blue color. What gives?

The problem isn’t with the brightness of the paint (lemon yellow is plenty bright!), but with its reflectance. Different colors of paint possess different reflectance values. The higher the reflectance, the more light being bounced off the walls, and the lighter the room will be. These values are generally available from paint manufacturers, though you may need to ask for the technical literature supplied to architects to find them. Some of the values can be deceiving. Gloss paint, for example, typically reflects better than eggshell or flat paint, but these paints provide more even light diffusion and less glare. Also, one manufacturer’s lemon yellow may have a measurably different reflectance value than that of another paint maker.

A major factor to consider in light reflectance within a room is the ceiling. No matter what color you paint the walls, always try to paint the ceilings white. A high percentage of light entering through the windows will strike the ceiling, making the room seem lighter. White ceilings do not seem to detract from the color scheme of a room, while dark ceilings virtually assure a gloomy-looking space.

The values below represent typical reflectance percentages (the percentage of light striking the surface that is reflected) for various common colors. Use these as a general guide only. Pick out specific paint colors you like and then check out the reflectance values with the manufacturer. Then let the paint fly!

White: 82%
Ivory: 78%
Yellow: 75%
Flesh: 71%
Light Pink: 70%
Beige: 69%
Light Gray: 65%
Lemon Yellow: 64%
Powder Blue: 63%
Aqua: 61%
Apricot: 59%
Gold: 54%
Rose: 46%
Medium Gray: 45%
Orange: 35%
Coffee: 28%
Kelly Green: 25%
Red: 21%
Forest Green: 20%
Brown: 15%
Walnut Paneling: 10%
Dark Blue: 8%

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One Response to “How can I make my home brighter ?”

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