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Will the Paint Color Appear Lighter or Darker than it does on the Sample?

If mixed properly, the paint color applied to a surface should remain true to the color sample.  However, there are environmental and psychological factors that play into changing what is “true” to “how something appears”. Check out what can affect your paint color below and contact us today for more information on how we can give your home the look you want!

Choose Colors Based on Room Lighting

You may be wondering why does lighting effect paint colors? The type of light and quantity of light — natural light, incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, and LED lighting — all will change the way a color appears in a room.  Some lighting will cast yellow tones, while others will cast blue tones.  Choosing a color in the room’s lighting is key in color selection.

The types of paint finishes you choose also has an effect on the color.

The flat has a chalky appearance in the finish, absorbs light, and can make a color look slightly lighter.

Semi-gloss/gloss will make the color look darker. The sheen will reflect light, making the color darker.

Matte or eggshell finishes are usually the most true to color when considering finish. They neither reflect nor absorb light. They do not have the chalky appearance of a flat finish or the sheen of a semi-gloss.


Our eyes can play tricks on us. The scientific word for this is metamerism. Metamerism is a psychophysical phenomenon in which colors look different under differing circumstances. When selecting paint colors, we automatically compare a color to those next to it on a color chart. Looking at a color individually, either by paint sampling or large single swatches, will give a more true impression of a color and its value.

We also psychologically compare a color to the wall’s current color. Hold a paint chip up against a red or yellow wall, and the color will automatically change to your eye; yet another effect of metamorphism. Looking at a color against a white background or against your trim color will give you the truest representation of your color selection.

Deciding how to choose the right paint color can feel a little daunting. Let the experts at Zoe’s ProEdge Painting help you select compatible colors for your home that match your style. You won’t have to wonder if the paint color will match the sample when it is applied. 

Contact us today and let us ensure you get the right interior paint color for your home.

Posted on by Zoe's ProEdge Painting
Will the Paint Color Appear Lighter or Darker than it does on the Sample?

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