Have you ever picked a paint color you loved in the store, only to hate it when it’s on the walls at home? Or purchased throw pillows that you thought would be delightful on your neutral-hued couch, only to decide they look positively garish there? In both cases, you loved the colors when you first saw them, so what happened between the store and home? The problem is simple — the light changed.
Every color looks different depending on the type of light by which you view it. You probably first viewed that ultimately disappointing paint color and throw pillows under fluorescent light bulbs in the store. When you got home, your light bulbs are all old-fashioned incandescent bulbs or (if you’re eco-minded) compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).
This effect is one reason why so many people hesitate to decorate with rich, dark or vibrant colors in their home, opting instead to stick with neutrals. While neutral tones can be a wonderful background that allows the beauty of a home’s architectural bones to shine through, decorating with neutrals atop neutrals can leave a room looking bland and lifeless. Your neutral background still needs pops of color, and wouldn’t you secretly love to have a dark plum wall or two in your dining room or hot pink accents in the family room?
How can you make the most of color in your home while minimizing the risk of disappointment? The solution is as simple as the problem — decorate your home with natural light.
Daylight contains all the colors in the visible spectrum, so hues of every depth and saturation always look their best in natural light. That’s because the essence of that color is already present in natural light, whereas certain colors dominate different types of artificial light. For example, LEDs are highly energy efficient, but blue is the dominant shade in most LEDs. Halogens emit more light in red wavelengths, while fluorescent bulbs are heavier with green light.
Only natural light perfectly blends all colors in a pleasing balance. Chances are good, if you just reposition those couch pillows slightly to capture the light from the living room skylight, you’ll love the color again.
Bringing more color-friendly natural light into your home can be as basic or as grand as you wish. Simply opening blinds and drapes can alter how colors look in a room. Or, if you want to maximize natural light with a tactic that’s also a stunning design element, try installing skylights.
Skylights like those from Velux America can admit ample natural light into your home, enhancing not only the colors of your home decor, but your mood as well. Place a remote-controlled, solar-powered fresh-air skylight in a kitchen or bath and you may feel more comfortable taking a bold color risk, plus you can reap the benefits of passive ventilation. The skylights carry a no-leak warranty and close automatically in case of rain. Add solar-powered blinds, and it’s easy to give a room a whole new look simply by closing or opening the blinds. What’s more, light blocking or light filtering blinds — available in a variety of designer colors and patterns — further enhance the Energy Star-qualified skylights’ energy efficiency.
Dorian Lytle, the architect for the 2014 Coastal Living Magazine Show House in Coronado, California, specified solar-powered fresh-air skylights for that home. “One of the big reasons was for natural light,” he says. “I like the way skylights will bring natural light in from above. Ventilation was another reason. If you have the opportunity to strategically place skylights in your home, they will make a world of difference. Skylights are a terrific and easy way to bring natural light and ventilation into a home.”
Installing the latest solar-powered fresh-air skylights with solar blinds, both of which are operated by programmable remote control, can qualify you for a 30 percent federal tax credit on the products as well as installation costs — and you can spend the savings on bold, intoxicating color executed with confidence.