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Using natural light to enhance colors

Use natural light to bring out your home's true colors.

Sh2018 Master Bedroom 20 To Bathroom Img 0017 H Legal Copy

The color of an object won’t look the same 24-hours a day. Color never stands alone. Any kind of light – natural light from a skylight, artificial light and even candlelight – can dramatically change the way a color appears.

 While creating an interior design concept, leveraging natural light to enhance colors and make them appear true is key, which makes VELUX skylights a natural fit to the design of the HGTV® Smart Home 2018.

How color is perceived 

The colors we see result from spectrum light bouncing off or being absorbed by objects. The way we detect color depends primarily on two things:

  1. The light an object absorbs. Black absorbs all colors, white absorbs none and blue absorbs red. Grass, for example, absorbs all colors except the ones that make up its color of green.
  2. How the light source works. Natural light changes throughout the day and is affected by a space’s location, like if it is facing north or west.



How natural light effects color 

As the day progresses from sunrise to sunset, light intensity shifts, creating changes in the appearance of color. As the amount and angle of the sun changes, so will room colors:

  1. North-facing rooms: This light is cool and bluish. Bolder colors show up better than muted colors and lighter colors will look subdued.
  2. South-facing rooms: The orange-yellow light brings out the best in cool and warm colors. Dark colors will look brighter and lighter colors will virtually glow.
  3. East-facing rooms: East light is warm and yellowy before noon, then turns bluer later in the day.
  4. West-facing rooms: The warm, orange-red evening light in these rooms is beautiful, while lower levels of morning light can produce shadows and make colors look dull. 

Combining light from above via skylights brings natural light deeper into a room and helps to soften the effects of directional sunlight from vertical windows on east and west-facing rooms. This results in fewer shadows and helps to reduce dark corners.

In the HGTV Smart Home 2018, skylights help to balance the light coming in the west-facing windows in the master bedroom, enhancing the grey palette created by designer Tiffany Brooks.


Adding natural light from above to north-facing rooms such as the master bathroom in the HGTV Smart Home 2018, provides diffused light throughout the day. North-facing rooms with only vertical windows often suffer from a lack of light, making colors difficult to see.

When selecting colors and decorating a space, it's all about balancing the type of lighting and the impact of other colors in the space. While some things are controllable, others are not, so creating harmony with these factors will create a beautiful space.

 Photos © 2018 Scripps Networks, LLC. Used with permission; all rights reserved. 

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