Have you found after decorating a room that the colour looks different depending on the time of day or type of light used? This is a dilemma faced by homeowners and designers alike, and this process is called metamerism, which refers to how light affects colour quality. We here about this all the time at Aluxium!
Paint is the primary decoration tool that is affected by metamerism, and is a phenomenon which has left many a decorator, whether DIY newbie or seasoned pro, stumped as to why the colour differs to that on the tin.
Bearing in mind the possible effects of metamerism should be considered when using both natural or artificial light, as all lighting sources can produce this undesired result.
So what causes metamerism and how can it be avoided?
The effect is produced when they two or more shades of colour dye don’t match, as well as in areas with high levels of fluorescent whitening agents. The human eye is then unable to determine the differences of colour at a pigment level, and this can be further exacerbated when additional light is focused on colour – for example, sunlight streaming in through a window or a light fixture directing light towards a painted wall.
To some extent, it can be difficult to avoid metamerism due to is connection with nature and the sun. The sun’s rays have different colours which alter depending on the intensity of the light created, so this may explain why a wall colour in a room in your home appears differently in early morning light compared to the midday sun.
Similarly, in light created through incandescent bulbs, colours can appear to change. Keep colours as true to their original hue as possible by using LED downlights and other bulbs of this kind, which not only will lessen the likelihood of metameric light being created, but are also an effective energy saving light choice.