Color affects your moods and physiology. We choose colors based on their meanings for your lifestyle.
Color is a major element of interior design. However, every individual sees color a little different, and this changes with age, mood, energy level, and surroundings. Color is processed differently by computers, monitors, and cameras, along with your eyes and brain. Store lighting, the electric light in your home, and daylight all show a color differently.
Color affects your emotions and biological systems such as heart rate and brain waves.
At Intiri Designs we are sensitive to these issues. We develop our images on computers and monitors adjusted to ICC standards, the best we can do. We use PC's, Mac users will see our colors a little lighter. We design products and interiors to achieve the best color combinations for the design and use. We consider daylight (bluish) and artificial lighting (reddish) to optimize both effects as much as possible. However, we generally favor artificial lighting because that is the most common light source for much of the time a residential interior is occupied.
Please be aware that the color you see on your monitor or on a swatch or other color sample in a store will almost certainly not be exactly the same in your interior. The color hue you see in your home will vary from hour to hour depending on light sources, the color of nearby objects, surface conditions, and the personal issues mentioned above.
We measure light color based on its "temperature". Long ago someone had nothing better to do than burn some carbon and make notes of what color the light was at different temperatures. This information turned out to be very useful, especially to the lighting industry.
The color spectrum looks something like this:
Direct sunlight includes the full spectrum of visible light at its color temperature of around 6500 degrees Kelvin (K). Remember science class and degrees Kelvin? For our purpose this isn't important; it is the numbers and their relationships that count. Notice above that even the sun doesn't produce all the colors completely. The areas under the curves are the colors you can see with each light source. The chart shows radiation / energy wavelengths. Degrees Kelvin is the combination of all the light under each line and includes the various wavelengths across the spectrum.
So 6500K is everything under the sunlight curve above. The tungsten lamp at 2700K, rather yellowish to our eyes, includes all those colors under the tungsten lamp curve, and excludes lots of blue above it. See that pink in the upper left corner near the label "Noon Sunlight"? Objects that could reflect that color can't because none of the light sources above will emit the right wavelength and energy. A pink cloth in the sun should look much better than the same cloth at home with any common type of indoor lighting.
Tungsten is the most relevant to home dwellers because that is the primary light source in most rooms. (For energy conservation and global warming reasons this needs to end soon.) Notice how Tungsten is a poor source of blue color but if you want to show off red it is great. Tungsten feels "warmer" and more intimate and romantic.
So memorize this list and you'll be a lighting expert, at least among your friends:
9600K - a very cloudy day with mostly high energy blue light coming down. The "warmer" colors are filtered out.
6500K - direct sunlight and a full spectrum of colors.
5500K - indirect sunlight coming through your window. It still includes most of the spectrum but is beginning to lose some blue and violet. This creates a color "shift" towards the redder end of the visible light color spectrum.
4000K - typical older fluorescent lighting. This light actually has most of the color spectrum but is rather intense in the greens and yellows, making it a bit unpopular.
3200K - tungsten halogen. You'll see halogen extensively in stores for display purposes. It is horribly hot and all tungsten are inefficient energy hogs. The blue bands of the color spectrum are still there but fading. You can still see blue but the color shift is substantial. Blue gets warmer.
2700K - the typical Edison "A" light bulb, among many others. These tungsten bulbs are warm, rather yellowish, and are considered the most pleasing to the eye. They are awful for energy efficiency and we can replace them now with compact fluorescents (CFL's) of the same color temperature. We've tested the color rendering between tungsten bulbs and CFL's with color charts and the difference is unnoticeable.
1900K - candles. Get romantic with this warm and cozy light! Sure, we can get this light from dimmed tungsten, CFL, or LED lighting, but nothing makes ambiance like real candles.
We are testing the newer LED lighting and are designing light fixtures with LED's for you. LED lighting has good color rendering at different light temperatures and is more energy efficient than tungsten or CFL's. The world must go with LED lighting as much as possible so let's get started. California will be requiring LED lighting sooner than you expect.
Your brain somewhat adjusts for light color shifts indoors and you think you see white objects as white even with 2700K lighting. However, all colors tend towards yellowish (warm) with indoor lighting and white really isn't all that white under incandescent / tungsten light sources.
Your monitor is probably set with a color temperature of 9300K (degrees Kelvin). While this is a nice bright setting it is also rather blue. Sunlight has a color temperature of around 6500K and includes all colors that are visible to humans. For more realistic colors set your monitor to 6500K.
So what is the perfect color temperature for residential interiors? Most people prefer around 2700K - 3000K for a warm, cozy, romantic, and sheltered experience.
We recommend ordering the Pantone Shopping Color Guide from http://www.therightcolor.com (on the home page) and using this guide with our Pantone index numbers for more color assurance. Remember, colors in the Pantone Guide will look different under different lighting conditions. We will also offer other color indexes such as from major paint manufacturers but those are not as accurate. Since you really can't trust your monitor's rendering of colors, especially the deeper reds, a color guide will let you see the colors we are referring to with more reliability.
We strongly recommend that you browse The Right Color site and learn more about color. This information is critical for interior design, and it is very interesting.
Search terms for more information:
Color Rendering Index, Color Temperature, Colorimetry, Visible Light Spectrum.