Metamerism – Why You Stink at Choosing Paint Colors

Getting the itch to decorate this spring? Watch out for metamerism. Not only is it fun to say, it’s really important when trying to stay within your color scheme.

Metamerism is the way that different wavelengths of light react with different materials. It’s what causes something that you thought was brown in the store to look green at home. It’s why it’s so gosh darned hard to pick your paint color from those little paint swatches in the Sherwin Williams (or any) paint store. It’s why you might get all the way to work before you realize that your pink blouse and your pink purse don’t go together at all.

I took these pictures at a science demonstration for the kids. Six bows are sitting in a box, but when an incandescent light bulb shines on everything, they look very yellow and the colors look dull.

Change out the light bulb to a daylight bulb or better yet, an LED bulb, and you see a much more colorful bunch.



Same material, different light.

If you are forever picking paint swatches that you love in the store, only to hate them at home, this is why. The paint store has different lighting than you do.

Even in the same room, your lighting will change from morning to evening natural lighting, then to artificial lighting, and the room may feel completely different.

If you are planning a big change, please call me. Not only will I bring an entire paint palette to you so we can pick the right color, I can provide you with a customized color selection for your home and decor that you can take with you when you shop, which eliminates the problem of buying new pillows or towels that don’t quite match either.

If you want decorating to be fun again and completely mistake-proof, give me a call. I’d love to help you outsmart the light and spend less time with mistakes and returns, using the Color with No Regrets color selection system. I can even provide a custom color kit, which ensures that you won’t ever need to return your accessories again because of a color mis-match.



This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Barb Wendel

    How informative!!!!!!!!

    1. Darla

      Thanks, Barb. Hope it helps with your next project!

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