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Finishing: Light and Color

It would seem obvious that light affects the way we see the world around us, but it’s far less obvious how dramatically different types of lighting influence how our eyes discern color. This is particularly evident with painted cabinetry.

White paint is the most popular finish in the kitchen industry, but why is it so hard to pick the perfect shade of white? Why does a color swatch look one way in the showroom but very different in a finished kitchen? The color is the color - correct? Well, not exactly. Light has much more influence on color than many people realize.

When natural light enters a room it can be altered by the weather, windows or time of day. Any of these factors can change the hue of the sunlight, modifying the way the color is perceived. Artificial lighting has the same impact on color. The most common sources of artificial lighting are fluorescent, incandescent, halogen and variants of LED. Each of these cause a different effect on the colors we see. Fluorescent light often appears more blueish, while incandescent produces a more yellowish cast. Selecting colors that work under certain lighting conditions is not a precise science, however it is essential to consider this when choosing the color of the cabinetry in an area.

It is always advisable to order a sample door in the desired color, door style and specie. The finished door should be placed at a vertical angle in the space where the cabinetry will ultimately be installed, then viewed at different times of the day under the actual kitchen lighting conditions. This is the best method to ensure satisfaction on the final color choice.