This week I attended a great discussion given by Benjamin Moore on lighting and paint. As you may already know, color looks different under different lighting sources – incandescent, flourescent, halogen. From a design perspective, incandescent lighting – the old school light bulb – is the best in terms of color rendition. But from an energy perspective, it is the worst lighting option. So much so that it is going away. Completely. Beginning next year, you will no longer be able to buy the 100 watt light bulb. And in 2013, you can say goodbye to the 75 watt. Following that, no more 40 and 60 watts.
Many people have already switched their bulbs to compact fluorescents (CFLs) – those squiggly bulbs that often don’t fit in your lamp properly, sticking out like a sore thumb so you can actually see the bulb. CFLs are great on energy efficiency but terrible on color rendition. To see what I mean, take a paint swatch and hold it under an incandescent bulb, then do the same under a CFL. Notice how your paint color looks flatter, duller?
So incandescents are going away and CFLs make color look dull. So what is the best option? If you have the choice, go with halogen. Halogen light offers the same type of color rendition as incandescents, but much more energy efficient. If you don’t have the option for halogen, then try to look at your paint color under CFL bulbs before selection.