The Impacts of Light– Bradford's Rug Gallery

The Impacts of Light

Good design hinges on a few core principles: color, texture, proportion and light. Each principle has a balance and flow, and an influence on every other principle. This means that to isolate and focus on only one of these aspects of design, while decorating a space, will result in a less than satisfactory outcome. Considering each in relation to the other within the context of a specific space will help you create a balanced, attractive, and personalized space. What impact will lighting have on how you choose your area rug? Let's explore.

Natural and artificial lighting creates varying effects on the same object or room.

We say it more times than we can count, rugs will look different in your house than they do here in our gallery.

"Our perceptions of color are totally dependent on light. Without light, color would not exist, because what our brains translate as color is the reflected hue from light falling on an object. When we split uncolored or 'white' light by shining it through a glass prism, we realize this colorless light actually contains all of the colors of the spectrum. Even in its undivided form, what we take to be white light is rarely pure. Rather, it will have a slightly red/yellow bias, which gives it a warm tone, or blue/green bias that will characterize the light as being cool. Because true color quality is only revealed by pure white light, this cool or warm light will affect the clarity of colors in a room scheme."

- Homes & Gardens Book of Design; A Complete Resource, for Interior Style by Matthew Line

When choosing an area rug, the process of taking it home to see it in it's ultimate location, is invaluable. As the sun tracks across the sky the light within a house shifts, thus a rug in the early afternoon sun is going to appear much different than it does after the sun sets. What are the impacts of the artificial lighting on the rug? Whether you have a cool or warm artificial light, it effects the appearance of the objects in the room, rugs especially so. Whites may appear slightly yellow under warm lighting or slightly blue under cool lighting. The same goes for all the colors in the spectrum, for example under warm lighting blues may appear more green, or more purple under cool lighting.

"Colors are not static: artificial and natural light can exert very different influences over the same area and produce different effects within a few hours.This makes color matching in interiors particularly complex and is the reason why it should ideally be done after the installation of artificial lighting so that samples can be considered in situ."

Homes & Gardens Book of Design; A Complete Resource, for Interior Style by Matthew Line

It can seem like a lot to consider, but really it just comes down to these two specific points: 1.) Get your lighting situated before you make any final decisions on wall or textile colors. 2.) When choosing colors/textiles, especially an area rug, take samples or actual rugs home to try out before buying. See how the colors play throughout the day and after dark under artificial light. Seeing this will help you build confidence in choosing just the right rug for your space.

We have a whole showroom full of samples and rugs that can be taken home on approval. We allow you three days to spend with your rug/sample so you can see the lighting effects it at all times of day. Come visit us Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm at 297 Forest Avenue, Portland, ME 04101 to see what we have available!