Have you ever been baffled by the fact that your freshly painted wall doesn’t match the paint swatch you spent so much time picking out? Paint has a funny way of drying darker or lighter than expected, especially when you’re painting walls.
So, does paint dry lighter or darker? The way your paint dries can depend on a few factors, including the type of paint, the temperature of the surface you are painting, the lighting and colors in the room, and what type of finish or sheen the paint has.
In this article, we’ll go through all the factors that influence the drying of paint and how different paints react to the environment they are in. So if you want to bring your designs to life and can’t stand the thought of your decor not turning out exactly the way you envisioned, stick around!
Which Paints Mostly Dry Darker?
Oil, acrylic, and latex paints can dry darker in tone. It is vital that you double coat the surface when painting anything, no matter what color or material it may be.
Some people say that if you have opted for a dark shade, one layer will do. However, two coats are necessary to achieve an even and saturated look. And trust us, you really don’t want to sit back after spending hours on what you think is a fully finished project only to see gaps and streaks once the sunlight hits it.
Glossy and semi-glossy paints are generally notorious for drying darker than they appear. The light reflects off their shiny surfaces, creating false depth where the reflection doesn’t show and making them seem a lot darker if you look at them directly.
Sometimes latex paints actually dry exactly the shade they were when you first popped open the can, but other times they can dry just slightly darker than expected. It all depends on how you’re using it, what the environment is like, and what ingredients it contains.
Which Paints Mostly Dry Lighter?
Usually, cream and whites shades of paint dry lighter. In fact, they are naturally made to look light.
When watercolors are mixed with a lot of water, they appear lighter when dried as well. The pigment is diluted by water, and when it dries, you are left with the lighter shade. If you want light colors in your watercolor piece, just add more water, and it will change how dark or bright your painting becomes.
The final look depends on what base you use. There are both tint-based palettes for subtle shades as well as deep tone bases that result in brighter hues.
With this discussion, we can conclude that the three main reasons for the color’s final appearance are a reflection of light, the shade of the color, and the moisture content.
Other Factors That Influence The Color Of Paint
The environment you are painting in is one of the most crucial factors in determining whether the paint will dry lighter or darker. Some of these factors are listed below.
1. Walls And Objects Surrounding The Paint
The way a paint color can shift in tone is dependent on its surroundings. Let’s say you are painting an accent wall that needs to be slightly darker than the other walls of your bedroom.
You picked out one light grey and a deeper shade for the accent wall, but there seemed to be barely any difference between them when it was applied.
This might have been because that dark gray hue looked much lighter with some white trim around it or something similar. As opposed to being surrounded by all those warmer colors from items like pillows or bedding, they would make it look more intimidatingly deep-toned instead.
On top of this, if you have painted any surface that is 10 degrees cooler than room temperature, it will most likely end up lighter. However, if you’ve been painting anything warm, at least 10 degrees warmer than room temperature, then it’s likely going to be darker.
It’s not the paint that makes colors seem lighter or darker; it’s actually how much light is being reflected off of them. Lighter tints reflect more light and, as a result, will make other surrounding objects in your room appear brighter because they’re reflecting all this extra sunlight coming from the bright-colored walls.
On the other hand, darker paints absorb more light, so when there are dark shades on one wall with lighter ones next to them, people might think the color contrast looks good. However, what you end up seeing is simply an illusion due to different levels of brightness caused by the difference in lighting.
Apart from this, the paint can also appear to dry darker and lighter depending on its environment. If you’re painting a room that’s full of light colors, like white or yellow, your new coat of color might be too dark for the effect you want.
You may want to consider using a color that isn’t so dark but still contrasts nicely with the brighter colors in the room.
How Different Paint Sheens Dry Lighter Or Darker
First off, what is “sheen”? The sheen refers to how shiny or matte a coat of paint looks when applied and given time to dry. Each of these finishes or “sheens” have their unique characteristics when they dry.
1. Matte Paint
The matte/flat finish sheen may not have any luster or gloss and is ideal for covering up a textured wall. It has no shine or gloss like traditional paint, so it can absorb more light and hide any imperfections in your walls, such as drywall or plaster.
This is because there are no finishes to reflect light in flat paint. Light will shine through and scatter across the surface. This means that it looks lighter than a high-gloss finish.
Furthermore, matte paint is not ideal for bathrooms or humid areas because it will start to peel and flake if water gets on the surface. Without a barrier between the pigment and the environment, flat paints are highly susceptible to environmental factors like humidity that can cause them to deteriorate quickly without proper care.
2. Glossy Paint
Gloss paint is an example of one that does both through its shiny finish and protective properties. The glossiness on paint acts as more than just another layer in your color palette; it also protects from potential damage like scratches and stains.
The glossy surface will cause the pigment to look darker than intended because gloss refracts light away from certain parts of the color spectrum that typically reflect into your eye as colorful hues.
Suppose you are adding gloss over an old flat surface (such as paneling). In that case, we recommend using less than usual because that glossy finish will reflect all surrounding lighting onto itself, making it look brighter.
Contrary to popular belief, glossy paint is perfect for humid conditions and areas with plenty of light. Being durable and shiny, gloss can be used on any surface from wood floors, counters, or anything else that needs a little life.
3. Satin Paint
There are so many different types of paint, but what sets them apart is the gloss. We have matte/flat paint that is non-glossy and absorbs light. On the other end, there’s glossy paint, which will reflect more light.
But what about sheens like eggshell or satin finishes with around 15% to 40% gloss? In this case, the more a paint reflects, the darker it will appear. However, if used correctly, each type can provide its particular benefits depending on your needs.
Eggshell or satin paint offers just enough of an upscale touch for the walls. It’s not so glossy as to be ostentatious or too matte either, lying somewhere between matte and semi-gloss. It appears lighter than gloss but darker than matte.
Do Multiple Coats Affect The Drying Of Paint?
Many of us believe that the more coats we apply, the darker they will appear. Well, that’s not necessarily true. We cannot play with the pigment that makes up each color to change its tone or saturation when we’re painting. However, what many people don’t know about paints is that moisture does affect how dark they look.
This effect only lasts for as long as the coat remains wet, which means if an area has dried out, then you would be looking at its true hue, no matter how much was painted over the top during earlier stages of drying.