Have you ever agonized over choosing a paint color, but once you get it on the walls it feels a little... flat? When it comes to how paint is formulated, not all types are created equal, and it may be affecting how vibrant your paint color looks.
The term "full spectrum" is probably not something you've come across when it comes to paint ideas as it's relatively niche, and not something you'll find in every paint brand's offering. However, once you know what you're looking for, it's easy enough to find, and may just be exactly what you've been searching for to make your home's color scheme really pop.
We asked the experts to find out exactly what full spectrum paint is, and why we should be using it.
What is full spectrum paint?
You may or may not have heard of a full spectrum wall paint before, but it's there's a small but important difference in how these paint colors are formulated. 'Basically, a full spectrum paint is unique as it doesn't incorporate black or grey in its formulas,' explains Helen Shaw, a color expert for Benjamin Moore.
'The easiest way to darken a paint color is to simply add black ink to the can,' Philippa Radon, C2 Paint color and design specialist, expands, 'but we don’t use black ink; instead, our approach to color is comparable to what a fine painter would use.'
'Back in the day, artists like Monet (and other impressionist painters) knew that black absorbs instead of reflects light, potentially making their paintings appear dull or flat,' Philippa explains. 'Hence, they used deep tones like blues and greens to darken and add depth, darkness, and dimension to colors (Monet’s intention was to showcase the light as it occurred in nature.'
The more pigments your paint has in it, the more rich and "alive" your wall color will feel. The most basic paints have two to three pigments, plus black. In Benjamin Moore's full spectrum range, you'll find anywhere from seven to 12 pigments, while C2's full spectrum paint has a 16 colorant system.
What difference does it make?
That may all sound a little technical, but it translates into a difference when you're painting your room. 'This approach results in colors that are incredibly vibrant and nuanced, enriching interior spaces with a depth and complexity that's hard to achieve with conventional paint,' Helen says.
It's also easier to match details in your room with truer vibrancy, as Phillipa explains. 'Full spectrum paint reflects the full spectrum of natural light with no black so in a room it naturally picks up/coordinates the other colors of fabrics, rugs, furnishings and accessories, all the while reflecting the light (we like to say it dances with it throughout the day).'
'We often say, with our paint, you can feel the difference,' she adds. 'There is a velvet handle and feel that is noticeably different with C2 Paint. A depth to the colors and pureness that comes from using the highest quality pigments.'
Does it cost more?
The idea that including fewer pigments brings the price down might lead you to expect that full spectrum paints are going to be majorly premium products, but that's not necessarily the case compared to other paint brands that aren't necessarily budget-focused.
C2's Studio interior matte paint is a full spectrum paint, and retails from $63.99 per gallon, while Benjamin Moore's Aura, which you'll find its full spectrum Color Stories collection in, is a little more expensive at $98.99 per gallon for interior matte. Compared to a budget paint such as Valspar which you'll find at Lowe's, it's a higher expensive, with a gallon of a standard interior paint retailing for around $45, but elsewhere premium brands will see a retail price of $130 or more for a gallon.
Where can you buy it?
Be The First To Know
The Livingetc newsletter is your shortcut to the now and the next in home design. Subscribe today to receive a stunning free 200-page book of the best homes from around the world.
Hugh is the Editor of Livingetc.com. From working on a number of home, design and property publications and websites, including Grand Designs, ICON and specialist kitchen and bathroom magazines, Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture, impactful interiors and green homes. Whether moonlighting as an interior decorator for private clients or renovating the Victorian terrace in Essex where he lives (DIYing as much of the work as possible), you’ll find that Hugh has an overarching fondness for luxurious minimalism, abstract shapes and all things beige. He’s just finished a kitchen and garden renovation, and has eyes set on a bathroom makeover for 2023.
I’m Livingetc's Editor and I Know Gifting - These 39 Timeless Presents Will Impress Anyone Who Is Tricky to Buy For
These timeless presents all go along way to making a home a more wonderful place to live in - from the perfect French Press to the a pitcher that's a work of art
By Pip Rich Published
4 Closet Organizers Aren't Worth Your Money, According to Decluttering Pros
Gimmicky organizing gadgets aren't always what they seem, and these are the ones you ought to steer clear of
By Lilith Hudson Published