To paraphrase Henry Ford in a completely wrong context: you can choose any color as long as it is yellowish white .
Let’s take a quick look at some tips for using colored lighting.
Color Lighting Options
Let’s take a quick look at your smart lighting options first.
Philips Hue is a leader in smart home color lighting systems with a wide range of lamps, accents and even backlights. However, they are more expensive — upwards of $60 for a single color light bulb.
If you have the money to buy branded lamps or the Friend of Hue range, Philips Hue is my personal system of choice and thanks to the open API they can connect to a huge range of other services or smart home centers — mine currently integrates with OpenHAB on the Raspberry Pi. The Philips Hue system requires a Wi-Fi bridge, which you’ll find in the starter kit — the latest version of which (look for «second generation») can also join Apple’s Homekit and be controlled by Siri.
Fibaro offers a Z-Wave controller for cheap RGB strips that can be bought in China for less than $10 for 5 meters, but the Fibaro controller itself is certainly not cheap (£48 or about $70). Z-Wave is compatible with a wide range of smart hubs including OpenHAB via USB dongle.
Finally, LIFX offers Wi-Fi based colored light bulbs that don’t require a hub. They also cost about $60 a light bulb and can be integrated with multiple smart home hubs.
Beware of buying cheaper lamps — often Bluetooth-based — that only work with their own proprietary mobile app and cannot be integrated with other systems.
Also be careful when mixing and matching colored lighting from different suppliers. . While some lamps or strips will only offer red, green and blue LEDs for color mixing, other manufacturers will complement them with white LEDs, while the Philips Hue range uses a completely different color space. G rein B lue ) — and therefore rarely matches the colors produced by other manufacturers.
Consider existing decor
Before you start designing with color, you should know that colored light is visible because it reflects off a surface, which means that a white surface (which reflects every wavelength).
Before buying any new lighting kit, consider your existing décor: if you have dark walls, the colored lighting effect will be very subdued and really not worth installing. If you have bright but non-white walls, the colored lighting will further blend into that color, but again, you’ll get a less pronounced effect and probably won’t achieve exactly the lighting color you were aiming for.
Ideally, you’ll then have a pure white wall or ceiling to act as your canvas on which to paint with light.
Negative space is a powerful concept when used in conjunction with colored lighting. Instead of bathing an entire wall or ceiling with a color palette, consider giving the light a simple woodcut.
Reddit user Possumism perfectly demonstrates this concept in his daughter’s Christmas gifts, for which they requested «Hello Kitty and Dragon computer». The results are amazing.